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Penske fired the driver from its Sprint Cup team when he was suspended for failing a drug test.
Joey Logano celebrates in Victory Lane after winning the NASCAR Nationwide race Saturday at Dover International Speedway.
Saturday, June 1, 2013
DOVER, Del. - AJ Allmendinger is set to drive in two NASCAR Nationwide Series races for Penske Racing.
Penske Racing announced Saturday it plans to put Allmendinger in road course events at Road America on June 22 and the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course on Aug. 17.
"With his stock car experience and his road course experience, we think this is the perfect opportunity for him and for the team," team owner Roger Penske said.
This weekend, Allmendinger is driving in the Detroit Grand Prix races and insists he doesn't have a preference between IndyCar and NASCAR racing.
"I'm just happy to have the opportunity to drive something," he said before a first-lap crash ended his race Saturday.
Allmendinger has driven a limited NASCAR schedule since being suspended for a failed drug test last year. Penske fired him but gave him another chance in IndyCar.
"There's nothing I could do to come even close to repaying him," Allmendinger said. "So, I just try to give everything I've got and hopefully it's enough."
Allmendinger finished seventh in the Indianapolis 500 on Sunday, losing a shot to fare better because his seat belt became undone.
"It's kind of tough when you're leading the race and your belt just falls off," he said. "I tried to fix it down the back straightaway into the corner, and it wasn't going to be fixed by me. At that point, all you can do is pit and try to make up for it."
That put Allmendinger off the pit cycle, and forced him to stop for gas twice far in advance of the rest of the field.
Logano wins Nationwide race at Dover
DOVER, Del. - Joey Logano savors the times he led Joe Gibbs Racing into Victory Lane.
He enjoys beating JGR so much more.
Logano changed his team and his car, just not the result, and raced to his third straight Dover victory in the Nationwide Series on Saturday.
His previous two Dover victories came under the Gibbs banner.
This time driving for Penske, Logano held off JGR drivers Brian Vickers, Matt Kenseth and Kyle Busch for the checkered flag.
"I wanted to beat them really bad," Logano said.
Busch, who won the Truck Series race Friday, dominated most of the race and led 72 of the 200 laps. But he was 10th off the final restart, couldn't drive his way to the front of the field and was fifth.
Vickers was second, Kenseth third, and Trevor Bayne fourth.
Logano raced to his first Nationwide victory of the season after winning nine times last year.
"It is amazing to finally win for the captain, Roger Penske," Logano said. "It feels good to get back in Victory Lane."
Logano won for the 19th time in 114 career Nationwide starts.
With the race under caution, Busch took four tires while Logano went with two on the final pit stop. Logano led the field to green and pulled away.
"It's my fault. I'm aggravated with myself," Busch said. "I made the wrong call there. I just figured more would take four."
The 23-year-old Logano came into NASCAR with Joe Gibbs Racing in 2008 with the nickname "Sliced Bread." He has yet to make the leap to the next level and won only two Cup races. JGR wanted to keep Logano even after signing Matt Kenseth. But they didn't have the pieces in place for a fourth full-time Cup team, and AJ Allmendinger's failed drug test opened the No. 22 seat at Penske Racing that Logano pursued.
"This is definitely fun to come to Dover and finally beat those Gibbs cars," Logano said.
Logano credited crew chief Jeremy Bullins for making the right call and going with two tires on the last pit. Bullins made a last-second audible to go with two after he saw Busch and go with four.
"That was the only thing I was watching," Bullins said. "I was watching to see what they did, and saw a bunch of cars coming that had taken two so we knew we would have a cushion and opted for two tires at the last minute."
Good call. Busch was denied his third straight Nationwide win and seventh of the season.
"To finally beat that 54 car, that was the team I worked with for the last seven years or so since my Nationwide debut really," Logano said. "To beat them means a lot to me after they have been winning so much this year."
Points leader Regan Smith was ninth. Vickers jumped from fifth to third in the standings, 42 points behind Smith.
"We need to chip back away at the points where we're really racing toward a championship," Vickers said. "It was a good day, but we want to win."
Leave that to Logano.
Gordon calls for more SAFER barriers
DOVER, Del. - After a rattling crash into the wall at Charlotte Motor Speedway Sunday, veteran Cup driver Jeff Gordon questioned why NASCAR tracks don't standardize SAFER-barrier technology.
"I had a rough week. I didn't quite understand the pain I was feeling that night until I went back and watched the video and realized the angle I hit, as well as the fact that there was no SAFER barrier," Gordon said Friday. "That blew my mind that there wasn't one. There's one at the start/finish line and it stops and then there's one at Turn 1. It goes around to Turn 2. That kind of shocked me."
During a media appearance in Charlotte last week, NASCAR Chairman/CEO Brian France said, "when we need to put additional SAFER barriers around, we will do it," but stopped short of setting a standard.
Gordon said the reason behind NASCAR's stance is obvious.
"There's only one reason, cost," Gordon said. "That's it."
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