Loudon, N.H. — Joey Logano was parked in NASCAR’s penalty box.
Logano was forced to strap in, put on his helmet and sit on pit road in the No. 22 Ford for the duration of a 50-minute Cup series practice Saturday at New Hampshire Motor Speedway. NASCAR punished Logano and his Team Penske team because the car failed inspection four times before Friday’s aborted qualifying attempt.
NASCAR teams routinely hold cars for allotted periods of time during practice for various infractions. But NASCAR said it was the first time a Cup driver was benched for the entire practice.
Logano sipped on his water bottle while inside the car on an 80-degree day.
“I had time for a lot of thoughts in there,” Logano said. “Mainly, that it’s a total joke. I don’t know why it has to be on pit road. There’s no reason to sit out there. It’s dumb.”
Logano shook hands with fans and some snapped selfies with the car as the rest of the field sped by during practice.
“I just think it makes our sport look dumb,” he said. “I think we can accomplish the same thing in a more professional manner.”
Logano wasn’t alone in criticizing NASCAR for the decision. Dale Earnhardt Jr., long NASCAR’s most popular driver, tweeted it was “silly” to make Logano sit on pit road.
“I’ve no issue with making him miss practice. Him sitting on pit road with what amounts to wearing a dunce hat is highly unnecessary,” Earnhardt tweeted .
Kurt Culbert, managing director of integrated marketing and communications, fired back at Earnhardt on Twitter: “Don’t do the crime if you can’t pay the fine. Simple logic here. EVERYONE knows the rules on this one.”
“But the ‘hold’ part of the practice hold is to be held on pit road. That’s intended to be part of the infraction (as is missing track time),” Culbert tweeted.
Logano’s real punishment is starting last in Sunday’s Cup race.
Tyler Reddick led the first laps of his young Xfinity career — and then win his first Xfinity Series race on Saturday night at Kentucky Speedwayin Sparta, Kentucky.
Brennan Poole finished second in his No. 48 Chevrolet, giving Chip Ganassi Racing a 1-2 finish.
Christopher Bell pulled away down the stretch to win the NASCAR Truck Series race at New Hampshire Motor Speedway.
Bell won the playoff opener for the series and earned an automatic spot in the next round. Bell won his fifth race of the season and the Kyle Busch Motorsports driver stamped himself as the favorite for the championship.
Ryan Truex couldn’t hold off Bell over the final laps and finished second.