Mar 22, 2014, 4:40 PM EDT
Joey Logano is now the second Sprint Cup driver that’s had to go to a backup car today for Sunday’s Auto Club 400 after a tire failure sent him into the wall during final practice.
Unlike Martin Truex Jr., who lost a left-rear tire before his primary car hit the Turn 1 wall, Logano suffered a left-front failure before he brushed the Turn 2 wall.
Unfortunately for the Team Penske driver, he’ll have to go to a backup and abandon his seventh-place starting position for Sunday’s event at Fontana.
Team Penske has a definite problem on its hands after Logano and teammate Brad Keselowski blew five tires during today’s two practice sessions. Keselowski, the Sprint Cup points leader, lost two left-rear tires during “Happy Hour” alone.
“We’ve got an issue for sure,” Logano said to Fox Sports. “We need to figure it out because we didn’t have this issue yesterday. We didn’t change much so we’re a little confused on that, and if anything, on that last run, we put air pressure in…Goodyear thinks it’s air pressure. I’m sure that’s some of it.”
In his own comments to Fox, Penske competition director Travis Geisler noted the technical changes made to the Gen-6 cars compared to when they visited Fontana one year ago.
“We’ve got a degree and a half more camber than what we’ve had here in the past – in the rear – with the new rules,” he said. “[We have] a little bit more downforce than what we’ve had last year. Obviously, speeds are up a little bit, so may be the loading condition’s a little higher than where we’ve been.
“I’m sure we’ll get it figured out. We’ll work with the guys at Goodyear, we’ll work with them closely on where they feel like things need to be. But we thought we made a pretty big step here just to be safe and had another issue. We’ll keep working on it and I’m sure by tomorrow, we’ll get it figured out.”
Michael Waltrip Racing’s Brian Vickers was fastest in “Happy Hour” with a lap of 185.926 miles per hour in the No. 55 Toyota. Hendrick Motorsports teammates Jimmie Johnson and Jeff Gordon were P2 and P3 respectively in the session.
Keselowski, despite his two tire failures, was fourth-fastest and Dale Earnhardt Jr. rounded out the Top 5.
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