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July 06. 2013 1:07AM

Allen Lessels on Motor Sports: Logano looking for consistency


NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver Joey Logano waves during driver introductions before the Quaker State 400 at Kentucky Speedway last month. (Randy Sartin-USA TODAY Sports)

Joey Logano is getting a little concerned about the NASCAR Sprint Cup point standings with the Chase for the Sprint Cup due to begin in two months.

Truth be told, he's been concerned for a while now.

"You've got to worry about it from the first race of the season, I think," said Logano while taking a quick break from a multi-team testing session at New Hampshire Motor Speedway late last month. "No matter what, you've got to get the best finish possible. If your day's going bad and you look like you're only going to get a 20th, make sure you get a 20th. Don't make it a 35th day. That's 15 points right there."

When Logano and the rest of the Sprint Cup drivers hit town this week for Sunday's Camping World RV Sales 301 at NHMS, only eight races will remain before the 12-driver field for the Chase will be set.

The last race before the Chase is at Richmond on Sept. 7. The top 10 drivers in points and two wild card entrants who will get in based on wins and points, start the Chase the next weekend at Chicagoland Speedway.

Race No 2 in the Chase is the Sylvania 300 at New Hampshire on Sept. 22.

NHMS last week announced it had landed title sponsors for a couple of this week's races, including Sunday's feature event.

Camping World has sponsored NASCAR's truck series since 2009 and has previously sponsored individual races at the track.

The company also has a role in the other sponsorship. Saturday's Nationwide race is being labeled the CNBC Prime's "The Profit" 200. Marcus Lemonis, chairman and CEO of Camping World RV Sales, stars in "The Profit." It's a reality show in which he looks for struggling businesses and invests his own money in them to turn them around.

Logano left New Hampshire after the test session on June 25 and 26 and went to Kentucky Motor Speedway and made a move in the standings.

He finished fourth and moved up four spots to 10th.

But the standings are plenty volatile at this point.

Logano trailed No. 9-ranked Greg Biffle by 10 points and No. 8 Martin Truex Jr. by 11 going into Saturday night's race at Daytona.

But he led No. 11 Kasey Kahne by just one point and Jeff Gordon by two and defending Cup champion Brad Keselowski was 14 back and Kurt Busch 16 behind Logano.

If nothing else, Logano hopes he has found some consistency.

The Kentucky race marked six straight races he has finished 11th or better.

"We need one more step to kind of get to a winning car," Logano said. "We're close. That's why we're testing here. We're trying to find that next step. Recently, we've been consistent. I think that's what we were lacking at the beginning of the season."

They sure were. In one six-week stretch, Logan finished third, 23rd, fifth, 39th, third and 35th.

"We just can't afford to have another bad race, as close as things are from about eighth to 20th," Logano said.

It's all about the points, said Logano.

"You look at points every week," he said. "?'Where are we? Where are we?' We're getting close. We don't have that win yet and that's something we may need."

Logano was at NHMS for a tire test earlier in the season, which doesn't count against a team's limited number of tests, and wasn't happy with how things went.

So he came back looking for more.

Whether he found it or not is soon to be determined.
- - - - - - -
The Sprint Cup weekend at NHMS starts on Thursday with FanFest and the second Global RallyCross race. Travis Pastrana, who drives on the NASCAR Nationwide Series, won the inaugural GRC race on the track last season.

The race is at 7:30 p.m.

Tickets are required for the GRC event.

Free FanFest activities include a Sprint Cup hauler parade at 4, a concert and NASCAR autograph session.

Qualifying for the Camping World RV Sales 301 and Town Fair Tire Whelen Modified race will be held on Friday.

The Modified race is at 1 p.m. and the CNBC Prime's "The Profit" Nationwide 200 is at 3:30 on Saturday.

The Camping World RV Sales 301 goes at 1 p.m. on Sunday, following the first Toyota Wheel and Deal Pre-race Show at 10:30 a.m.

Alessels@unionleader.com On twitter: @allenlessels


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