Tuesday, October 13, 2009
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Tom Logano apologizes for run-in with Biffle

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[October 13, 2009]  FONTANA, Calif. (AP) -- Tom Logano was back at Auto Club Speedway on Sunday to watch his son race in the Pepsi 500 a day after having his credential pulled following a run-in with driver Greg Biffle.

RestaurantTom Logano confronted Biffle at the end of Saturday's Nationwide race -- a race his son won -- after Biffle nudged Joey Logano into the wall while passing for the lead on lap 50.

Biffle hinted at the maneuver shortly before it happened, a move that apparently angered the elder Logano. While his son celebrated in Victory Lane, Tom Logano approached Biffle's car as he pulled off the track and made at least one hand gesture during a short verbal confrontation.

A NASCAR official then pulled Logano's credential. He met with both Nationwide and Sprint Cup series officials following the incident, NASCAR spokesman Ramsey Poston said.


Tom Logano was able to attend the race after applying for a single-event pass. He had the pass tucked into his shirt pocket while talking to Joey shortly before the race but had no comment on the incident as he made his way to a viewing box above pit road.

Joe Gibbs Racing president J.D. Gibbs said Tom Logano was apologetic while talking to team officials.

"There was an issue on pit road and NASCAR addressed it," Gibbs said. "He went and talked to the guy at NASCAR (Joe Balash) yesterday. When I talked to him, he was contrite and apologetic and he said he messed up on it."

There was no drama between the two camps during Sunday's race even though they were side-by-side in the pit box.

Joey Logano finished 14th, while Biffle was 20th after a late collision with Kasey Kahne.


BUSCH SIDELINED: Kyle Busch's tough 2009 season can't seem to end fast enough.

First he didn't make the Chase, then Sunday, he left the race after just 61 laps due to the flu.

Busch had feeling ill for several days and left the Nationwide early Saturday because of a fever despite qualifying second and quickly jumping to the lead at a track where he has dominated over the years.

He hoped the break would help him regroup for Sunday, but said he felt even worse when he woke up Sunday morning and appeared to be a ghostly shade of white during the drivers' meeting.

"I don't want to jeopardize myself or anybody else," Busch said. "I'm going to try and get healed up and get ready for Charlotte."

Busch's No. 18 Toyota was sent to the back of the field for an engine change but was 19th when he left the race. Gilliland, who started the day driving the No. 71 for TRG Motorsports, filled in capably for Busch, finishing 24th.

Gilliland will run in a fourth car for Joe Gibbs Racing next week at Charlotte.


WHO NEEDS DANICA?: Don't tell Rick Hendrick that NASCAR needs Danica Patrick.

Hendrick said while he'd be intrigued if the IndyCar driver opted to make a move to stock cars, he doesn't think the sport needs her to thrive.

"I don't think she's important to our future," Hendrick said. "I mean, she would add a new dimension, maybe if she participated in the Nationwide Series or Cup Series one day. But I don't think that's going to make any difference where NASCAR is."

Patrick has reportedely agreed to an extension to remain in IndyCars with Andretti Green Racing, but she has spoken to Kelley Earnhardt about running at least part time for JR Motorsports in the Nationwide Series.


WHERE IS EVERYBODY?: NASCAR hoped moving the second California race from Labor Day weekend to October would help it become a better draw in the crowded southern California sports calendar.

Despite near perfect conditions with temperatures hovering around 70 degrees, there were plenty of empty spaces in the stands at the 2-mile oval, where the grandstand seats 92,000.

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That didn't seem to bother track president Gillian Zucker. She was pleased with the turnout, particularly in the lower seats, which she said were sold out.

"We deserve a race in the Chase and we deserve two races at this race track," Zucker said. "The fans have responded but there are other factors that play into this."

"I've worked really hard and it's taken a long time, but I'm very glad to be where I am," said Buescher. "Roush is one of the top teams out there and to be associated with them is an honor. This year was a big step. I've learned a lot this year and am really looking forward to next year.

Zucker said the track is considering shortening one of the two annual races from 500 miles to 400 miles and did little to hide the fact she'd like to swap race dates with Phoenix. The first California race is run in February, right after the Daytona 500 while Phoenix runs in April.

"Everybody knows that we've had some challenges with weather during (February)," she said.


SEEING STARS: Actor Kelsey Grammar isn't sure what Dr. Frasier Crane would think of NASCAR racing, but the sitcom veteran is quickly becoming a fan.

Grammar served as Grand Marshal for Sunday's race during his first NASCAR event, something he'd done previously at the Indianapolis 500. While not exactly bitten by the racing bug, he's not a stranger to racing. He competed in the Long Beach Grand Prix once.

"I have an affinity for it, if no skill," Grammar said. "I would love to race the fastest cars in the world ... it's a very heady trip being there."

Grammar's day went a little better than pop star Jesse McCartney, who forgot a verse while singing the national anthem.



ROUSH ADDS BUESCHER: Roush Fenway Racing has signed Chris Buescher to a driver development contract.

The 16-year-old Buescher has spent the 2009 season competing part-time in the ARCA RE/MAX Series for Roulo Brothers Racing. He had three top-fives and five top-10 finishes in seven starts and set a series record when he became the youngest pole winner in ARCA history at Salem Speedway. Buescher wrapped up the season with a sixth-place finish on Saturday night at Rockingham.

[Associated Press; By WILL GRAVES]

Copyright 2009 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.



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