CONCORD, N.C. – With all track activity canceled because of rain on Friday at Charlotte Motor Speedway – a far-reaching effect of Hurricane Matthew – NASCAR Sprint Cup Series drivers won’t have an opportunity to practice between Thursday evening’s knockout qualifying session and Saturday night’s Bank of America 500 (7 p.m. ET on NBC).
No problem, according to Team Penske drivers Joey Logano and Brad Keselowski, both exuding confidence entering the first race of the Round of 12 in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup. After all, both drivers spent the vast majority of Thursday’s opening practice in race trim, anticipating the rain.
“It’s no big deal for our race team,” Logano told the NASCAR Wire Service on Friday, during a Team Penske 50th anniversary media luncheon hosted by sponsor Shell/Pennzoil. “We did spend a lot of time in race trim yesterday, but at this point, with the 22 team, we’ve worked together for a while now. (Crew chief) Todd (Gordon) knows what I want in a race car. We have notes to go off of, not only from the spring or last year, but from Chicago and other mile-and-a-half race tracks we just went to.
“There’s always items that we want to try and change and make the car better, but I feel like Team Penske does a great job on showing up at the track with a fast race car a lot of times – or a well-balanced race car – and being able to fine-tune the adjustments to make it a tick better.”
Logano won last year’s Chase race at Charlotte during a No. 22 Ford sweep of the Round of 12. Keselowski has good notes, too. He finished fifth in the Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte in May, a week after running second to Logano in the NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race.
Keselowski, who won the Bank of America 500 in 2013, doesn’t think lack of practice will be an issue.
“I don’t, because we practiced all in race trim, so I was very thankful for the time we spent in that capacity and the speed that we had,” said the 2012 series champion.
Keselowski and Logano both are doing double duty this weekend, but the rainout postponed Friday night’s scheduled Drive for the Cure 300, the final event in the NASCAR XFINITY Series Chase’s Round of 12, until Sunday at 11 a.m (on NBCSN). So a night race that was supposed to run before the Cup event has become a day race that will follow it.
“You’ll have to drive differently, sure,” Keselowski said. “But you know what? That’s my job.”
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