Lady luck fuels Logano

DEAN MCNULTY, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 7:43 AM ET

The newest "kid" on the NASCAR block -- 19-year-old Joe Logano -- won his first Sprint Cup race this past weekend at New Hampshire Motor Speedway.

On the surface, this should be a reason to celebrate for the Middletown, Conn., native, but the way in which the victory in the No. 20 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota came about leaves a lot to be desired.

On Lap 273, with four-time Cup champion Jeff Gordon nipping at the rear end of the Home Depot Corolla, the rain came and NASCAR stopped the race 28 laps short of its 301 posted limit.

Certainly, Gordon has won his share of rain-shortened events in NASCAR, but it doesn't change the fact that everybody who was watching in the grandstands or on tele-vision knew that without the wet stuff it would have been only a matter of time before the No. 24 Hendrick Motor-sports Chevrolet passed the youngster on the NHMS one-mile oval.

Even Logano knew that it was way more about luck than skill that got him his first win.

"We got lucky obviously, the rain came at the right time but a win is a win in my book," Logano said. "But 20 years down the road, when you look in the record books, no one will know the difference. I'll take them any way I can."

It could have and should have been different.

NASCAR, however, chose to start the race at 2:15 p.m. EDT, knowing full well that rain was in the forecast -- just like it did at the Daytona 500 this season when the 3 p.m. race start resulted in another rain-shortened event.

Implementing a standard 1 p.m. EDT start of all of its Cup races wouldn't stop rain delays, or rain-shortened shows, but it would have at Daytona and New Hampshire.

And some drivers agree. Former Cup champion Kurt Busch, for one, said so in the aftermath of the New Hampshire debacle.

"If we had a consistent time for our races, that would be better for our fans," Busch told USA Today. "That would create more viewership knowing that they knew when to find the race."

The Mosley mess

Considering what is going in Formula One, however, NASCAR looks like the best-run racing outfit on the planet.

This week, Max Mosley, boss of bosses at the FIA, appears to have taken back his promise to disappear after his current term as president is up in October. This is the man, after all, who single handedly drove the richest and most successful teams -- Ferrari, BMW, McLaren-Mercedes among others -- to the brink of quitting the series by proposing spending limits.

When he and his buddy -- F-1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone --realized how serious the situation was Mosley backed down and made his pledge to quit.

Word leaked out that his hand was forced and his plans for a regal and graceful exit appeared to be on the rocks.

"They made the mistake of dancing on my grave before I was buried," Mosley told the Mail on Sunday. "It's no good the teams getting a PR agency to claim I am dead and buried when I am standing here as large as life. I am under pressure now from all over the world to stand for re-election."

He is demanding a public clarification from Ferrari kingpin Luca Cordero di Montezemolo, who allegedly was behind the leak.

Of course, di Montezemolo, offered a "private" apology but would not bow to Mosley's demand for a public mea culpa.

Now it appears everything is back to square one and the 2010 season is again in doubt.

Children, children, let's stop this bickering.

Life in the slow lane

The brain trust for the Indy Racing League had better find a solution -- and soon -- to its current woes on ovals.

The two most recent races -- er parades -- at Iowa and Richmond showed that running high downforce open wheel race cars on short ovals means no passing, no attempts at passing.

By the end of each of those events many of the fans who had paid good money for good seats had left with the attitude that getting out of the parking lot would be more exciting than what was happening on the track.

Even IRL points leader Dario Franchitti was frustrated at the pace of the race, apologizing to the fans who did stay, for the poor performance.

Calling the Richmond event an "awful, awful race," Franchitti said it was near impossible to pass anyone on the three-quarter mile oval.

"The problem is it's not just the leading cars that are impossible to pass, even lapping backmarkers is difficult," he said. "It is impossible to get past them."

Thankfully the league's next three races -- Watkins Glen, Toronto and Edmonton -- are all on road or street courses.

Finish lines

Expect an announcement within a week that Martin Truex Jr. will take over the No. 55 Michael Waltrip Racing Toyota next season. Truex's contract with Earnhardt Ganassi Racing is over at the end of the current season ... And EGR racing boss Steve Lauletta says he expects to have Aric Almirola back in the No. 8 Chevrolet sometime next month if sponsorship can be secured.

DEAN.MCNULTY@SUNMEDIA.CA


Photos