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Category: Joey Logano

Struggling NASCAR track Irwindale Speedway cancels season

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Toyota Speedway at Irwindale, once hailed as perhaps the best short track for minor-league NASCAR racing, said Monday it has canceled its 2012 season.

Amid speculation that the half-mile speedway might be closed or sold in the face of dwindling crowds, its management issued a one-sentence statement announcing the cancellation and providing no other details.

Track officials could not immediately be reached to elaborate, but the speedway's website also had been taken down.

The 6,500-seat Irwindale facility alongside the 605 Freeway opened 13 years ago mainly to host weekly Saturday races for NASCAR stock-car developmental series. It drew positive reviews and was considered a particularly fan-friendly venue.

The track also hosted annual races that at times drew some of racing's biggest stars, including Tony Stewart, Kasey Kahne and Joey Logano.

Those races included the NASCAR All-Star Showdown and the "Turkey Night" race on Thanksgiving Day for open-wheel sprint and midget cars.

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Photos: Cars race in the NASCAR All-Star Showdown at Toyota Speedway at Irwindale on Jan. 30, 2011. Credit: Todd Warshaw/Getty Images

NASCAR's Tony Stewart hires former crew chief Zipadelli

Tony Stewart and Greg Zipadelli are back together.

StewartStewart, the newly crowned NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion, on Friday named Zipadelli, 44, competition director for his Stewart-Haas Racing team.

Zipadelli, nicknamed Zippy, was Stewart's crew chief from 1999 through 2008 when Stewart drove for Joe Gibbs Racing and won his first two Cup championships in 2002 and 2005.

When Stewart left to form Stewart-Haas in 2009, Zipadelli stayed behind as crew chief for Gibbs' No. 20 Home Depot car, now driven by Joey Logano.

It's been a struggle for the 21-year-old Logano, who has won only one Cup victory and finished 24th in the Cup standings this season with four top-five finishes.

"It was a sad day when [Stewart] left," Zipadelli said in a statement, adding that "to become a part of what he's already built, but to do it in a new role with a new set of responsibilities, was a challenge I wanted."

Stewart drives the No. 14 Chevrolet and his teammate, Ryan Newman, the No. 39 car. Stewart-Haas also plans to have Danica Patrick drive in 10 Cup races next year as she migrates to NASCAR from IndyCar racing.

Separately, Gibbs said Jason Ratcliff would become crew chief for Logano's car to replace Zipadelli. Ratcliff spent the prior seven years as crew chief for Gibbs' No. 18 car in NASCAR's second-tier Nationwide Series.

--Jim Peltz

Photo: NASCAR driver Tony Stewart gets into his car during a practice session at Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth, Texas, on Nov. 5. Credit: Larry Papke/Associated Press

Kurt Busch leads at halfway point of NASCAR race in Sonoma

Kurt

Kurt Busch and his No. 22 Dodge Charger were the class of the field at the halfway point of Sunday's NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Infineon Raceway.

Tony Stewart was second, Clint Bowyer third and Jimmie Johnson was running fourth on the 10-turn, 1.99-mile Infineon track.

Busch climbed from his 11th starting spot into the lead after only 13 laps of the 110-lap Toyota/Save Mart 350, then the Penske Racing driver held the lead after several restarts.

One restart followed a multicar crash on Lap 37 that collected Dale Earnhardt Jr., Brian Vickers and Ryan Newman, among others.

The radiator and the right side of Earnhardt's No. 88 Chevrolet were heavily damaged and his car had to be pushed to the garage for lengthy repairs.

-- Jim Peltz in Sonoma, Calif.

Photo: Kurt Busch, in the No. 22 Dodge, leads the field in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Infineon Raceway. Credit: Ben Margot / Associated Press

Joey Logano wins NASCAR K&N Pro Series West race in Sonoma

Joey Joey Logano held off David Gilliland on Saturday at Infineon Raceway in Sonoma, Calif., winning a race in one of NASCAR's minor league series in a warmup for the Sprint Cup Series race Sunday at Infineon.

Logano won the Thunder Valley Casino Resort 200, a race in NASCAR's K&N Pro Series West circuit. Gilliland, a Riverside native who mainly races in the top-tier Cup series along with Logano, finished second.

Logano, a 21-year-old who drives a Toyota for Joe Gibbs Racing, is by his own admission less assured on twisty road courses such as Infineon than he is on oval tracks. Yet Logano also won the pole position Friday for the Cup race.

"The main priority today was to learn" for Sunday, "and I think we accomplished that," Logano said. "It was a lot of fun."

Eric Holmes of Escalon, Calif., was third Saturday and Greg Pursley of Newhall, Calif., was fourth.

Pole-sitter Brandon Davis of Huntington Beach finished 39th after his Ford suffered a blown engine early in the 64-lap race.

The race had to be stopped for several laps on a dry, windy day when a grass fire erupted in the infield of the 10-turn, 1.99-mile track located in Sonoma wine country, a fire apparently sparked by the hot pipes of one race car that had spun out in the area.

-- Jim Peltz in Sonoma, Calif.

Photo: Joey Logano, in the No. 18 FleetLocate Toyota at front left, leads the field in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series West race June 25, 2011, at Infineon Raceway in Sonoma, Calif. Credit: Todd Warshaw / Getty Images

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