Logano Is Not the Problem, He's the Solution
Joey Logano has gotten a lot of attention in the past three weeks. It began at Martinsville when he got into Martin Truex, Jr. as they raced off turn four on the final lap. It continued the next week at Texas when Aric Almirola accused the driver of the 22 of racing him too hard. The Penske driver wasn't a factor this past week at Phoenix due to a cut tire. Of the four remaining drivers who will battle it out for the title at Homestead Sunday, Logano was the first to punch his ticket.
A lot of race fans don't like Joey Logano. That's fine; they have that right. Any race fan who wants to see drivers give their all had better start respecting him though because that's exactly what he does. He didn't wreck Truex at Martinsville. He banged into him. Both drivers knew what was at stake. Even if the current title format didn't reward wins with the playoffs like it does, that last few hundred feet at Martinsville is what race fans ought to appreciate and hope for. That's the kind of excitement that draws fans to short tracks all over the country on summer Saturday nights. In stock car's most prominent series, when the cars are so equally matched, it's rare to see a finish like fans witnessed on that short track. How refreshing was it to hear folks talking about an exciting finish in the days that followed, instead of hearing about rules violations and penalties?
Based on playoff points, it was very probable that Truex was going to be one of the last four championship hopefuls at Homestead. Logano had to get a win. He did. When fans are subjected to so many mile-and-a-half tracks that often lead to boring races and uninspiring finishes, that Martinsville finish was one of the best we've seen this season. Fortunately 2018 has produced a handful of exciting last laps.
Aric Almirola complained at Texas that Logano raced him too hard on a restart. It's difficult to see the logic in Almirola's argument since the two cars never touched. Logano was already advancing so if you're in his shoes why not race the other contenders hard and try to keep them from advancing? Fans don't pay money to watch drivers take it easy regardless of what lap the race is on. Many want to complain about drivers happy with having, "a good points day." What's not to love when a driver of Joey's caliber says to heck with the points, I want the win?
kind of attitude displayed on the track is what helps put people in the stands.
That kind of attitude and possible conflict with other drivers is what the
sport needs. No one is ever going to stay home and not watch because drivers
are racing each other "too hard." There's a reason why Bristol used
to sell out every year and it wasn't because Dale Earnhardt was content to stay
behind Terry Labonte and finish second!
There are some who will never be Joey Logano fans but there are a whole lot more who will become fans or at least respect him more if he continues to race like that. He's showing exactly the type of attitude that a huge segment of NASCAR fans feel has been missing from the series for a long time. What he did at Martinsville and Texas was not a problem; it was perfect.
The biggest reason some have been upset with the Penske driver lately is simply because he's Joey Logano. Perhaps they never were a fan or maybe they're upset with him over previous altercations with their favorite drivers. There could be any number of reasons. For a lot of NASCAR fans though, in an age when it seems there isn't a lot of hard racing, he has shown he's not afraid to mix it up. He wants to win a championship and seems content with doing whatever it takes to make it happen.
Nothing he did in those two races was dirty. It was all-out, foot to the floor driving, laying it all on the line. This might not make a lot of folks happy but they still need to accept it. If they have an issue with how he's driven in the past few weeks, they might really be upset with the season finale. That's the kind of racing that once made NASCAR special and this Sunday in Homestead, it just might be the type of driving that makes Joey Logano your 2018 Monster Energy Cup Series champion.