By admin | August 15, 2010
By Richard Allen
So much for coming in, minding your Ps and Qs and earning the respect of your fellow competitors. At least that seems to be the motto of 20 year old Joey Logano. In just a year and a half of full time racing on the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series he has had run-ins with Kevin Harvick and now Ryan Newman.
The Logano-Harvick feud has played out for quite some time. It reached a head earlier this season when Logano confronted Harvick on pit road after a race in Pocono. Logano had been sent for a spin off Harvick’s bumper, this following a similar incident in a Nationwide Series race in Bristol. The young driver wanted to express his displeasure with the veteran but the two never got close to each other as crewmen intervened.
The Pocono situation will probably be best remembered for the somewhat unclear actions of Logano’s father as much as anything. However, the incident did show that Logano seems to have little fear of making enemies among some of the sport’s bigger players.
This past Sunday at the Michigan International Speedway, Logano again found himself in a post race confrontation with a more established NASCAR star. After a lap 149 bump, the #39 car of Ryan Newman went for a long, smoky slide at the exit of turn four on the two mile track.
Immediately following the spin, Logano went on his team radio and began a tirade on the subject of Newman’s driving style. “He races everybody too hard!” Logano exclaimed. “Other people say that. It’s not just me.”
Crew chief Greg Zipadelli reminded his driver that it was he who put himself in that position and instructed him to think about who he is racing against when on the track.
Logano went on with his accusation that Newman races too hard and finally ended by calling his rival a foul name.
Later in the garage area the two faced off in what sounded more like a school yard spat than a fight with both accusing the other of causing the spin and resulting damage.
Not to necessarily take sides here but Logano might not want to say things like ‘He races me too hard’. The perception fans and other drivers will get from that could very well be ‘When I’m on the track stay away from me’ since the object of the game is supposed to be to race each other rather than stay out of each other’s way. That won’t really set well with either fans or other drivers.
The days of drivers coming into the sport and paying their dues are over. Sponsors and teams spending millions of dollars are not looking for wallflowers. However, Logano could wind up having a very long NASCAR career considering the young age at which he started. So, with only a season and a half under his belt and two major foes already against him, that list could grow to be quite long if he keeps up at this pace.
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Richard Allen is a member of the National Motorsports Press Association. His weekly columns appear in The Mountain Press and The Knoxville Journal.
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