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Monday, August 16, 2010

Joey Logano, the Peacemaker?

Joey Logano was dubbed “sliced bread” by Randy LaJoie and came onto the NASCAR Cup Series scene in 2008. Since his Cup debut he has had one pole, one win and 13 top ten finishes...and has been a party in no less than three feuds with veteran drivers.

During the fall of 2009 Greg Biffle and Logano had a few run-ins that left Biffle wondering at the lack of respect that Logano showed to veteran drivers. Logano had gotten into Biffle during a Nationwide race at Kansas; Biffle said Logano had driven him up into the wall, smashed in Biffle's fender, and knocked Biffle on the car to his inside. The following week at Auto Club Speedway Biffle transmitted to Logano before the race that he “better be ready to race hard”. Greg ultimately said that maybe he should not have squeezed Logano quite as much on the backstretch and given “the kid” more room to race. The battle continued when Joey's father, Tom Logano gave Biffle a one-fingered salute after the race. The senior Logano's hard card was pulled after that incident for his display of a lack of respect for others.

Kevin Harvick caught Logano this year at Pocono in June and as Joey saw it “The 29 let me go down the straightaway then dumped me in the next corner.” The incident escalated after the race when Joey, after finishing 13th, drove up to the 29 car of Harvick in the post-race inspection line. Joey's father, Tom Logano could be seen urging his son to stand up for himself and was seen on camera shoving a member of Harvick's Richard Childress Racing Team. In post-race interviews, Joey went on to take the issue to a personal level by suggesting Kevin's wife DeLana “wears the fire suit in the family.” DeLana Harvick had t-shirts made up within 12 hours of the fire suit comment and has turned a nice profit from the incident.

During the Michigan Speedway Carfax 400 Logano and Ryan Newman were racing for position when Logano got loose and into Newman's back left corner. Newman spun and in a cloud of tire smoke managed to save the car. Newman saw the incident as intentional; video showed it was more likely that Logano simply got loose while racing for position and Logano agreed. After the race, Newman and Logano were seen having a discussion regarding the incident. Newman seemed to be the agressor whereas Logano seemed to be trying to make peace. The two were separated after Newman shoved Logano's chest and NASCAR Officials stepped in. In post-incident interviews Joey said that with 70 laps to go he felt Newman was racing him too hard. He went on to say “I tried to talk to him but didn't get anywhere...I guess he needs to calm down first.”

The difference between this incident and the previous incidents seems to be the absence of Tom Logano. The first two issues with Biffle and Harvick, Joey had his father was by his side. Tom Logano basically urges his son to fight or the elder Logano makes other gestures and remarks to escalate the event. Without his father at his side at Michigan Speedway Joey seemed to have an attitude that conveyed “let's just talk about it.” Without Tom Logano track side it seems that Joey has a lot more tolerance for drivers who are angry with him and more likely to try to find a peaceable solution to disagreements. Joey Logano is not a teenager racing on dirt tracks anymore; Tom Logano needs to realize that Joey is fine – better off even – at the track without parental supervision.
Photo Credits:
Photo 1:
Photo 2: Associated Press

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