NASCAR: Joey Logano Calls Out Field After Daytona 500

Nov 19, 2016; Homestead, FL, USA; NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver Joey Logano (22) during practice for the Ford Ecoboost 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway. Mandatory Credit: Peter Casey-USA TODAY Sports
Nov 19, 2016; Homestead, FL, USA; NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver Joey Logano (22) during practice for the Ford Ecoboost 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway. Mandatory Credit: Peter Casey-USA TODAY Sports /

Joey Logano is not a very well-liked individual amongst NASCAR fans and even some drivers. This has become very evident over the nine years that Logano has raced in The Cup Series and while some have softened to the Connecticut Native and even consider him one of the top stars in the sport, others still see him as a punk kid that can’t race clean if his life depended on it.

With that being said and the admitted biases that sometimes get in the way of fans when they listen to what Joey Logano opens his mouth , he had a good point when he talked about the closing laps of Sunday’s Daytona 500. In fact, his statement was dead on right that fans would be completely crazy not to agree with it no matter how they felt about him.

In case you missed it, Joey  Logano was locked in an intense battle for the lead with Chase Elliott during the closing laps, but got shuffled back when he made an aggressive move to try to overtake the lead. While getting shuffled back in the pack due to an  ill-timed move is fair game and is just a product of racing, the one lap parade fans were treated to moments later are something NASCAR previously  promised would be fixed.

All preseason long NASCAR flaunted their stage system as the thing that would bring exciting and intense racing back to the sport. That, along with the repair rule that was meant to create more of a do or die feel to every race weekend, was supposed to fix the problem of leaders running away from the field and nabbing an easy win, but only served to create a high risk environment for drivers.

Unfortunately for fans in the stands, this created the one lap parade that they saw during the closing laps of Sunday’s race as none of the drivers wanted to risk their position or their equipment in order to go for the win. Sure, Chase Elliott, Kyle Larson and Kurt Busch all three made some pretty daring moves to try to win the race, but no one else seemed interested in risking it all for what’s supposed to be a coveted win.

"“it was single file against the wall and everyone was content with that, Joey Logano told Fox Sports after the race,” The Shell Pennzoil Ford wanted to get ripping out there and try to get our way back up there but it was pretty much me, Blaney and Austin Dillon that were even thinking about doing it but we couldn’t get enough to drop down we needed one or two more cars to do it and no one wanted to.”"

"Steve O’Donnel , who serves as NASCAR’s executive Vice President and Chief Racing Development Officer  had the opposite opinion at the ending of Sunday’s race, telling reporters that,”  I’d say overall really pleased. Saw a lot of great, hard racing. Everybody knows that every driver wants to win the Daytona 500. We saw drivers up on the wheel all day long, racing hard, and that’s exactly what we expected from the format.”"

He followed up that statement with one that seemed even more oblivious to what had actually taken place in the closing laps of the race by saying,” “I think people wanted to win,” “People want to win at Daytona and we wanted drivers racing hard up front and racing hard for wins. So that’s we expected. In terms of good, hard racing, I think that’s what you saw all three days.”

Although it was true that fans were treated to,” good hard racing,” in The Xfinity and Camping World Truck Series over the race weekend, NASCAR’s top series drivers seemed to be content to just play it safe and wait for someone else to make a move. Unfortunately for NASCAR fans who watched the closing laps, it didn’t seem like anyone cared about the racing product.

That’s not to say everyone In the front of the pack was content to run single file , they were just outweighed by drivers that didn’t want to and decided to let the race, which is supposedly their biggest of the year, degenerate into overly strategized nonsense that served drivers more than the  fans watching.

With that being said and the fact that NASCAR’s real regular season will unfold over the next couple of weeks, NASCAR officials need to wake up from their delusions of grandeur and do something about the single file parade that took place lap after lap to end the race. It really shouldn’t even be out of the question for NASCAR to change their policies before the fall race at Talladega.

As for the likelihood of  something like that  happening when they had already come out in support of the racing product in Sunday’s race, one doesn’t have to look far back to find a time when NASCAR changed a key rule at restrictor plate racing only a few years back. In fact, the reason for the change was very similar to what Logano complained about on Sunday.

That change took place in The Xfinity Series, where drivers were told that they could bump the car in front of them to give them a push, but could no longer spend an absurd amount of time riding the other driver’s bumper and pulling away from the pack. This stopped what was known as the two car tandem and helped return NASCAR to side by side pack racing.

Must Read: NASCAR Power Rankings After Daytona

If NASCAR, wants to succeed in their new format, and everyone’s hoping that they do, they need to start by limiting driver’s ability to do things like this and even penalize drivers for doing so. It might sound ridiculous and not needed at first, but it would prevent overly conservative finishes like the one we saw at Daytona on Sunday.

The balls in your court NASCAR. How will you respond to Joey Logano’s comments?