While he may not be the consensus fan-favorite driver, far from it in fact, Joey Logano staking claim to his position in the Championship 4 at Phoenix Raceway, by holding off Kevin Harvick in Sunday’s Hollywood Casino 400 at Kansas Speedway, makes the championship race an even bigger must-watch event.
Sound like a bold claim?
The reason being is simple: Logano doesn’t care about your feelings. He doesn’t care about his competitors feelings. All that the driver of the No. 22 car cares about, when he’s behind the wheel of a race car, is himself.
“I have zero friends on the racetrack, zero,” Logano said following the Bristol night race in September. “Because I have ‘business relationships’. That’s what they are out there, and I hope it to be good ones.”
Logano continued on the topic by saying, “We’re all competing to try to win. They’re going against me. No friend is gonna do that. No friend is gonna try to take food out of your child’s plate. So they’re relationships, business relationships, and that’s how I look at it.”
Ironically, this is what fans hate most about the 30-year old driver, yet it’s what fans also say they wish there was more of in the sport today.
By Logano simply being in the four-man championship battle, we now know there is an elevated chance that the other three drivers could walk out of the title race not just crushed for losing the title, but also that they could be left seething following a big move by Logano.
It’s not a coincidence that Logano has ruffled the feathers of many drivers over the years including Tony Stewart, Ryan Newman, Kevin Harvick, Denny Hamlin, Kyle Busch and Martin Truex Jr. — just to name a few.
Whether you feel it’s right or wrong, he’s not afraid to dive to the inside late if he feels it’ll give him a better shot at coming out of the turn with the lead, as he did with Carl Edwards in the 2016 championship race. He’s not afraid to change lanes three times heading into a turn to execute a block, as he showed Sunday against Harvick. And he sure isn’t afraid to lay the bumper to someone who stands between him and the checkered flag, Truex can attest to this after Martinsville in 2018.
Aggression is key to how Logano won his 2018 NASCAR Cup Series championship, and it’s been a key cog in how he has collected 26 wins at this point in his young career.
Time for my hottest take, possibly of all-time.
While many see Kyle Busch as the modern day Dale Earnhardt, I’ve never felt that comparison was truly fair. I always have felt Busch to be more of a Darrell Waltrip type, personally. If I’m looking for someone who truly embodies Dale Earnhardt, Logano is who I say reminds me most of the Intimidator — driving style-wise — in modern day NASCAR.
Outside of the track, Logano — a Connecticut-native — couldn’t be a further polar opposite of Earnhardt — a North Carolina-native.
Logano doesn’t wear Gargoyles and he doesn’t sport a mustache, and he certainly didn’t pave his path to NASCAR by working in a textile mill, but if you painted that No. 22 car black and put a No. 3 on the side of it, some weekends you may start to question who is really behind the wheel.
Whether he’s a lap down, or running for the lead late in a race, you know Logano is going to make a bold move. Whether that bold move pays off or not is another discussion, but you know he’s going to make a move. And that is why the Championship 4 race becomes more interesting with the Connecticut-native in the hunt for the championship.
Toby is the Founder, Editor and go-to man for TobyChristie.com. He is also the co-host of The Final Lap Weekly Podcast. Additionally, Toby is a NMPA (National Motorsports Press Association) award winning writer, and has followed NASCAR as a fan since 1993.