The Frontstretch: Logano Takes Wrong Approach With Newman in Latest Clash by Doug Turnbull -- Monday August 16, 2010

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Logano Takes Wrong Approach With Newman in Latest Clash

The Cool Down Lap · Doug Turnbull · Monday August 16, 2010

 

Wide open spaces on the track surface at Michigan International Speedway made for very few on-track incidents during Sunday’s CARFAX 400. The only spin to draw a caution occurred on Lap 148, when Joey Logano’s No. 20 Home Depot Toyota got loose under Ryan Newman’s No. 39 Tornados Chevy, tagging Newman’s left rear and sending him for a spin. While he made no contact with anyone, the Stewart-Haas driver lost track position, flattened three tires which cost him a lap and had to fight just to finish 23rd. Logano, meanwhile, methodically worked his way through traffic and ended the day a solid 10th. But, as we all saw, even that run wasn’t enough to cool either driver down after a wreck which clearly tested their patience.

Young and a bit confused, Joey Logano confronted Ryan Newman post-race…

Camera crews caught Logano and Newman discussing the incident as the drivers made their way back to their motor homes just after the race. Watching the replay, the initial assumption was that Newman confronted Logano about what happened, or at least Logano tried to grab Newman to deliver an apology. If the latter was the case, then the discussion likely would have been short. Instead, the exchange of words pressed longer than most such instances do when they are on camera, ending with Newman giving Logano a small shove and NASCAR officials both intervening and neutralizing the situation.

Newman declined to comment after the altercation, but Logano had plenty to say – and his take puts him in the wrong on a third driver clash in his young career.

He told ESPN, “I was asking [Newman] why he races everybody so hard all the time. I’m not the only one who says that every week. Of everyone out there, he’s the hardest one to pass. I don’t understand why. I mean, there’s 70 laps to go at a two-mile racetrack. That’s a long ways to go. You know, if somebody races me clean, I race them [clean] back.”

For the record, Joey, it was 50. And while Logano has a point about give and take in his words, his methodology is off. Wasn’t Logano the one who spun into Newman after getting loose? Sure, Newman may have been racing him hard at the time, but Logano took the liberty of trying to throw his Toyota under Newman’s Chevy with just over 25% of the race remaining. If that’s the case, why did Logano feel the need to chase down Newman for a post-race rap session?

But the sophomore wasn’t done speaking in public. He continued with, “Dale Jr. did it with me earlier in the race; he passed me, and he was trying to pass cars in front of me. I helped him pass them, then I got back to him and he let me go.”

“That’s kind of how this (racing) – I’ve found – that it works. If you give someone respect, you get that back. But he just races everyone hard. He raced his boss, Tony Stewart, hard. I don’t understand it, but he’s been doing it a lot longer than me. I tried to talk to him about it, but I don’t know. I didn’t get nowhere.”

Just as he did with his very public showdown with Sunday’s winner Kevin Harvick in June, Logano made bold, definitive statements about Newman, stating that others share his opinion of the driver’s unnecessary on-track aggression – including Newman’s owner Tony Stewart. Logano also believes he’s suddenly a genius on how the Gentleman’s Agreement works on the track, posturing by saying he tried to offer the same courtesy to Newman, only to not have it repaid just before the 19-year-old spun him out.

“There’s a time to race. When you’re running 400 miles, 500 miles, why do we gotta race each other so early in the race?” he continued, confused over what he labeled racing too hard at the wrong time. “It’s just frustrating when you’re trying to get by someone at that point. It wasn’t a big deal whether we passed each other or not at that point. Most times, if a faster car is behind me, I let them go, and hopefully I get that back later.”

“You know, I’ve done a lot with (Newman) – if he gets behind me, I’ll let him go. But I don’t know what to tell you. I wish I could talk to him and figure it out, but I think we both need to calm down first and then talk about it.”

There are two schools of thought on Logano’s actions Sunday. One agrees with both what he said and how he went about following up with Newman. The other admits all he said made logical sense – until you consider a couple of factors.

First, Joey Logano is in the midst of only his second full Sprint Cup season, Newman his eighth – yet Logano sought the senior racer out as if to give Newman advice. That doesn’t add up in any workplace, especially the Sprint Cup garage area. Second, one problem with Logano’s approach was the premise itself. With fans leaving NASCAR in droves and others yawning through the first two-thirds of most races, Logano seems OK with letting a few positions slide from time to time. Sure, drivers are taught to save their equipment for the whole race, not push the issue, and not risk wadding up their race cars. But fans do pay to see a race. A race involves two entities gunning for the same prize. In NASCAR these days, if the leader breaks away in clean air and no one else in the pack is supposed to race each other, what are we left with for at least two hours every Sunday? Answer: a 200 mph parade that passes you twice a minute. Not thrilling.

Logano’s expectations aren’t completely far-fetched, but someone needs to buy him a WWDED bracelet: What Would Dale Earnhardt Do? Or Cale Yarborough. Or Curtis Turner. Or (here’s an easier one for him to relate to) his teammate Kyle Busch. Newman’s persona is akin to the tough-skinned good ol’ boys that used to permeate NASCAR in its rich history. You can bet that he doesn’t think he needs a talkin’ to from young Logano.

Finally, Logano has not been an angel himself in regard to driver etiquette. Harvick said that when the two had tangled before their infamous Pocono scrub, Logano was impossible to talk to about their problem. Greg Biffle has also had gripes over how hard and unfairly Logano has raced him, although those instances were usually late in races. Logano seems to be seeking a double standard: he expects drivers to talk to him when angry after a race (i.e. Harvick and Biffle), but insulates himself when they seek him out. That reputation will not suit him well if he hopes to have a long NASCAR career.

At least Joey Logano’s emergence as more than a “ho-hum, happy go lucky youngster who is just glad to be blessed with the opportunity to race” is refreshing. Fans love to see drivers be outspoken about their qualms and frustrations, instead of delivering sanitized sound bites that downplay any kind of controversy. Logano fans surely got fired up as their driver sought out a veteran and delivered a message that he did not want to be pushed around.

But likewise, as in-the-right as Logano seemed after getting spun by Harvick at Pocono, he may have returned to even par after Michigan. Despite the spin on Sunday being an accident and possibly even caused by Ryan Newman initially, Logano got loose and spun the No. 39. Then he sought Newman for clarity at the end of the day! Wrong idea.

Yet for all the mistakes he made, we have to give Logano this much credit: at least he didn’t make reference to Krissie Newman wearing the fire suit of the family.

Monday on the Frontstretch:
Matt McLaughlin’s Thinkin’ Out Loud: August Michigan Race Recap
Fact Or Fiction: How NASCAR’s Chase Picture Shakes Out With 3 Races Left
Bubble Breakdown: Sadler Bounces Back After Brutal Pocono Wreck, Top 35 Notes
Running Their Mouth: CARFAX 400
Nationwide Series Breakdown: CARFAX 250
Tracking The Trucks: Too Tough To Tame 200

Listen to Doug weekly on The Allan Vigil Ford Lincoln Mercury Speedshop racing show with host Captain Herb Emory each Saturday, from 12-1 p.m., on News/Talk 750 WSB in Atlanta and on wsbradio.com. Doug also hosts podcasts on ChaseElliott.com and BillElliott.com.

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slander q. libel
08/16/2010 12:30 AM
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Started watching Logano a few years ago in USAR, and back then I was rather impressed with the way he carried himself. Of course, back then he wore his own firesuit. Now his daddy wears it for him.

Methinks that he’s already been asking for his teammates’ advice, and has been following it. How else can you explain how self-absorbed and “entitled” attitude this year?

Robin
08/16/2010 06:29 AM
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I don’t think what Joey did is any different than what any driver would do with the mentality of NASCAR today – win at any cost, get as many points as you can at any cost, and “boys have at it”. Also, Joey has not been running well the last few races so I am sure he was very anxious to at least get a top ten.

Tractor Boy
08/16/2010 07:21 AM
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If Joey was faster than Ryan, why did he get loose under him and slide up? I saw it and it looked like Logano was the one getting passed because he was all over the place.

Stephen HOOD
08/16/2010 07:25 AM
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Logano and Newman. Boring. Let’s move on.

Jim
08/16/2010 07:57 AM
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Let’s go racing boy’s!

scorer27
08/16/2010 09:01 AM
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Little Joey was lucky he didn’t get stomped into a mudhole. As soon as that incident happened I said he doesn’t want to mess with Newman and then the little chucklehead wants to go challenge him after the race?!?!??! Joey thought he was gaining repect by mouthing off at Harvick after their last altercation but what he got was people pointing and laughing at him. He just needs to move along and stay as far away from the 39 as he can.

Steven
08/16/2010 09:12 AM
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Joey has led a priviledged life but now he has to grow up and put on his big boys panties. What does Home Depot see in this kid with the jackass grin?

Robert Belew
08/16/2010 09:13 AM
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Lets divide the race into 4 segments, award the leader of each segment 10 points and stop this “let us play nice till the last 20 laps” BS. I pay to see a race from the first lap till the last.

J.J.
08/16/2010 09:44 AM
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Where is Jimmy Spencer when you need him? Lagano is lucky Newman didn’t punch him in the nose—which, btw, is exactly what’s going to happen to him if he keeps buying into is sliced bread image.

Glenn
08/16/2010 11:29 AM
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It would have been nice to see Newman pound Logano into the ground like a tent spike on a circus tent.

jerseygirl
08/16/2010 01:40 PM
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Glenn, I have to admit that I was looking forward to seeing Newman tear Logano’s head off his skinny little neck!

Joey was wrong, wrong, wrong on all counts and the whining about “being raced too hard” won’t make him any fans or friends.

EZ
08/16/2010 03:03 PM
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Newman’s an ass, Logano should have kicked him right in the balls,and dropped the no-necked SOB

Barney
08/16/2010 03:43 PM
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Some reports said Newman looked Joey up after the race so which was it?

I thought all race car drivers were supposed to race competitors. Why does Joey think they should just let him pass? It was clearly his fault but whose fault it was will play out by whose fan you are. Fan’s are always covering for or taking the side of their driver, regardless of what happens. I am not a fan of either. Joey needs to grow up and get away from daddy’s influence that he deserves it all.

Bob B.
08/16/2010 04:06 PM
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Slander Q Libel hit my opinion dead on. I think young Joey has gotten into the water supply at JGR, I feared that would happen. Not really sure there is a cure.

mkrcr
08/16/2010 10:42 PM
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After Newman had changed, he saw Lagano in the area and went over to “discuss” the situation.
I’m sure Newman won’t race him so hard the next time, yup, I bet. Especially since Bristol is coming up. I’ll bet the only colors Newman will see under the lights is orange and white.

Dave
08/17/2010 02:36 AM
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They would probably race each other harder during the race if it were not for cookie cutter tracks.

Ron
08/17/2010 10:07 AM
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Great article, Doug!! Logano whined that Newman was racing him too hard, yet the replay shows that Ryan was over halfway up the track and Little Joey could not keep his car off him. I kind of liked Logano last year, but he has really developed a sense of entitlement this year. In my opinion, he has now dropped to a position just above Kyle Busch and that’s not a good place to be.

aginn
08/18/2010 06:25 PM
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Ron, you took the words right out of my mouth. I hope Joey sees the replay so he can understand Ryan’s side of this. I would like to cheer for the kid but he has to see the reality that other racers have a gameplan too and Ryan really can’t race from the other side of the wall to give him room. Were 3 full lanes to the yellow not enough room? If so, Joey needs to buy his own track so he has it all. And for those that think Ryan started the hands on stuff, there is a thing called the internet where you too can go back and see Joey did the first touching.

Glenn
08/18/2010 11:48 PM
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Ok, I should have used “fun” instead of “nice” in my earlier post. It’s racing not riding! So race!