It’s no secret as to why superspeedway racing is so exciting and why fans look forward to the four we get every season. It’s the wildcard factor of never knowing who could win in the end as well as some of the big wrecks. Now, most true fans don’t care about wrecks, but the more casual fan loves to see them on the highlight reel.
Issues with these wrecks are exactly what we saw on Sunday out of Joey Logano, who went airborne and flipped onto his head. The force of the impact was so hard that the roll bar that sits above him was touching the top of his helmet. With something so scary, it’s easy to see why a driver would be upset stepping out of the car.
Logano was vocal about his displeasure with the current speedway package. At first, it sounds as if he is damning plate racing altogether, but this turned out to not be the case as his spotter T.J. Majors clarified on his podcast “Door Bumper Clear.”
The main issue Logano was addressing was the current rules package for the cars that allows these cars to consistently reach speeds of over 200 mph and get airborne, leaving the driver vulnerable. This is a fair complaint to have, even if it’s Logano and most want to roll their eyes at him.
He isn’t wrong, because this is dangerous and the fact of the matter is we came close to losing Ryan Newman last season. Had a car came a long at the wrong angel, the same fate could’ve met Logano.
Where Joey is wrong, is that driver have to take accountability. It’s funny hearing it from Logano, because he has a fair reputation of throwing bad blocks that lead to a lot of wrecks on plate tracks. While NASCAR does need to adjust the packages, drivers need to police themselves.
Drivers like Logano have caused a multitude of wrecks with over aggressive driving and blocks. The wreck that sent Joey was due to Ricky Stenhouse being overaggressive (as usual) and bumping Hamlin into Joey. Why is it NASCAR’s fault that driver make dumb moves?
What drivers need to do in these situations is call out drivers who are making bone headed moves and tell them that we need to work on surviving to the end until the racing matters. If a driver continues to be aggressive where it is unnecessary, then you police it by not working with that driver. If a driver gets no help on plate track’s then they will never have a chance to win.
Again, the funny thing with this is that you’ll have Hamlin who could call out Stenhouse, but then Hamlin caused a wreck with overaggressive driving. Denny went crazy trying to get his lap back near the end of stage 2 when he was already in the lucky dog position. He did not need to make so many risky moves in order to get on the lead lap, nobody was going to catch him and take the lucky dog spot from him at that point.
That is where the drivers need to look themselves in the mirror. NASCAR however, needs to work on slowing these cars down, because we have seen that slowing these cars down to the 180-190 mph range does not hurt the quality of racing. There are other aerodynamic adjustments that can be made that are over my head to explain, but the big one that many will point out is shortening the giant spoiler on the back of the cars. This has been a point of contention from drivers and fans for years.
With the new car coming out next season, I will withhold judgement on NASCAR until we see what they have in store for the next gen and safety. They have gotten safer each new generation, so I believe this trend will continue in 2022.
The drivers must stop blaming NASCAR for them making poor race choices. They all know how long these races are, they know how long they all must survive. Stage racing does goad driver’s into racing hard in the middle of the race, but at the end of the day they all know what the big picture is. If winning a stage is just as important to you as winning the race, your priorities are wrong.
We need to slow the cars down and shorten the races. If we do this it will help balance the drivers and fans complaints. Drivers won’t feel pressured to put on a show for fans by driving hard for so long if the race is shortened. If drivers go single file to survive to the end, it will not take up near as much of the race.