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Lucky Dog! Joey Logano Wins at New Hampshire – Smart Crew Chief – In Position to Win! June 29, 2009

Posted by claireblang in 2009 Season, Drivers.
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Victory Lane: A Moose, A Lobster, Kid for a Winner , Mom, Dad & Coach!

Congratulations to Joey Logano on his first Sprint Cup Series win! When a driver scores his first Cup win and I’m in Victory Lane I try to soak it all in (no pun intended on the word soak) and etch it in my mind so that years from now I can reflect on more than simply a number in a record book. With this particular victory celebration, I will remember, a bit of chaos, a gigantic lobster, an almost stunned to be there and thrilled young driver (heck even the car chief seemed a bit shocked to have pulled this one off), a smart crew chief, Coach Joe Gibbs and the rain.

At a distance, I’m sure, Logano has seemed almost too good to be true – leaving folks to look for cracks, but there are not any. Looking ahead I think that Logano will show that he’s edgier than he may initially come across (remember how young he is and that he’s a rookie) and not afraid to say what he thinks. Later in his career, we’ll see how hard-charging he is and so not shy about doing what it takes to win. In this case, Logano’s job was to listen to his crew chief, follow directions, and do what many missed, work his way up from his 24th place starting position to be in position to win should it be his day when the rains opened up and victory fell from the sky. The kid did his job.

I received so many emails after the Lenox Industrial Tools 301 – I couldn’t possibly post all of them. The comments were all over the board. From congratulations to young Joey Logano to notes about the TV coverage and the rain shortened race to comments about the attempted three wide move of Kyle Busch during the double file restart on lap 175, which led to the crash involving eight cars, which he later apologized for. Was the apology enough? Martin Truex Junior was really angry – steamed would be the word and you can’t really blame him. “I hate that it happened,” is not a new phrase in NASCAR – and the question I am left with today is a simple one. Do fans want to see bold, aggressive moves (with rain coming) that may or may not end in what we saw?

Would you rather Kyle Busch not have made the move? I am asking honestly. It doesn’t matter who you follow as a driver..is this or is this not the kind of move you want to see? If you can separate who you root for and how this affected your driver – I think the question is a simple one. Do you want the guy to go for it or not? Martin Truex Junior was clear that he felt it was a “stupid” move – and it did take out a number of cars. What direction are you taking on this?

I had some great conversation on my radio show from some who said that Kyle Busch should be repaid by one of the drivers who were angry about his move – and who crashed as a result of it. They said that if that happened Busch would be more careful next time when he wants to get aggressive. This is true – it’s how the garage has worked in the past.

The garage has always regulated itself. That is in the DNA of the sport. When drivers have had enough of someone or don’t like his moves they put the hammer down on the guy. Do you want the hammer down on this move? Or, do you like it when a guy takes a chance and goes for it with rain coming.

You’re the fans – You buy the tickets, you pay the bills. Tell me, what is it that you want? If we want drivers to go for it then we are going to see some of this. If we don’t the racing will be more finesse racing. That’s ok too. The question is what do you want?

Here are some, in some cases a portion of, the emails in my box today:

Part of an email from Michele in Virginia:

……..I am a Dale Jr fan. I am proud of my driver both on and off the track. I am patient and I feel he has the talent. There hasn’t been much to cheer about lately, but I am a believer that things move in cycles. BUT, I am the first to omit, that if it is the middle of the race and the guys are just logging laps (so they can get to the end and be in a position to win), it is Kyle Busch that I am going to be watching to see what he is going to do next. I know I am going to be rewarded with him going three wide into turn 1 on the outside during a restart, passing six cars along the way and stirring up the next controversy for the next week of talk radio call-ins.

With all this as background, it came to me this morning that the reason everyone is talking about Kyle Busch 24/7 – from the listeners to the media to the radio/TV hosts – is because we want a rival to Kyle and there just isn’t one out there now. Kyle is the “black hat” – the bad boy – the young upstart who won’t follow the rules – in life and in racing. The problem is we don’t have a “white hat” racing on his same level, on the edge, to balance him out. What is the first thing a caller says when he calls in to complain about the latest misstep by Kyle – “the boy can race, BUT….” – and then they list their latest complaints. He said the wrong thing to the media… he didn’t stop and talk to the media… he wasn’t gracious enough in victory lane… he wasn’t….. Since we don’t have the white knight who can race the same way Kyle can AND say and do everything the fans want – they attack Kyle the persona and the personality, because they can’t hold up their driver to argue about the racing. Other drivers will have flashes of brilliance across the series, but no one is racing like him every race.

Face it what we really want is a rivalry where both drivers are evenly matched in skill and equipment. We want both drivers to be racing on the edge for a win every lap. We want one to go three wide to the outside while the other is making it four-wide on the inside. We want them to beat and bang and then we will hold our breath as we wait to see who wins this time. Because we know they are so evenly matched, that the outcome may be different next time. Then, we can spend the next week calling into the talk shows talking about the RACING!!! Not how someone was acting with the trophy in victory lane.

And here lays the problem…. I am not sure this is even possible. But it is what every fan wants.

Am I a Kyle supporter…. probably some. I love to watch him race across the three series. He is driving on the edge to win the race. But it is a crash and burn mentality of a 20 something that probably won’t win him a championship. Did I like him smashing the guitar at Nashville? The 45 year old mom part of me shook my head, wrinkled my nose and threw my hands in the air saying “that stupid inconsiderate kid.” But part of me also feels like that 20 something. That part of me still exists and was under the stands at Charlotte during the multiple rain delay doing Jell-O shooter – that part thought “YEAH!!”. That is the blessing of age – we learn to control our inner 20 something and act appropriately. But is it as much fun??

I hope that Kyle remains Kyle – with all his mis-steps. He sure is fun to watch. AND, I hope someone comes along soon to be the rival. I am ready for us to go back and spent time talking about this week’s race winner or the three-time consecutive champion. It has gotten to the point that what Kyle did or didn’t do overshadows the remaining 42 drivers. NASCAR is not about one driver…. But, there is always the next race!!!

As always, thank you for all you do! Dialed In is still the best show on the NASCAR channel!

Michele
Richmond, VA

From Jeff in Minnesota:

Oh ok its ok for Dale Sr to rub and bump every chance he got in every race he won but its not for Kyle?. Kyle should start grinning at interviews.
Respectfully
Jeff
MN

From Jim in Florida:

I think the TV coverage could be better. The announcers seem to have a small # of drivers they are going to talk about no matter what happens during the race. It would have been nice to know what happened to the #9 about half way of the race. He had driven up to 5th place when the caution flag waved. When he came out of the pits he was 19th. I think a short explanation was in order, but not one word was ever said about. This brings me to my question. What did happen on that stop? If you don’t know maybe you could ask and let me know. also last week when I looked at the standings Kahne was only 3 points behind the #42 the #9 finished 10th today and the #42 12th why is the #42 still ahead in points? thanks
Jim, in fl.

From Race Fan:

Claire:

What are some of your listeners drinking Junior Johnson’s sippin’ whiskey?

For the sake of argument lets say the same holds true for mid-race yellows that come just as pit stops start.

Some drivers make it to pit road before the yellow but then…. NASCAR parades around for 10-15 extra laps before opening pit road waiting for other drivers to run out of gas.

Just as nutty as one of your emailers I should think.

On the rain issue and earlier starting times…. Since when does it NOT rain at 1pm vice 2-3pm?

From Dusty:

Brian (Vickers) should know about stupid being forever, he lives it everyday. Can you say takes out the front of the field at Daytona including Kyle or maybe that his only Sprint Cup Win was accomplished by crashing a teammate. Oh & it couldn’t be JRs fault for spinning his tires on the restart cause JR never does anything to cause a wreck. Maybe instead of bashing Kyle about him being a hard charger Truex should try being a little more of a hard charger himself. I believe it’s 1win to 15wins in favor of Kyle. That’s Dusty’s opinion.

From Joyce:

For the most part I thought today’s race was the best I’ve seen so far this year. I love the double file restart, only hope the drivers will learn how to race the new format and not cause a “big one” like on lap 175. I’m sure Jr. didn’t spin his tires on purpose and I am also sure Kyle didn’t run into Martin Truex Jr. intentionally, I hated the wreck, but the side by side racing for the lead was awesome. I also loved the lap 151 caution for debris and how the race cars took care of it. LOL

I think the television broadcast would be more tolerable to watch if the commercials weren’t so mind numbing repetitive, if they would just change them up even if it were for the same product I would like it better. I’ve even decided to boycott some of the wares the ads hawk just because I feel like they are trying to tattoo their product on my brain…

Joyce,
Arkansas

From Bob in New Hampshire:

Claire B–

I trust you enjoyed your trip to the White Mountains and a big fat lobster. Just wanted to give credit to the New England race fans who filled at least 99% of the seats at NHMS today. After watching a sea of empties at Atlanta, Texas and other tracks, the full house in Loudon today is worthy of note when people start talking about future race date allocations, don’t you think?

Sorry about all the rain! Enjoy Daytona and thanks for all you do.

Bob in NH

From Marv:

Hi,

Let’s just say this is one of the lamest NASCAR seasons ever. Another rain win by someone who was not remotely competitive all day just like Kenseth and Ruetimann. They should have run 10 more caution laps to run the lame cars out of gas. Add to this debacle the fuel mileage races and this season really sucks. I usually get to 4 or 5 races a year and I am not renewing season tickets for a couple of tracks next year.

Marv Odell

From Dallas:

i don’t feel Kyle was the big cause of the big wreck.dale jr caused it by spinning his tires on the restart.
7 times out of ten their will be a wreck. and what Kyle said on the restart it is pretty close quarters and watching that double file restart,it was bumper to bumper for at least 2 laps. maybe if Martin Truex jr would of responded and made a hard left turn the wreck might not of happened. he knew what was gonna happen.in other words u check up your gonna get rear ended thanks

dallas

congratulations to joey logano

Randy from Ilinois:

I just know Truex has been running good and can’t catch a break….I could care less that NASCAR gave Logano a win…Lets see now we’ve got at least 3 wins this season that guys didn’t deserve or earn…So I didn’t get all mushy over NASCAR giving the boys the wins….They say a win is a win I quess…
Randy
Old School With An Attitude

From Tony in NY

Sure people would be mad if the race time got moved up for weather. Besides the fact that race fans generally like to gripe, I really think that race fans would be disappointed if they found they missed the call to fire engines.

Congrats to Joey. I’m happy with the win even with my favorite driver finishing second.

Tony in NY

—————————————————————

Well – in NASCAR the show must go on. The haulers and teams have to pick up and move on to Daytona on Wednesday. It’s a quick turnaround and everyone will be scurrying to get it all in place for the Fourth of July Daytona NASCAR show.

In our sport – we race, we run around rain, and when we get it dumped on us the decision is made from the tower and we move on.

We have to – the show doesn’t stop.

Thursday, Joey Logano visited the Children’s Hospital at Dartmouth (CHaD) and David’s house which gives health care to young children. While there he dropped off several video game consoles and games from his NASCAR Nationwide Series sponsor, GameStop, and visited with many of the children and families who use David’s House while receiving treatment at CHaD. Logano also made the trip next door to CHaD to visit with children who were not able to make it to the David’s House event.

Maybe the skies opened up and the win was a Karma win!

What I will remember of this win was an almost dazed with victory Logano. He handled victory lane and the media exceptionally and I don’t mean that as if he didn’t know what to do. He was fine in Victory Lane. I have been to victory lane with seasoned drivers with many wins who as a result of a finish could not seem to really soak in the win yet. It was so like that for Logano. He had dreamed all his young life about this moment and there he was….he got it thrust upon him when the skies opened he was moved, hustled, hugged, photographed and interviewed and it still had not sunk in.

He was being hugged by a moose character, handed a gigantic live lobster, embraced by coach Joe Gibbs, visited by Tony Stewart, beamed at by his tearful mom and proud dad who was handling the cell phone calls, yelled at to face a different direction by photographers pushing for space in a crammed garage as the car is being wheeled in and the trophy slid in front of him. He just kept smiling and smiling. He was warm and interesting in the interview, but he was a bit dazed by the win. That is what I will remember. It was almost surreal.

Today, and tomorrow, he’ll relive and relish it.

He’s a great kid and I congratulate him.

Enjoy the day!

Claire B

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Comments»

1. Terry - June 29, 2009

great story clair joy is 1 of my drivers that I pull for he is a classic

2. Gamov - June 30, 2009

I agree, very interesting story.

3. James, Shediac New Brunswick Canada - July 1, 2009

I really love this sport, and have for many many years. I have my favorites, but really just want to see good hard racing. Am no conspiracy theorist, and am pretty comfortable with how Nascar runs their show. Being from Canada, I’ve spent a lot of money attending events, and have been to every show in Loudon, and visted many different tracks on the schedule over the years. I appreciate strategy, don’t get too worked up when a driver does something stupid(it is racing you know), and was thrilled with the tenacity I saw in last Sundays race. I sometimes root for the underdog, and lately have thought it would be nice for Logano to win one this year.
Having said all that….I left the track totally disgusted, and I’m not sure I’ll ever go to another one.
Why?
It seems those paying the freight, aren’t getting much consideration. Everyone on the planet knew this race was not going to go the distance, and with that, comes the possibility of a winner that is undeserving. I’m ok with that too. what I’m not ok with, is gving anyone any kind of kudo’s for strategy. The 20 car was junk all day, and as it worked out, that’s the only reason they won. Had they been the least bit competitive, they wouldn’t have been out there when they were. They “stole it’, pure and simple…, nothing to do with smarts, or speed, or mileage calculations or skill, or anything racing related….it was just given to them. Sometimes that happens when weather is an issue. I just hope that the 20 goes out there and earns one soon.
The reason I arrived there, knowing I’d leave disgusted is simple. It’s not about Joey Logano, or Kyle Bush, it’s because nothing was done about the weather. Why wasn’t the green flag moved ahead? I know, I know,…. the networks. I understand all that. I’ll buy into the fact, though grudgingly, that it’s virtually impossible to move times ahead with the networks. What I don’t understand, is why the green flag didn’t wave somewhere between 2pm and 2:03 pm, moments after the network went to air, as opposed to around 2:25. Why in the world is this not common practice. Taking things a step further, why in the world would Nascar agree to 2:30 pm start times when late afternoon rain has been so common at this venue on race day? What is so terrible about picking up the race while it’s in progress by a few laps? I’m sure ratings are better for the last 20 laps than the first 20, and I’m sure 99 out of 100 TV viewers and advertisers would gladly accept that trade off.
This is the second year in a row, that both viewers, fans, and competitors have been short changed. Both races were shaping up to be dandies. Both could have been completed within the broadcast window, had they started when the networks went live. Does anyone think that talking about the race, is more important than seeing the race?
Although it wasn’t known the race “could” have been completed, what is known is that every lap run without rain is “good”. A race that completes 52% of the posted laps is better than one that completes 51%.
What am I missing here???????

4. Jeff from MN - July 2, 2009

Wow how cool to hear all the race fans points. Michele from Richmond Va in the story has it right I do belive. What will he do next?


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