Joey has had his share of detractors since he came into Cup at a very young age, in part due to his dogged driving style. To read the feedback from this crowd of Negative Nancys, you would have thought Logano blatantly wrecked Truex a la Dale Earnhardt vs. Terry Labonte at Bristol back in the day. (By the way, Dale Sr. and most of his generation would be pretty disgusted with everyone whining over Joey’s move today.)
But alas, that was not the case. He did not wreck Truex, merely did the same bump-and-run that’s executed at Saturday night short track races across the country every single weekend and the kind of racing that made this sport what it is today. Truex still finished third, and unless he has bad luck the next couple weeks, has a great shot to make the Final Four at Homestead.
So, I find myself asking a familiar question, one that often populates my head after making the sometimes-questionable decision to read fan reaction on Twitter after a race: “Is there anything some NASCAR fans won’t complain about?”
When I watch a race, I am pretty clear about what I want to see: Good, competitive racing throughout the field most of the day, and preferably an exciting finish to the race. I’m a fan of late-race cautions and restarts with a few laps to go, I’m a fan of side-by-side racing for the lead and for positions, I’m a fan of watching the stalking and hunting as a 2nd place car gets closer and closer and then side-by-side with the leader before eventually passing most of the time.
Sunday’s race at Martinsville was awesome. Short-track racing is the best, and always will be. NASCAR needs more of it, as it produces much better racing that the myriad cookie-cutter 1.5-milers on the schedule.
I am dumbfounded that anyone other than Martin Truex Jr. himself, who I understand will be upset that he didn’t win, thought that race and the ending were anything other than exceptional.
This is the type of racing that will bring fans back to a sport so many are wanting to declare dead or dying. It’s exciting, it’s thrilling, it’s worth your time on a Sunday afternoon both at home and at the track.
Truex Jr. and his crew chief calling Joey Logano’s move a cheap shot was ridiculous, and Logano’s team owner Roger Penske wisely called them out on it, saying it was about as clean a move as you’re going to get at a place like Martinsville.
And he’s right.
There is of course the threat of retaliation now looming over Joey Logano. But I don’t think that bothers him too much. If he’s fast enough at Homestead to drive away from the other three contenders (which most likely will be the Big 3: Kyle Busch, Kevin Harvick and Truex), he won’t have to worry about getting turned.
Bottom line: Logano did what he had to do to win at Martinsville, and it was not dirty, despite what some may say.
It was good old-fashioned short-track racing all day with an exciting bump-and-run last lap pass, the type that happens all the time at Martinsville and short tracks around the nation, and I don’t want the sport to ever lose that, as it’s one of the top reasons those of us who have stuck with NASCAR still love to watch every weekend.
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