It’s Rather Ridiculous that Joey Logano Couldn’t Go Home After Winning the Championship
If there’s one item that just about everyone who’s part of the NASCAR traveling circus can agree on, it’s that the NASCAR Cup Series schedule is a grind.
This is the reality that led 38-year-old Aric Almirola to announce before the recently completed season began that 2022 would be his final year as a full-time Cup driver (although he later reneged and decided to return in 2023 when primary sponsor Smithfield offered up too much money to refuse).
This same reality led Alex Bowman’s crew chief, Greg Ives, to reveal a couple of months ago that he would step down from his role at the end of 2022 to take a new job at Hendrick Motorsports that would allow him to come off the road and spend more time with his family.
The 2022 Cup Series season may well have been the most exhausting campaign in the history of the sport, as it featured 37 consecutive weekends of racing minus a lone off-weekend in late June, assuming we include the non-points-paying All-Star Race.
And, of course, if anyone has a reason to feel worn out, it’s the four drivers and their team members who competed straight up for the title in last weekend’s Championship 4 race at Phoenix. While everyone was there, these four drivers and teams were obviously under far more pressure than the rest of the field.
So why in the world, then, was Phoenix race winner and newly minted 2022 Cup Series champion Joey Logano still out West as of Tuesday evening instead of back home in Charlotte, North Carolina with his family?
It was no rest for the weary Joey Logano after winning the title
With NASCAR being the sport that never sleeps — even during the all-too-short three-month “off-season,” which is actually one of the busiest times of the year for the competitors as they prepare for a new season — the folks at NASCAR and FOX Sports apparently had a to-do list ready for Joey Logano after the Team Penske driver left Phoenix Raceway on Sunday night as the Cup Series’ newest champion
Logano’s Twitter feed — along with the official NASCAR Twitter feed and the feed of noted FOX Sports reporter Bob Pockrass — indicated that Logano had quite the busy day, in particular, on Tuesday when he paid an extended visit to Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, a historic football stadium that, come early February, will for the second consecutive year be converted into a temporary race track that hosts a preseason exhibition race dubbed “The Busch Light Clash at The Coliseum.”
Logano won this year’s inaugural running of the event, which airs on FOX, so I guess NASCAR and the TV network figured that this week would be a good time for Logano to return to The LA Coliseum to promote next season’s unofficial opener.
That all sounds good in theory, of course, but you’ve got to figure that Logano — who has a wife and three fairly young children — was probably itching to return home to Charlotte to see his family. Especially considering that Logano’s two youngest kids weren’t even able to make the trip to Phoenix for the final race of the 2022 season.
I’d imagine those kids were probably more than a little eager to see their dad by the time he finally flew back to the East Coast late Tuesday.
NASCAR shouldn’t expect its new champion to jump right back into the fire
To Joey Logano’s credit, he seemed to make the most of his post-championship race obligations, as he was his usual smiling self in all the photos captured during his Coliseum visit.
But wouldn’t it have made more sense to have Logano — or whoever won the championship — make this promotional stop in, say, early 2023 after they’ve been home, had a chance to catch their proverbial breath a bit, and reconnected with their family?
As of Tuesday evening, Logano had been so busy since the checkered flag waved at Phoenix that he hadn’t even had a chance to reply to any of the no doubt hundreds of congratulatory texts he’d received.
How’s that for work-life balance? In short, it’s not a good balance. Not at all. Especially when you consider the toll this marathon of a season has taken on everyone, Logano included. Heck, let’s go ahead and say Logano especially, since he was one of the four championship finalists.
Look, I suppose there’s nothing inherently wrong with NASCAR and FOX asking the champion to promote a race — even if that race is three months in the future. But when a guy has been away from home for no fewer than six days, as Logano had been by the time he left LA, and when a season as long and drawn out as the 2022 Cup Series campaign has just come to a conclusion, don’t you think it would’ve been a nice gesture on the part NASCAR and FOX to let everyone take a breather?
I do. And I’m undoubtedly not alone.