NASCAR is the only professional sport that has every team competing in the same event at once. So unlike the MLS or NHL that might have 15 games happening at once but at different arenas in different states, NASCAR has all its teams racing at the same facility at the same event.
With that being said, there are teams that aren’t as competitive as others and/or are as competitive but have bad days causing them to be multiple laps down.
During the last column I wrote, I touched on the situation between Kyle Busch and a lapped car at Las Vegas, well a similar situation happened a couple weeks ago at Dover International Speedway.
Joey Logano, a driver who normally runs up front and contends for race wins, had a mechanical issue before the race started.
His race team got the car fixed, and he returned to the race, but 20+ laps down.
Towards the end of one of the stages in the race, Martin Truex Jr, Kyle Larson, and Denny Hamlin were racing for the lead. The leaders were driving through lap traffic (passing cars that are multiple laps down) when they reached Logano.
Unlike the other lap cars, Logano didn’t “pull over” and let the leaders goes by.
The leaders ultimately got by him, but not without a flight.
Post-race, Logano defended his actions by saying that he was racing for position and felt that he could reach cars in front of him to gain playoff points.
Denny Hamlin responded to Logano’s comments by saying, “Make up a position?? He’s 24 laps down … That’s just a stupid statement by an idiot.”
The NASCAR community has started to question if there is a better way to handle lap cars.
I believe that the current way is perfect. NASCAR drivers are supposed to be the best drivers in the world. If they can’t pass race cars, get off the track.
I believe when the leaders are coming, lapped drivers should pick a lane and hold it. And don’t try and race them unless you are the next car to go one lap down. The fight to stay on the lead lap can make or break a driver’s race.
But in Logano’s case, don’t race them. Move over or get moved. Had that happened later in the race and Hamlin or Truex was being held up by Logano, Joey most likely would have ended up in the fence.
The beauty of NASCAR is that all the competitors race the same race. That even applies for the playoffs.
Sixteen drivers make the 10-race playoff, but like the rest of the season prior, 40 drivers still start every event. That doesn’t happen in other sports.
So lapped cars, keep on racing. Keep gaining experience and making a name for yourself, but please, please, please, move over and let the leaders race.