CHARLOTTE, N.C. – Three days and nearly 50 drivers from NASCAR’s three national series collided here and suddenly it’s over and I guess from here on out folks will focus on racing.
Another NASCAR media tour, hosted by Charlotte Motor Speedway, is in the books and this one closed quietly. For the print folks, it was Team Penske driver Joey Logano chiming in on fatherhood and failing to meet the on-track expectations of 2017.
We’ll get back to that in a bit …
• The young driver/old driver storyline carried over into the final day and I really don’t know what to make of it. Too much or not enough?
if you’ve missed it, don’t worry. Chances are it will resurface in Daytona. For now, just know that NASCAR is hard behind its younger competitors and that’s not exactly a new tactic. Nor is it the worst idea.
Some veteran drivers will feel slighted and that’s to be expected. Some will speak out about it when asked and that’s to be expected too.
Fans need to know about the younger drivers coming into the series, but let’s not brand those drivers as stars until they’ve actually accomplished something.
Meanwhile, there are four full-time drivers suiting up this year in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series who are 40 or older. Jimmie Johnson’s the eldest of the elder statesmen at 42, Kevin Harvick’s a few months younger, Jamie McMurray is 41 and if Ryan Newman were a Super Bowl he’d be XL.
Johnson has won seven premier series championships, could become the first ever to win eight and NASCAR ought to have a marketing campaign around the Hendrick Motorsports driver going into every year for that reason alone.
Harry Gant won 18 premier series races, all of them after he turned 42. Bobby Allison won a championship at 45. Young drivers left their marks early too. I guess the point is, don’t make too much of age, or what some marketing agency does with it.
• Kasey Kahne, the fresh-start kid, said expects to open up his Sprint car schedule now that he’s joined Leavine Family Racing for his Cup Series efforts. Kahne, whose KKR fields full-time World of Outlaw entries for drivers Daryn Pittman and Brad Sweet, hopes to run between 20-30 races himself in a third entry.
• Daniel Suarez, thrust into the No. 19 Toyota at Joe Gibbs Racing with the unexpected departure of Carl Edwards, said there have been “adjustments” made to his team in preparation for the ’18 season.
Those changes are primarily personnel – Suarez changed crew chiefs early in the year when Dave Rogers took a leave of absence and the driver said his No. 1 and 2 engineers changed “in the last two months of racing.” There was also a car chief change in the offseason. “Everyone knows the challenge that we have, and everyone knows all that we have (in place). I really like that,” Suarez said.
• Logano, the first driver to miss the Playoffs due to an “encumbered” win at Richmond last year, called the feeling one “we never want to have again.”
“We thought we would go win more races,” he said “No big deal. Then it was one thing after another and before we knew it our back was against the wall. … We did not see that coming at all.”
Sixteen teams made the Playoff. The No. 22 team wasn’t one of them.
As for fatherhood? Logano said he’s learned that “I can’t halfway do something.”
“When I go to work, I have to be 100 percent at work and when I go home, I have to put my phone down,” Logano said. “… There is a time for work and a time for family. I need to do 100 percent at each one of those and not try to do 50 percent at all of them. It doesn’t work.”
As always, thanks for stopping by.