By Jared Turner
Final Monster Energy Series practice at New Hampshire Motor Speedway caused quite the firestorm when NASCAR forced Joey Logano to sit out the entire 50-minute session for his car failing pre-qualifying inspection four times. This, of course, was hardly the first time Logano’s car has had trouble getting through inspection this year. Remember the spring Richmond race that Logano “won” but for all practical matters lost when NASCAR deemed the victory “encumbered” because his car flunked post-race inspection?
On Saturday at NHMS, NASCAR sent its loudest message yet that it won’t tolerate teams trying to skirt the rules. This was accomplished by not only forcing Logano to miss the entire session, but also making him sit in his car while his fellow drivers were out on track.
Now, understand: Logano wasn’t the only driver who had to spend part of the session on pit road to serve out a penalty, but he was the first driver in NASCAR history who has ever been benched for an entire practice. While Logano ridiculed NASCAR’s decision, calling it “a total joke,” and others such as Dale Earnhardt Jr. went on Twitter to voice their agreement with him (Junior actually went as far as to use a four-letter word that would earn him a hefty fine if said in a TV interview), I have no issue whatsoever with NASCAR making an example of Logano and his team.
Did it perhaps seem a bit harsh? Sure. Could NASCAR have chosen a better way to deliver the same message? Maybe. But you know what would be far worse than Logano being a little upset or embarrassed? NASCAR having to revoke a championship because the champion’s car fails post-race inspection at Homestead.
Let’s hope it never comes to that. Kudos to NASCAR for making every effort to ensure it won’t.