Joey Logano torched the field Sunday at Phoenix Raceway. He led 187 of 312 laps to score the victory and win his second NASCAR Cup Series championship.
Once a rising prospect who became the youngest driver to ever win a Cup Series race, Joe Gibbs Racing left him out to dry for Matt Kenseth. Eventually, he found his place and success with Team Penske. Now almost a decade later, if there was any doubt before Sunday, Logano has booked his place in the NASCAR Hall of Fame with his second title.
Numbers Don’t Lie
With his victory at Phoenix, Logano moves into a tie with Martin Truex Jr. for 28th on NASCAR’s all-time wins list. Of the 27 ahead, only Jimmie Johnson and five other active drivers aren’t currently in the Hall of Fame. Logano has more victories than roughly three-quarters of the drivers to win a Cup Series race.
But it doesn’t stop at wins. With title number two, Logano joins 16 other drivers that have won multiple Cup Series championships, amongst a list of 35 to ever claim the title.
Perception Isn’t Reality
Logano isn’t the pompous rich kid of his rookie years (if he ever was one). I’ve seen him stick around to sign autographs for race fans, long after the race concluded and the cameras turned off. He’s about as approachable of a NASCAR driver as you’ll find.
Even if he is, he walks the walk. As mentioned before, he is already 28th on NASCAR’s all-time wins list. For a fan base that to this day worships at the alter of Dale Earnhardt, what driver is more aggressive and hard-racing than Logano? Yet most weeks, he receives the loudest boos in driver introductions.
Just to give you an idea of @joeylogano off camera, until about two minutes ago, he was signing autographs for fans who stuck around for the after-party at @WWTRaceway.#NASCAR #EnjoyIllinois300 pic.twitter.com/GBoNirOClS
— 𝓣𝓾𝓬𝓴𝓮𝓻 𝓦𝓱𝓲𝓽𝓮 🏳️🌈 (@TuckerWhite94) June 6, 2022
Much like Jeff Gordon and, to an extent, Jimmie Johnson, I suspect Joey Logano won’t receive the overall respect and appreciation from fans until he retires from NASCAR. After Sunday (plus five years), that retirement will come with a spot in the NASCAR Hall of Fame.