The Cool Down Lap: Underdog No More, Joey Logano Is The Champ

Squint your eyes real quick and say “that was friggin’ awesome.”

Congrats on imitating Joey Logano because he undoubtebly said that Sunday night as he won the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Championship. The 28-year old from Connecticut cemented his place in NASCAR history by winning the race, championship and denying the big three the party they’ve been expecting all season.

Who Saw This Coming In 2009?

Hell who saw this in 2008 when he made those starts in the #96 Cup car?

Joey Logano has one of the more interesting stories in the garage area. A teenager thrust into Tony Stewart’s famed #20 car in 2009 at the age of 19 after only 19 Xfinity starts was a hell of a way to start a career. Ultimately his time at Joe Gibbs fizzled out and after 4 seasons and only 2 wins he was replaced with Matt Kenseth.

Ultimately it was the best move for Logano. Brad Keselowski campaigned Roger Penske to sign him to the #22 car. Penske was skeptical but gave it a go. Six seasons, 19 wins and a championship later it was certainly the best idea Brad Keselowski has potentially ever had.

If you would have asked people in 2009 if they saw Joey Logano becoming a Cup champion they’d have laughed in your face. Not only did the fans dislike him for being a young rich kid but they didn’t think he could drive. Everyone immediately compared him to Kyle Busch and Denny Hamlin. Not only was that vastly unfair it was downright preposterous. Flash forward 10 years and the fans still hate him but you can compare him to those two now.

Don’t Hate The Player, Hate The Game

People complained Sunday night that the best driver didn’t win the championship. Because Kyle Busch and Kevin Harvick won 8 races and didn’t win the championship people get angry. I get that, listen it’s like Trump winning the election. He wasn’t the most popular but he played the game and unfortunately won. Jeff Gordon won the most races in 1996 but Terry Labonte won the title. Matt Kenseth won a single race in 2003 and took home the trophy.

Sure this new points system rewards winning. It rewards winning the final race too and that’s exactly what Logano did. He won when he needed to. He played the game and while he didn’t play it how NASCAR fully intended the champ to play it he still found a way to win.

So complain all you want about how Logano doesn’t “deserve” this but understand he fully does. NASCAR made the rules, he obliged and this was the result. If fans want to be mad at anyone be mad at NASCAR for implementing this playoff format. Having one race decide the champion is dumb especially in a series that is 36 weeks long. Playoffs work in other sports and they could work in NASCAR without the elimination factor. But that’s just my two cents.

Champ

Joey Logano gave the trophy deprived northeast another championship. You want something to hate, there it is. He’ll be an exceptional champion though, he races hard, he doesn’t take shit, he’s what NASCAR fans say they want. Joey Logano is YOUR 2018 NASCAR Cup Series Champ. Embrace it.

Ps. Do we call him Joe now?

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