Joey Logano thinks he knows how to keep cars from getting airborne in crashes during NASCAR Cup Series races on the superspeedways of Talladega and Daytona International Speedway. Logano’s car went into the air and flipped late in the first 60-laps stage of the Geico 500 at Talladega on Sunday.
Logano thinks shortening the spoiler will result in cars not bunching as close together in the large drafting packs, decreasing the chance of a car flying through the air in the large, multi-car crashes that have become synonymous with superspeedway racing.
“The spoiler creates, in my opinion, the runs that we see,” Logano said in an interview on SiriusXM NASCAR Radio on Tuesday. “The big runs that create the pushes and the shoves. Cars don’t crash in the corners anymore. They crash down the straightaways from pushing.
“We need to create a little bit more bubble and more space between cars like we used to have. We’ll still have pack racing, just like we’ve always had. We’ll still have the ‘big one’ , but it won’t happen as frequently, and I think that is good. Also, with the big spoiler, when the car goes backwards, it’s creating lift and, maybe, not allowing the roof flaps to do their job, either.
“Those things, to me, [are] probably the easiest fix. It sounds like a quick, easy fix. Obviously, you’ve got to balance it with the splitter and then you have to adjust the engine package to go with it, because the drag you would be taking off the car would be drastic. There are ripple effects that have to go through engine guys, team owners, drivers, everyone would have to get on the same page, competition directors.”
On Sunday, contact from Ricky Stenhouse Jr. sent Denny Hamlin’s car into Logano’s. Logano’s car then flipped mid-air over the car driven by Darrell ‘Bubba’ Wallace Jr. He was not injured.
“I guess I don’t know exactly what to think,” Logano said Sunday, after the crash. “It is a product of this racing. On one hand, I am so proud to drive a Cup car that is safe, and that I can go through a crash like that and get out and speak about it. On one hand, I am mad about being in the crash and on the other, I am happy to be alive.
“On another hand, I am wondering when we are going to stop because this is dangerous doing what we are doing. I got a roll bar in my head. That is not okay. I am one hit away from the same situation Ryan Newman just went through. I just don’t feel like that is acceptable.
“A lot of it is the big spoiler and the big runs and all the pushing. It is nobody’s fault. Denny is trying to go and the 47 [Stenhouse] is trying to go. It is a product of this racing. We have to fix it, though. Someone already got hurt and we are still doing it, so that’s not real smart.
“At the same time, I am appreciative of driving a car that is this safe and what Team Penske has done for the safety of these cars so that I can live to talk about it and go again. I got lucky that I didn’t get hit while I was in the air. It is unfortunate for our Autotrader Mustang but we will go on but it won’t be a good starting spot next week.”
Logano was uninjured. But he posted photos to Instagram, showing damage to the interior to his car.
Newman spent two days in the hospital and missed three races as he recovered from brain bruises after involvement in a last-lap crash in the 2020 Daytona 500. In that crash, Newman’s car hit the wall, flipped in the air and was hit in the driver’s side door area after landing on its roof. Bracing was added to the roll cage after that incident.
The Cup Series is slated to switch to its Next Gen car for the 2022 season, but two more superspeedway races, one each at Talladega and Daytona, with the current car this season. According to NASCAR Senior Vice President of Competition Scott Miller, the sanctioning body is looking into solutions for those two races.
“We’re disappointed that what transpired transpired, but super happy that Joey was okay and the roll hoop and all the things that needed to protect him did,” Miller said on SiriusXM NASCAR Radio on Monday. “But cars getting up in the air is not good. It’s something that we’ve been working on and will continue to work on.”