Joey Logano dishes on ‘hate mail’ from angry fans after Talladega win
Kevin Harvick isn’t the only driver who’s endured less-than-favorable treatment from some fans in the aftermath of Sunday’s controversial finish at Talladega Superspeedway.
Joey Logano, who was declared the race winner over Dale Earnhardt Jr. after NASCAR froze the field and took several minutes to review videotape of where the two drivers ran at the time of the caution, has been on the receiving end of some pretty harsh words, too.
"I’ve gotten hate mail," Logano said during Tuesday’s media day for the eight drivers moving on to the Chase Eliminator Round. "Believe me, I got that part. I don’t know why. It’s OK. I somewhat enjoy it and I somewhat take it as a compliment, because if you look at it, when I was getting beer cans thrown at me, thank goodness I was in a race car because it probably would have hurt. I was sitting there driving and thinking about it. I was like, ‘Man, this is actually really cool.’ It’s the ultimate compliment in motorsports, which is a weird way to look at it because you say, ‘Man, people are throwing things at me and it’s not very nice.’"
While Logano stressed that he doesn’t condone fans throwing any kind of debris onto the track during or after a race, he couldn’t help but recall an occasion when fans at Talladega threw beer cans at Jeff Gordon after a victory.
The first time it happened was April 2004, when Gordon was declared the winner at Talladega after replays showed his car just ahead of Earnhardt Jr.’s when NASCAR threw a caution and froze the field.
The second time was April 2007 when Gordon won at Talladega to surpass the late Dale Earnhardt Sr. on the Sprint Cup Series’ all-time wins list — on what would have been Earnhardt’s 56th birthday.
"I looked at it while we were driving and I was watching beer cans explode off my windshield and I thought, ‘This is so cool,’ because I remember when I was, I don’t know, 9, 10, 11, 12 (years old), and I saw Jeff Gordon win at Talladega and the same exact thing happened," Logano said. "That was ’07? OK, I was older than I thought, but I watched it happen and I didn’t quite grasp it then and I didn’t understand why they were doing it. I was a Jeff Gordon fan. I’m like, ‘Why does everyone hate Jeff Gordon? What did he ever do to anyone?’ I thought he was a good role model, a good guy, he just wins a lot. I thought the same thing (Sunday). I was like, ‘This is kind of cool.’"
"What’s funny is my phone blows up. I get a kick out of it," the Team Penske driver said. "If I post a picture on Instagram and then all the comments come up on my phone after I post something, the same thing on Twitter, but when the comments come up and it’s like, ‘You’re a jerk.’ And there a lot of things I can’t say right now, but I smile every time because I think it’s kind of funny because some of them are pretty creative. I’m like, ‘You put a lot of thought into that one. That’s a new one.’ I like the new ones. Those are good."
Sunday marked Logano’s third consecutive win and second in a row that ended in controversial fashion. Just one week earlier, at Kansas Speedway, Logano spun race leader Matt Kenseth in the closing laps and went on to score the victory.
"I don’t know," he said. "I don’t really care. I know there are a lot of No. 22 T-shirts out there and I really enjoy seeing that and I really appreciate the support that the 22 team gets, and if you don’t like me, I don’t care."