MARTINSVILLE, VIRGINIA - OCTOBER 26: Joey Logano, driver of the #22 Shell Pennzoil Ford, talks with Denny Hamlin, driver of the #11 FedEx Freight Toyota, during practice for the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series First Data 500 at Martinsville Speedway on October 26, 2019 in Martinsville, Virginia.
(Photo by Matt Sullivan/Getty Images)

Denny Hamlin Defends Joey Logano

The 2024 season is about to start for NASCAR with this weekend's Busch Light Clash at the Coliseum, but Denny Hamlin got the season going a few days early.

Hamlin kicked off the second season of his podcast "Actions Detrimental with Denny Hamlin" this week, and he had plenty of subjects to talk about, including the debut of Netflix's "NASCAR: Full Speed" documentary, but that wasn't the biggest subject on his mind.

Hamlin had something to say about a controversial take that two-time Cup Series champion Joey Logano had to say about NASCAR fans.

Late in the 2023 season, Logano commented that NASCAR fans are spoiled on Sirius XM NASCAR Radio.

Joining Hamlin and co-host Jared Allen were journalists Jordan Bianchi and Jeff Gluck, who are starting a podcast themselves on Dirty Mo Media. The four discussed Logano's comments with Hamlin defending Logano and arguing that the comments were largely taken out of context on social media.

"It got a little blip on the media radar for a while there, and then people were talking about it on social media — Joey's comments about our fans being, you know, a little too spoiled. I think it was taken a little bit out of context. It's certainly not what he meant," Hamlin said. "He just meant that, our fans have a ton of access, compared to other sports, we have a ton of access. So where do you guys stand on that, because it is such a hard topic, and I think about it as well. It's like are we too accessible, and oversaturated, or do we need to go the other way, and be more?"

The group then had a solid debate about whether the sport needs to scale back the access for the fans or whether it should be expanded. It isn't an easy subject by any means, but Hamlin clarified the drivers' perspective and recalled his own childhood and going to races and trying to get driver autographs.

"I don't think the drivers are saying no," Hamlin said. "The reason, when I used to chase my favorite drivers when I was younger when they came to Richmond, my mom had a list on, 'Davey Allison's going to be here, Bill Elliott's going to be here, Dale Earnhardt's going to be here,' and she had an itinerary. I'm telling you, these lines were three hours long, at minimum. It just took forever. The fandom was amazing back then. But we would schedule out the entire day of, 'We're going to be able to hit four drivers today,' right? But a lot of that was circled, they weren't just sitting around in a circle singing autographs."

When Hamlin was a kid, meeting your favorite driver was a lot easier because sponsors would often require drivers make public appearances outside of the track at places like grocery stores, gas stations and malls. Shrinking sponsorship dollars, however, mean that NASCAR teams have to find more dollars from more companies, rather than rely on one or two big sponsors supporting an entire team. Today, there are fewer opportunities for fans to meet their favorite drivers outside of the racetrack, and oftentimes they need pit or garage passes to be in the right place at the right time.

It all comes back to sponsorships, which realistically has been an issue for NASCAR teams for many years now, so even with Hamlin and Logano having similar views on the privileges of NASCAR fans, nothing is going to change until those that run the sport do something to alter its current financial structure.

More: Netflix Strikes Gold With "NASCAR: Full Speed" Documentary