It's definitely a much newer era in the NASCAR Cup Series, and for two-time series champion Joey Logano, it has been a bit of a reality check.
Logano used to be the driver who made the daring moves or blocked others from trying to pass him, no matter what position it was for. At times, he was the driver who caused issues for other drivers on track. However, it seems that those times are past.
The Team Penske driver can easily recall when he was the most aggressive driver on the circuit. The same can no longer be said, as he recently addressed the change in racing during his weekly "Behind the Wheel with Joey Logano" segment on SiriusXM NASCAR Radio.
?? "I was the most aggressive driver on the race track 8 years ago. I'm not anymore. No way." #NASCAR@Team_Penske's @joeylogano says "everybody is cutthroat at this point" in Cup in part due to passing difficulty.
? "It's not what it used to be."
— SiriusXM NASCAR Radio (Ch. 90) (@SiriusXMNASCAR) August 3, 2023
"Shoot, guys, I was the most aggressive driver on the racetrack eight years ago. I'm not anymore," Logano said. "No way. I used to be the guy that was, the one making three-wide moves, and not letting anyone go, and racing really really hard everybody, you know, like, just cutthroat. The whole field's that way — every single one of them."
A New Era in NASCAR for Joey Logano and Other Drivers
Whether that's just the nature of the beast or because it is so hard to pass others, this is clearly the new era of racing in NASCAR in general. There was a time when give-and-take was necessary. Nowadays, there is no give, just a whole lot of take.
Logano mentioned Tony Stewart as one of those drivers who knew how to give when he needed to and expected the favor to be returned. The same cannot be expected in today's NASCAR, in Logano's opinion.
"Everybody is cutthroat at this point because all the cars are going the same dang speed. It gets hard to make the passes now," Logano said. "It's hard move yourself through the field. Listen, I qualified 23rd last week, and I'm like, 'This is awful. It's going to take me the whole race — it's going to take me 400 laps — to get to the lead.'"
NASCAR has clearly made the racing so close, but it may be too close, at least in Logano's opinion. He credits the aggressive racing to everyone in the field knowing that all the cars are pretty much the same, so no one really cares and it's pretty much a free-for-all.
"Everybody knows that now, and everybody just does not let anybody go. It's just what it is."
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