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Joey Logano walks along pit road prior to a NASCAR Cup Series auto race at Phoenix Raceway, Sunday, March 14, 2021, in Avondale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Ralph Freso)
Joey Logano‘s car flew through the air at Talladega on Sunday. (AP Photo/Ralph Freso)

Joey Logano’s car flipped over onto its roof in a scary crash near the end of the first stage of Sunday’s NASCAR Cup Series race at Talladega.

Logano’s car got bumped by Denny Hamlin‘s as Hamlin went to make a pass. Hamlin moved to the inside of Logano and got hit by Ricky Stenhouse Jr. That contact from Stenhouse sent Hamlin’s car into Logano’s. Then contact from Stenhouse’s car into Logano’s sent the No. 22 car into the air.

Thankfully, no other cars hit Logano while his car was on its roof or in the air and it flipped back over. Logano climbed from his car and was uninjured.

“I got lucky I didn’t get hit while I was in the air,” Logano said.

Logano prefaced that comment with his frustration with the type of racing that happens at Daytona and Talladega. Drivers have to draft closely with each other to make speed and passes require pushes from trailing cars. The large spoilers on the back of the Cup cars also help lead to quick closing rates. 

Drivers are continually trying to proactively react to moves behind them as the margin for error is near zero.

Logano complimented the safety of current Cup Series cars and how he was able to walk away from a crash of that magnitude.

“I guess I don’t know exactly what to think,” Logano said. “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 made 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.”

Newman was hospitalized for three days with a head injury after he crashed on the final lap of the 2020 Daytona 500. Newman’s car went head-on into the outside wall and flipped over after impact. Newman’s car was then hit on the driver’s side window by an oncoming car at full speed. 

NASCAR made some safety changes in the wake of Newman’s crash that included strengthening the rollbar areas around drivers’ heads. 

The theme of Logano’s comments aren’t new. Drivers have been complaining about the big wrecks at Daytona and Talladega for years. But the big packs and high speeds that create those wrecks remain. NASCAR limits the horsepower in the engines at Daytona and Talladega to create the packs. The engines are throttled back so that speeds don’t skyrocket past 200 MPH.

If Cup Series cars were at full horsepower at Daytona and Talladega, the common theory is that they’d get airborne more easily. And there have been some terrifying crashes over the years when cars have gotten tangled in the catchfences at Daytona and Talladega.

But as Logano’s car showed on Sunday, cars can still get airborne pretty easily with the current rules configuration. Logano’s car appeared to take off as soon as it got turned backward after contact from Stenhouse’s car.

Logano’s also a man frustrated over what’s happened at Daytona and Talladega recently. Logano was leading on the last lap of February’s Daytona 500 when he and teammate Brad Keselowski crashed as Keselowski went for the winning pass with a push from Michael McDowell. The collision between the two Penske teammates didn’t collect McDowell as he went on to win the 500 for his first career Cup Series win.

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