Former Cup Series champion Joey Logano says the health measures put in place by sanctioning body NASCAR makes him “feel safer at the race track than I do at the grocery store” from the threat of COVID-19.
Speaking to media via Zoom ahead of this Sunday’s Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte, Logano said that NASCAR’s health screenings, use of personal protective equipment and social distancing measures has allowed it to take full advantage of being the first top-line motorsports league to get back on track.
“One of my favorite lines I’ve heard this whole time is don’t let a good crisis go to waste,” said Logano. “And at this point, yes, there is a lot of risk that we are all weighing out and concerns, and there are a lot of people trying to weather this storm, whether it’s financially with their job or physically with their health.
“There are a lot of things up in the air, but there is also a lot of opportunity that sits in front of us as all these businesses are shut down and industries are shut down. For us to find a way to get back to the race track as a sport, as an industry, and get back to work before most was an amazing opportunity that I think NASCAR saw and it was important for everybody on this call for that to happen for all of our livelihoods – every one of us. That’s something I’m proud of this sport to be able to do that and do this in the safest way we possibly can.
“I know I feel plenty safe at the race track. I feel safer at the race track than I do at the grocery store, and I really do at this point.”
NASCAR ran two Cup Series events and one Xfinity race at Darlington this week, and its focus on racing – by cancelling practice and qualifying sessions – has restricted the requirement for interaction between driver and crew members. Teams are limited to 16 members, including the driver.
Strange sights so far have included TV cameras catching Ryan Preece getting dressed into his firesuit in the back of his pickup truck in the car park, and the drivers then walking from there to their cars on pit road carrying their own helmets – all wearing PPE masks, which they can only remove when they’re inside their race car.
Speaking about the events of this week, Logano said: “I think everything went as smooth as you could possibly hope for. So a lot of credit to NASCAR, a lot of credit to the leaders in our sport, whether it’s owners, team principals of any sort, OEMs, everyone worked together to make this happen.
“The protocol part is a little weird, but it is what it is and I’m glad we’re doing it – don’t get me wrong. As far as once you’re strapped in the car and racing nothing is different, nothing at all. The way you communicate to your team, we’re used to being secluded inside of a race car and only communicate through your radio.
“That’s what we do. That’s our job. Nothing changes from the driver’s standpoint.”
Logano was also asked about the Chase Elliott and Kyle Busch clash, that led to Elliott making a rude gesture at Busch after climbing from his wrecked car.
“I didn’t see [the gesture] until afterwards, which was a big letdown,” he quipped. “I didn’t see it when it was happening. It was pretty good! [laughing]
“I don’t know. It’s not my deal. I’m not involved in it. I’m involved in plenty. I’m choosing to stay out of this one.”
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