When Has a Fathers Love Gone To Far?

Sal Sigala Jr.Senior Analyst IOctober 12, 2009

For those of us who are parents, and even for those who aren’t, try and take a minute and ponder this question: “How far would you go to protect your kid, child, or teenager?”

Now I’m sure the first thing that comes to mind is the old cliché, “I would kill if anyone tried to hurt them.”

Now most of know that we wouldn’t actually go to that extreme, but it would be close enough to stand in the gap, and do anything it took to make sure their safety wasn’t compromised.

Whenever someone makes a threat to harm our children, the first thing that comes to mind is to protect them from any harm that may be coming their way, especially when it involves a 3,500 pound car racing at speeds beyond what is legal except only on a track.

When you factor in not only the weight and speed of these cars, but also the tremendous amount of forward momentum that they carry makes them way beyond the 3,500 pounds that they tip the scales at during inspection.

Now just because these are the some of the safest race cars around, does that give a driver the right to take it upon himself to seek retaliation for an incident that should have been forgotten?

How many more times will we have to witness a driver going beyond his driving duties, and instead taking on the mindset that he is racing in some Saturday night demolition derby?

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Tom Logano, the father of Joey Logano who took over driving duties for Tony Stewart in the Joe Gibbs Racing No. 20, Home Depot Toyota sponsored race car to begin the 2009 season was credentialed with a paper pass for Sunday’s race.

Logano had his hard card pulled by a NASCAR official, after he had a verbal confrontation along with an an improper hand gesture to Roush Fenway driver Greg Biffle, on pit row after the Copart 300 on Saturday.

The whole incident started on lap 50 when Nationwide and Sprint cup driver Greg Biffle made a reference over his radio that he was going to put the younger Logano into the fence.

It was then that Biffle, who tried passing Logano on the inside, slid up the track into his front fender with the damage to Logano’s car very minimal.

Saturday’s incident can easily be looked at as retaliation from what happened last week at Kansas, when it was Logano who ran into Biffle, with Biffle blaming him for his fifth place finish.

"They've got short memories, you know? They don't remember last week [at Kansas] when they smashed my left front fender in. See? It's all about their selves—and it's not always about you.”

Biffle who was still upset about what happened added this, "He was lucky that he had time to fix it. I got mine smashed in on the last run of the day. I didn't have time to fix mine. I fell back and finished wherever I did."

Now even though NASCAR is looking into what Biffle said on the radio just moments before he ran into Logano, because after all it is considered a threat, and a serious one at that because of the fact that another driver could have gotten seriously hurt or even killed?

Dave Rogers, Logano’s crew chief in the Nationwide series, was not very happy with the danger that his young driver was put under.

“It’s just terrible that you transport two cars (the Nos. 18 and 20) all the way across the country to come out and have a good, clean race, and a driver brags on his radio that the 20 car better have casters, because I’m going to fence him — and then pulls up and fences us."

"I’m sure NASCAR will review the tape and the audio. During the race I went down and talked to a NASCAR official, and I said, ‘This isn’t right. He’s bragging about it.’ And then he does it. And at that point the message is conveyed. … It’s a shame that people race like that, but it is what it is.”

I asked the question to a few fans at Auto Club Speedway this past weekend if Tom Logano had the right to defend his son, but more importantly did NASCAR overreact by pulling his hard card?

And of course we all know what the answer was to that, and it was that Logano had ever right to protect his son and NASCAR should have never pulled his card.

Now taking a more diplomatic approach, and looking at the situation as a whole. NASCAR had every right to pull his card and I’m sure the reasons were very valid ones, especially when most of the answers I got from the fans were taken on the spur of the moment.

NASCAR as an organization is here to provide us the fans a form of entertainment, and one of their main goals is to make sure that not only us the fans are protected, but the drivers, teams, and anyone else who is involved in the sport as well.

When Logano went after a driver in a state of rage, and he is not officially affiliated with the team other than his son who drivers for them, NASCAR had every right to protect their driver because of the fact that no one knew what Logano is capable of.

And furthermore since NASCAR does police what goes on in and around the track, Logano should have respected their authority and let them handle it the same way that every owner, and team have been doing since coming into the series.

One of the problems here is that the teams already know the guidelines, and they know the consequences if they are not followed.

Whether Logano knew the rules or not, the profession that his son chose to make his living at is a very dangerous one. And it’s also one that carries a very high energy level, as well as the competition that has to be very intense.

All Logano did was react in a way that I’m sure most of us would have, especially when you look at how dangerous the sport already is and another driver was using a heavy piece of metal to make a statement and your son happens to be involved.

And when look back a couple of weeks ago to Dover, the younger Logano had one the worse wrecks of his career that could have easily carried over into this week as far as his fathers emotions are concerned.

But the bottom line is what steps NASCAR will take if in fact those tapes do describe in an accurate way the accounts that led up to Biffle putting Logano into the fence.

Now is the time for NASCAR to step in and hand down a harsh penalty, which will send a message that this type of driving behavior will not be tolerated in the future.

A penalty of that magnitude could possibly save another family the grief of having to bury their loved one because of a move that could have been avoided.

NASCAR has already lost enough drivers because of the unforeseen; it would be a sad day if we were to lose another one because a fellow driver decide's to take matters into his hands while using a 3,500 pound race car to get his message across.

Not only is this type of practice unprofessional, but the consequences could be a lot worse than what NASCAR could hand down.

A driver could go to prison if in fact a court finds that he purposely wrecked another driver that resulted in his death. This is the reality of it, and it hopefully it will never get that point.

NASCAR spokesperson Ramsey Poston said the sanctioning body is looking into Biffle's radio transmissions, and also reviewing the video.

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