After mulling it over for a few days, here's my take on the Morgan Shepherd controversy.
I'm a little bit confused here. It's been a while since I saw a purely innocent and common racing incident warp into what this Morgan Shepherd/Joey Logano deal has.
Let me lay this all out for you. Morgan Shepherd was off the pace and yes, I guess he was the slowest car on the track. He was also running above the NASCAR-mandated minimum speed.
If you can't control yourself, don't be out there if you're 10 laps down.
Joey Logano on Morgan Shepherd
What happened here was simple. Logano was attempting to pass Shepherd on the outside in order to lap him. Sheperd's ill-handling race car washed up the track and got into Joey. The two tangled and that was that. Did Shepherd make a mistake? Yes, he did. But...
We've seen crashes like that a thousand times. What makes this one different? At what point did a racing incident turn into people calling for Shepherd to be banned because he can no longer handle a race car. So one mistake supercedes a 32 year career that includes 517 starts, four wins, 63 top fives, 168 top tens, and 2,155 laps led?
By this logic, no matter who you are or what you've done, causing an incident similar to what we saw at New Hampshire warrents your NASCAR racing license to be revoked on the grounds that you can no longer drive.
After the incident, Logano was understandably upset, but he only helped further this firestorm with his incensed comments, saying "I think there should be a good driver's test before you get out in a Cup car to make sure you know how to drive before you drive one." Joey then added, "If you can't control yourself, don't be out there if you're 10 laps down."
This wreck had nothing to do with his age
That wreck had nothing to do with how fast Shepherd was going, nor did it have anything to do with his age. It was just a racing deal between two racers. That's all it was. To Logano's point, Shepherd has a right to race, despite the fact he was dealing with an ill-handling car.If you listen to the in-car audio, the team and Morgan were trying to get a handle on the car, just like any of the other 42 drivers on the track. He wasn't a road block either. In fact, he moved out of Joey's way in an attempt to make the pass easier for him.
If that was Jeff Gordon in Shepherd's position, people would have blamed the car or the air upsetting the No. 24. But because it was 72 year-old racer Morgan Shepherd, a large contingent out there wants to erroneously claim that it's because of his age. I'm sorry, but that's a load of crap and Shepherd doesn't deserve most of the criticism that's been thrown his way.
The unmitigated tongue lashing from some race fans against Morgan is completely superfluous and honestly, illogical. Stop trying to blame the collision on factors that had no barring on what happened.
Morgan Shepherd is a veteran NASCAR racer. He has passed all of NASCAR's required tests in order to drive , he has raced without doing anything eratic for decades now, and is perfectly capable of participating in NASCAR sanctioned events with no malice.
So bottom line here, leave the man alone.