'These guys get hit a lot harder than a race car does.'
Joey Logano knows what it’s like to take a hit. But that likely wouldn’t translate to a hit on the gridiron.
Logano, 24, was in Detroit Tuesday to promote the June 15 Quicken Loans 400 NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Michigan International Speedway.
In a visit to the Detroit Lions’ practice Tuesday, Logano, who drives a Ford Fusion for team owner Roger Penske, said he prefers taking hits on the racetrack to those on the football field.
“I’m glad I’m in a race car,” Logano said, laughing. “These guys get hit a lot harder than a race car does. Obviously, we take some big hits in cars, but the safety in our sport has improved a lot. Look at the seats, the helmets, the belts – it always keeps improving.
“We may look crazy going 200 miles an hour in thinking that, but I’d much rather hit a wall at 200 than have a 300-pound linebacker coming at me.”
Detroit Lions running back Reggie Bush is an auto racing fan and attended the Formula 1 Grand Prix of Monaco in Monte Carlo two weeks ago.
But Bush isn’t sure what he’d rather do: crash on a racetrack or get tackled.
“That’s crazy,” Bush said, laughing. “I don’t know too many people who’d agree to that.”
Bush has an appreciation for the skill level drivers have, especially those in NASCAR.
“I respect them a lot,” he said. “It’s a completely different sport from what we do, but it’s not easy by any means. They’re driving 200 miles an hour plus, and that’s pretty scary when you think about it. A car crash can be life threatening for those guys. The margin for error is probably very slim.”
Logano met most of the Detroit Lions players and new head Coach Jim Caldwell, and even played catch with starting quarterback Matthew Stafford. Logano’s left-handed delivery was “pretty good,” Stafford added.
Logano saw similarities between his job and Stafford’s.
“The quarterback’s the driver,” he said. “To able to talk to him, kind of the stuff he goes through – how they prepare for each event is really interesting. They might not have as many games as we do races, but they prepare a lot.”
Logano, whose NASCAR season takes place pretty much every weekend from February through most of November, doesn’t get to watch as much professional football as he would like. But he tries to keep up with the NFL.
“I recognize a few of the Lions,” Logano said. “I don’t follow the game as closely as I want. Really, it’s like any other professional sport. To make it to this level, you are the best of the best. I can imagine what that jump is from college to the NFL. It’s the same for us – from the Nationwide to the Sprint Cup.”
Logano holds the track qualifying record at Michigan International Speedway, NASCAR’s fastest racetrack – more than 203.949 mph, the ninth fastest pole speed ever recorded in NASCAR.
He said he’s looking forward to returning to Michigan International Speedway next weekend for the Quicken Loans 400. He won the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race last August.
“I really like racing at Michigan,” he said. “It’s a wide, sweeping racetrack, really smooth and fast, which makes it a fun racetrack to drive on. The fans in Michigan are so passionate about the sport and I look forward to seeing all the Ford fans there.”
Tickets and camping are available for the Quicken Loans 400 on June 15. Tickets are also on sale for the ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards on June 13 and the NASCAR Nationwide Series on June 14. Call 800-354-1010 or visit MISpeedway.com.
Michigan International Speedway