I'm convinced Joey Logano is going to be a superstar in NASCAR. But he's going to have a long learning curve before he ever reaches that level.
A good example is what happened in Saturday night's Toyota All-Star Showdown at Irwindale Raceway -- now also known as Toyota Raceway -- in California. By now, I'm sure most of you heard that Logano tried a banzai move on the last lap, taking out Peyton Sellers in the process.
Logano punted Sellers into the wall, while continuing on himself to what appeared to be a victory. To many, it was just a simple racing incident: Logano came in a bit too hot, tried to correct too late and Sellers wound up being in the wrong place at the wrong time.
Others might be of the opinion that Logano did nothing different than what made the late Dale Earnhardt famous: if you were between him and the checkered flag, you were simply an obstacle that had to be overcome.
And if you wouldn't move, Earnhardt would do that for you.
I've watched the replay of the Logano-Sellers incident several times and yes, Joey did overdrive in that situation. Although given that he's coming off the last turn of the track and the checkered flag is visible in the near distance, I can't fault him for doing what he could to earn the win, whether he made a mistake in the process or not.
Maybe he was trying to imitate Carl Edwards' banzai move last fall at Kansas, when Cousin Carl wound up taking the wall rather than the checkered flag.
But it's what Logano did after the race -- or, more precisely, what he didn't do -- that has my ire and that of many other race fans up. Logano and Sellers had a brief round of not exactly friendly words following the race, according to Mike Caudill, Sellers' spokesman who just happened to call into the Press Pass show on Sirius NASCAR Radio Sunday morning, co-hosted by myself and my good buddy, Pete Pistone (a.k.a. "The Boyz from Illinoiz" (misspelling is intentional).
Logano failed to apologize to Sellers after the race, and likewise to Sellers and the fans that attended the race in post-race interviews.
Bad move, Joey. Bad, bad move.
When you make a mistake, man up for it, dude. If you came in too hot, say so. If your car couldn't hold the line and you rode up the track, then explain it that way.
But to not take any blame and wrecking Sellers' car in the process -- an expense that the sparsely-funded team could ill afford -- is not going to make Logano come out of this incident smelling like roses or endear him.
That's why I'm glad NASCAR and several of its officials stepped in and flagged Logano for overaggressive driving, taking away his win and leaving him dead last in the outcome of the 40-car main event field.
If Logano tries to do something similar in the Sprint Cup Series this year, and instead has words with another driver instead of accepting blame and apologizing, someone is going to hand him his lunch in a hurry. God forbid if Logano gets on the wrong side of guys with the hottest tempers in the sport, including former Joe Gibbs Racing teammate and mentor Tony Stewart or Kevin "Put 'em up" Harvick.
Or how about Clint Bowyer or maybe even Robby Gordon? Hell, what if he puts teammates Denny Hamlin or Kyle Busch into the wall if they're fighting for position, let alone a win? The teammate concept will quickly become an every man for himself scenario, much to Logano's chagrin -- and will certainly and quickly wipe that ever-present broad smile off Joey's smiling, boyish face.
Even Coach Gibbs might wish he still had Stewart around, rather than having to deal with two or all three of his stable of young drivers who habitually blame the other guy for some of their own shortcomings.
It's not too late for Logano to learn from Saturday night's debacle. Don't be obstinate or cocky or blame the other guy when it was clearly your fault.
Take the heat, admit you screwed up and a lot more people will respect you than loath you.
If not, Sliced Bread Joey could soon become known as Burnt Toast Logano. Don't say we didn't tell you so, Joey.