At one point, as Joey Logano served a full-practice penalty in his car on pit road, his pregnant wife Brittany approached the car.
She leaned over the pit wall and put her hand up to the window net, which was within reach. Her husband did the same from inside the car.
“She was laughing (and said it) was like I was in jail, you know?” the driver said afterward. “I said, ‘It’s kind of like that, actually.'”
Logano said he had “time for a lot of thoughts in there” during his 50-minute penalty for failing pre-qualifying inspection four times on Friday — “mainly that it’s a total joke.”
NASCAR requires drivers serve their “practice hold” penalty in the car on pit road, buckled into the car with full safety equipment — and several other drivers had 15- or 30-minute punishments on Saturday.
But a driver had never missed the entirety of final practice before this. It made it look like Logano was serving a time out with a virtual dunce cap on his head as the other cars drove by.
And maybe that’s the point. NASCAR has ratcheted up the penalties as teams continue to mess around in inspection and not present their cars that are within the rules from the start.
But this penalty in particular seemed absurd because it wasn’t just a chunk of practice — it was all of it. So Logano just sat there and never turned a lap.
“I just think it makes the sport look dumb,” Logano said. “It’s kind of a joke. I don’t get it, personally. I think we can accomplish the same thing in a more professional manner.”
Logano said he understood the reason for a penalty, but said there was “no reason to sit out there.”
“Keep us in (the garage) or something,” he said.
“But coming from the guy who just sat in the car for an hour, sweating, it might not be the best thing to say,” he said.
Logano said he wasn’t too uncomfortable in the car — he ran his helmet fan and had several bottles of water — but wished he could have done something more productive with his time.
“I would have signed autographs or something,” he said of the fans milling near pit road. “I had nothing better to do. I was looking to get something out of it.”
But Kurt Culbert, NASCAR managing director of integrated marketing and communications, tweeted the penalty was fitting of the infraction.
Don’t do the crime if you can’t pay the fine. Simple logic here. EVERYONE knows the rules on this one. https://t.co/h24lBVUv5S
— Kurt Culbert (@KurtCulbert) September 23, 2017