TALLADEGA, Alabama — Go inside the car and get a sense of what drivers experience in restrictor-plate racing, courtesy of 2015 Daytona winner Joey Logano, who also has won twice at Talladega Superpseedway.
Here’s how Logano explains what it is like to be in the car:
“When you’re up front you never look at where you’re going. You’re constantly looking in the mirror and where that car behind you goes is where you go. It’s kind of like I’ve heard fighter pilots say that when they fly in formation they stare at the one plane. If that plane drives into the ground, they’re all going into the ground together. It’s the same thing. If the car behind me drives into the wall, I’m probably going into the wall with him from in front of him because you’re constantly in the mirror when you’re in the lead.
“You’re listening to the information from your spotter where runs are coming from, how fast they’re coming, and there are times you can’t stop them, but there are times you maybe don’t want to get too far in front of the pack. Are they two or three wide? How tight is the whole pack? In the mirror you can see only a certain amount. You can see a fair amount maybe if you’re in the corner and the way the banking is you can see a couple rows back, but sometimes on the straightaway when they’re tucked up right on you, you can only see that car that’s right there in your mirror.
“You can’t see everything else that’s going on, so the spotter painting a picture is what I call it. Paint me a picture of what’s going on really helps me make the decisions on the race track as the leader and when you’re behind a car you’ve got to do both.
“So now you’re trying to pass the guy in front of you, so you’re watching where he’s at, but you’ve also got to make the decision on what’s going on behind you and what lane you want to pick, and also understanding who that person is.
“There are some drivers that will push and push, push, push until they get up front and then they’ll try to pass you, and then there are other drivers that will try to slip you any chance they can to put themselves in a better position to get to the lead.
“Understanding who those people are and when they’re gonna do it and when those runs are coming are the most important things to think of while you’re doing this at 200 miles an hour. It’s not boring (laughing). There are a lot of things going on that you’re trying to process at a really quick rate.”