Joey Logano was holding a second-place position in NASCAR’s Sprint Cup event in New Hampshire when his hopes of winning the race got derailed. He got hit from behind and spun out by another driver. Another driver who had been lapped 15 times at that point. Oh, and who is 72 years old.
Suffice it to say that Logano was not pleased, saying afterward, “I feel like there should be a driver’s test before you get out in a Cup car and make sure you know how to drive before you drive one.” He also told TNT, which was broadcasting the race, “Slowest car on the race track took us out, go figure.”
To be clear, Logano wasn’t necessarily saying that Morgan Shepherd was too old to drive, just that his skill level wasn’t up to par. However, given that Shepherd has made 860 Sprint Cup or Nationwide Series starts since 1970 and has won 19 times, it would seem that he at least used to have the skill to compete at the highest level.
Which raises the question: Should any 72-year-old be allowed to compete in a Sprint Cup race?
The sport’s officials seem to think so. From the Associated Press:
NASCAR official Robin Pemberton said as long as Shepherd passed his physical, and his car passed inspection and qualified, he was free to drive.
“He met everything he needed to meet,” said Pemberton, NASCAR’s vice president of competition. “He was above minimum speed. He pulled over to let Joey go by and it’s a responsibility for all competitors. Everybody has a responsibility to lay off each other.
“It’s an accident. Those things happen. It could happen to anybody. It could happen with any competitor.”
For his part, Shepherd dismissed Logano’s complaints.
“Was he the only guy who wrecked?,” Shepherd asked. “That answers that.”
At the moment, NASCAR does not have an age limit. It seems a safe bet that Logano thinks it should.
Note: The race was won by Brad Keselowski, who raked in $306, 998 and one humongous lobster. There may be not be a limit to how much melted butter that sucker’s going to require.