The Underdog Wins in the End

We love underdogs.

The storylines they provide, the drama they cause, the situations they find themselves in, and the resolve to defeat the challenge in front of them. The NASCAR playoffs gave us one to root for in Joey Logano. He said it himself, “it’s the Big 3 and me.” With the odds stacked against him, he came out of Homestead-Miami the 2018 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Champion.

I am surprised at the disappointment and anger toward the newly crowned champ. Was he the most dominate car all season? No. Did he win the most races? No. Was he consistent enough to be there when it mattered? Yes and that is what won him this championship.

The Big 3 and their dominance was incredible as they won 20 out of the 36 races combined. They led 4,470 laps which are 44.1 percent of all laps this season, collected 12 pole positions, 35 stage wins, 78 top-tens and one of these drivers was always in contention at the end of the race, if not all three.  They left scraps for the rest of the field to eat on.

This place is where Joey Logano fed his belly. He collected three wins, led 934 laps, only one pole position, but with 5 stage wins and 26 top-ten finishes, you could say he was the fourth-best driver all season long. If you look at these stats on a list, he was best of the rest in many categories. It was easy to forget about him due to the media blindness that the Big 3 demanded, but he was there, lurking in the shadows, taking what the race would give him and maximizing his point potential.

But among the congratulations, the loudest voices seem to be those of haters. Not disappointment because their driver lost but hated because they believe the true champion didn’t win because of this current playoff system. My question to those haters is, who was suppose to be the champion? Is it Harvick with his Ford Dominance? Busch for matching Harvick’s wins stride for stride? Truex Jr for being consistent? Stats say Harvick, but points say, Busch.

An article on racingnews.co by Shane Walters calculated this very thing. He figured the season points without the playoff system. One list was with playoff points, and one was without playoff points. Penalties were included to get the most accurate figures possible. I will leave the link here.

https://racingnews.co/2018/11/20/2018-nascar-points-without-the-playoffs/

Notice who is in the top-4? Joey Logano. It confirms to me that he deserved to be in the position he was in Sunday night. The beauty of this playoff system is that it is still about getting points and collecting wins. It is about getting to that Final 4. To race those who are battling you for a championship, and beating them. Logano did just that.

His win is legitimate. He is the 2018 champion.

Scott Masom

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