Matt Kenseth and Joey Logano: Payoffs and Consequences

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Matt Kenseth and Joey Logano learned Sunday at Kansas that life is the outcome of the choices you make. As you make those choices- and weigh the pros and cons- you may find that no matter what you choose, there payoffs and consequences.

Between his youthfulness and his “aw shucks” persona, Logano was a target early in his career. He received the hollow payback of being “likable,” but the consequences were the youngster being on the receiving end of Kevin Harvick’s fender, to name one example.

That ended at Auto Club Speedway, when Logano sent Hamlin careening into the wall. The payoff from that choice, and the choice he made to punt Matt Kenseth at Kansas Sunday is knowing that if you are in Joey’s way, you have to at least consider he will dump you.

Matt Kenseth had some choices of his own. Don’t think for a moment he hadn’t weighed it out. He chose to block Logano, no doubt knowing full well that the 22 might shove him. Don’t you think that at some point, Kenseth was thinking, “I’ve never wrecked him before. Surely, he won’t lay his nose on me.” Perhaps he also calculated that Logano had already punched his ticket for the next dance, that he might just not take that risk. For his choice, Kenseth gets sympathy from a number of fans for the incident, but sympathy doesn’t get you points in the Chase.

For Logano, he gets his second straight win. You can also argue that Logano has also achieved a victory in the psychological warfare of racing in that anyone else blocking will face a similar fate to Kenseth. The consequence is that a driver that has already irked a number of other competitors sees his popularity take another hit. There’s also the threat of payback from any number of sources. Don’t think for a New York minute that this calculus has entered the mind of a Kevin Harvick. “So that’s how he races, huh? OK; we already have a history, so you’ll get yours if I feel the need.”

Both Matt Kenseth and Joey Logano know full well the payoffs and consequences for what happened Sunday. For my part, I don’t blame either one for what they chose. If I’m Kenseth, I block Logano, aware it could cost me. If I’m Logano, I’m thinking, “you’re blocking me, and I’m not going to let this go. I’m racing for a championship, and you’re in my way.” I realize I may greatly upset my opponent, and I may lose in the court of public opinion. If I’m truly thinking I could win a championship, I might just think consequences be damned.

It remains to be seen if there’s the payoff of winning the Chase, or the consequence of losing a few fans who really didn’t like me that much anyway or a chrome horn in return. It’s worked out both ways.

One thing’s for sure: you may love him, you may hate him, but you know the name Joey Logano, and you know he’s looking for wins, not friends.