Tom Bowles
Tuesday June 8th, 2010

We've all witnessed those uncomfortable parental moments we try to ignore, yet can't look away from. It could be a goody two-shoes whose mom yelled at him for staying out past 8 PM -- even when he turned 18 without so much as a high school detention on his record. Or it's at your son's Little League game, where a dad gets up and argues balls and strikes with the ref in the second inning of a matchup his child is winning. Or perhaps it's happened in your own life, your parents dropping you off for college only to stop by unannounced five times the next month "just to see how you're doing."

There's overprotective ... and then there's a refusal to let go. Sunday, what we saw was Tom Logano's love for his son boiling over into controlling the outcome of someone else's dreams. Getting involved in the post-race fracas between son Joey and Kevin Harvick, he's accused of pushing a TV reporter and getting involved in a melee that had nothing to do with him. Whether Tom was trying to instigate or stop the fracas is irrelevant; it's the fact he even put himself out there at all.

Sure, as a parent you're going to feel badly when something goes wrong on-track for your son. Logano's incident with Harvick ruined a good finish for the No. 20 car while letting the point leader get away with murder, the latest in a long line of disrespectful incidents leaving the 20-year-old ready to punch back. But it's one thing to feel their pain, and another to jump in the middle. Whenever Kobe Bryant gets elbowed, you don't see his dad climb down from the stands and slam tackle the forward who did it, right? Or how about when Donovan McNabb gets sacked? Does his mom take that Campbell's soup she's making, run down from the stands and throw it in the linebacker's face?

The answers, of course, are absolutely not. And while you can appreciate Tom Logano's passion for his son, I have a hard time seeing any difference between those incidents, as do NASCAR officials. After already getting his hard card pulled once last season, Tom's most recent bad behavior turned into a clear message from the principal's office: three strikes and you're out.

It's a hard-line stance that leaves Joey's dad with no choice but to respect their decision. Now, if only he could step back and do the same for his son.

What do you think of the whole father/son squabble? We'll start there in another jam-packed mailbag. As always, don't get mad if you don't get picked, just keep writing: tbowles81@yahoo.com and Twitter @NASCARBowles are the way to go.

Let's begin...

It's time for Father Logano to sit in the stands. This is the big leagues.

-- @Pearlagogo

That seems to be the overwhelming opinion of the fan email and responses I've received. What's funny is that father and son went in two opposite directions. Joey's antics after the race seemed to win over a ton of new fans, the first time his real personality shined through after years of being pre-programmed as NASCAR's politically correct new star (didn't they learn from Jimmie Johnson?) Compare that with his father, who's reached a special pantheon of public parental disgust that is enough to rival Lindsay Lohan's father. Yet, he has his fair share of defenders...

I thought Tom was trying to keep Joey away and Joey DID stand up to him.

-- @JayJayDean

If Tom was doing the admirable thing, trying to keep his son out of a fight, that still doesn't excuse his presence. It's one thing to protect your child from a sixth-grade bully, but his son is 20 going on 21. I think at this point, Joey doesn't need daddy standing beside him to fight his battles.

"Thanks, dad, but stay out of it" is my opinion. Maybe Coach Gibbs will help.

-- @DRLDeBoer

Not likely on the Gibbs point, DRL. I asked Gibbs on Sunday about it, and he's adamant that he'd rather rely on the individual support system surrounding each driver, which for Joey includes former NASCAR Nationwide star Mike McLaughlin, crew chief Greg Zipadelli (a 12-year veteran who's become like a second father), and business manager Joey Civali. But when it comes to dealing directly with his dad, that's a conversation reserved solely for Joey alone. It's the type we don't report on, a private talk behind closed doors that's part of the growing pains of redefining a family when children turn into adults.

Let's hope Joey realizes that, taking the high road one more time while standing up to the man who's helped nurture his career the most. He wouldn't be here if not for his father, but now, it's time to say the next steps must be taken alone. That's never easy.

Good luck to him.

Good for Logano! It's time to man up!

-- @LP2HLYWD

Agreed. My take on the incident is that Harvick could have lifted, but didn't because he knew he could get away with knocking the kid around a bit. Between him, Greg Biffle and a handful of other veterans, they're taking advantage of a mild-mannered sophomore whose role model is Mark Martin and motto is "take the high road." You know the old saying ... give someone an inch, and they'll take a mile. As I said in Five Points Sunday, the only way Joey was going to make the madness stop was by actually standing up for himself. Sometimes, even the pacifists are faced with no choice but to fight, and I'm glad Logano did something before things got any worse.

Let's move on.

Do you think there's anyway NASCAR considers a point structure more in line with Formula 1, where only the top 10 drivers get points, with added emphasis on winning the race? I like watching NASCAR, but I feel like F1 has a better points system. Maybe that's where NASCAR is losing people. How can a driver have over 5000 points at season's end? Last year, F1 champion Jenson Button didn't even have 100 points. Perhaps NASCAR should look into this idea.

-- Blake, Buford, Ga.

Just for kicks, let's take a look at Blake's idea and how it would play out after 14 races in NASCAR. F1's system is heavily centered around winning, with a 25-18-15-12-10-8-6-4-2-1 system for the top-10 finishers only. Turns out we'd have a barnburner on our hands, as we look at the top 15 (their position in the current Cup standings is in BOLD):

1. Denny Hamlin 124 (3rd)

2. Jimmie Johnson 121 (6th)

3. Kevin Harvick 117 (1st)

4. Kyle Busch 112 (2nd)

5. Kurt Busch 104 (5th)

6. Jeff Gordon 86 (7th)

7. Jamie McMurray 83 (18th)

8. Matt Kenseth 72 (4th)

9. Mark Martin 66 (11th)

10. Jeff Burton 55 (8th)

11. Ryan Newman 45 (14th)

12. Juan Pablo Montoya 44 (20th)

13. Tony Stewart 43 (13th)

14. Clint Bowyer 42 (12th)

15. Joey Logano 38 (17th)

It's easy to see plenty of movement between the two systems. Like Blake said, winning is rewarded, with McMurray's Daytona 500 triumph leaving him in championship contention under the F1 system instead of being on the fringes of even making the Chase in the real one. Teammate Juan Pablo Montoya is also given a break, his four DNFs forgiven, with more weight given to top-5 finishes that would put him solidly inside the top 12.

But perhaps the most important thing is how easy it would be to move up or down in this system. Right now, in the "real world" Kyle Busch trails Kevin Harvick by 19, with Denny Hamlin 160 back in third and having a near-zero chance of inheriting the point lead in just one race. Compare that to the F1 system, where any one of five drivers could take the lead with a win at Michigan Sunday. Further back, the race for the Chase would be even better, as all it would take is two wins the next two weeks to put you solidly inside the top 12 -- even if you didn't have a single point scored these first four months.

The bottom line is NASCAR's point system could use a major revision. Maybe the F1 style is not the perfect answer, but it showcases how the current one struggles to generate anywhere close to the same type of year-long excitement.

And finally, the typical "out of left field" comment of the week...

"Wreck-o-rama" Sam Hornish... how about "no clue about auto racing writer-o-rama?" Yeah, now that one I like!

-- CC, Wilmington, Del.

Eh, I don't know about that, CC. Seems like a little long for me. By the time you finish speaking it, you might miss something on the racetrack ... like Hornish hitting the wall.

In all seriousness, kudos to the Penske Racing driver for what might be his best performance in stock cars Sunday. Holding the lead for 16 laps, he nearly stole a Pocono win under our noses, putting off talk of a possible IndyCar return for at least a couple of weeks. Now, if he wants to stay in NASCAR it's time to build on this momentum, because in the long run 11th just won't cut it.

"Well, after his TV comment I don't know if he wants to fight me or @delanaharvick... my money's on her!" - @KevinHarvick, responding to @scottspeed over comments Joey Logano made after the race about wife Delana wearing a firesuit on pit road. The Harvicks have since designed a way to poke fun at Logano while raising money for charity; on Tuesday, they announced that for $15, you can purchase a shirt that says, "I wear the firesuit in my family," with husband Kevin's red "Happy" logo underneath. All proceeds will go to the Kevin Harvick Foundation that works to benefit the Victory Junction Gang Camp.

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