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What Harvick retirement means for Joey Logano as leader in garage

AVONDALE, Ariz. — During his retirement press conference, Kevin Harvick had high remarks for Joey Logano as a leading veteran voice in the NASCAR Cup Series garage.

“I think guys like Joey Logano are gonna be great leaders, they already are,” Harvick said. “You see some of the younger guys start speaking up in the meetings. I can’t wait to be a part of those meetings as we go forward and listen to it evolve and grow.” 

When asked about Harvick’s comments from Friday, Logano was thrilled to receive such admiration from a previous rival. 

“That’s cool he said that,” Logano said. “You know, somebody’s gotta step up and speak their peace for everybody. Usually, the guys who have been around for a long time, we’re the ones who did that. They’ve seen it, they’ve done it.” 

While 33 years old doesn’t make Logano old, he has been racing full-time in the Cup Series since 2009.

For reference, the longest current-tenured Cup Series driver is Kyle Busch. Busch first went Cup racing full-time in 2005. 

At Pocono in 2010, Logano tangled with Harvick and said his wife “wore the fire suit in the family and tells him what to do.”

Years later, the incident generated laughs and shirts saying, “I wear the fire suit in the family,” which did $12,000 in sales – all donated to Logano’s charity.

Like Harvick, for much of his career, Logano is outspoken. He believes in it to give people the ultimate perspective no one else has.

“Nobody knows what it’s like to be inside the car, to talk to the media like today, to talk to our fans out there and work on the race team and see it from that perspective. Media can’t do that. Car owners can’t do that. Crew chiefs can’t do that. Drivers see everything. It’s important that we put in our two cents on all of it to try and make it better,” Logano said.

“Ultimately, how can we make this sport better for the next generation? To me, that’s what true champions do.” 

The two-time Cup Series champion pointed to a driver who, while he didn’t win a Cup Series championship, has championed what it means to have constructive dialogue.

“I don’t need to be out in the media airing dirty laundry at any point. But, I think it’s important for us to talk,” Logano said. “I think these meetings like we just had are very helpful. We didn’t have that before. The stuff that Jeff Burton has been able to put together. There’s a true champion of the sport. To be able to put as much effort as he’s put into this, he’s put more effort in than any of us.” 

Jeff Burton will be in the booth as Joey Logano will race in the Season Finale 500 NASCAR Cup Series Championship race Sunday.

While he cannot win the title Sunday, he will do his best to help Penske teammate Ryan Blaney capture his first career NASCAR Cup Series title, starting with the green flag just after 3 p.m. EST.

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