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Joey Logano has ruffled more than a few feathers at the track over the years, but the 2018 NASCAR Cup champion’s reputation off of it has been squeaky clean.
The 29-year-old is one of the sport's top earners and is sponsored by over a dozen mainstream brands including Ford, AAA and Planet Fitness, but is well aware that it can all be gone in the blink of an eye in light of recent mishaps by Kyle Larson.
“You have to realize how fragile your life is,” Logano, wearing a Shell/Pennzoil hat, told Fox News Autos as he held a bottle of Coke during an interview from his home in Charlotte, N.C., representing for two of his biggest backers even as the NASCAR season is suspended.
Larson, who was set to be NASCAR’s hottest free agent at the end of this season -- and was making an estimated $9-$10 million annually, like Logano -- was suspended from NASCAR, dropped by McDonald’s and Credit One, and fired by his Chip Ganassi Racing team after he was overheard making a racial slur while chatting during an online race.
“I hate it for him, but I understand the decisions that everyone had to make after that,” Logano said.
“Words like that are not tolerated in our society, nor is it in our community in the racing world, and this is an example of that.”
Logano is among many NASCAR drivers who have been competing in online races in cars with sponsor logos while the season is on hiatus and said this kind of personal responsibility isn’t just limited to them, but that everyone needs to be aware of their own “brand.”
“Whether you’re a race car driver, or a reporter, or a banker … whatever. Your brand is your reputation, and you wouldn’t ever want to jeopardize that,” he said.
The Team Penske driver has been staying busy in other ways. His wife is expecting their second child in a few weeks and his foundation has set up a $1 million fund to help people suffering issues caused by the coronavirus pandemic. It's partnerned with Elevation Church, of which he is a member, by providing medical supplies, food and other goods to people in Charlotte and other areas the religious organization operates.
“There is the opportunity of just saying ‘I’m not working, I’m not doing anything.' I don’t think that’s the right way,” Logano said.
“The people that continue to stay engaged right now, no matter what that is, is going to pay a big dividend, I believe, once we get back to our normal way of living.”