Joey Logano: The tall guys get a break with Next Gen car

LAS VEGAS, NV - FEBRUARY 21: NASCAR Cup Series driver Joey Logano (22) talks with the media on February 21, 2020 at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway in Las Vegas, NV. (Photo by John Cordes/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Team Penske driver Joey Logano noted significant differences in the driver compartments of NASCAR’s Next Gen car—scheduled to be on track in 2021—compared with the current Gen-6 edition.

Logano tested the Next Gen car at Phoenix and found immediately that he sat lower in the car than in the current version, and that suited the 6-foot-1, 180-pound 2018 NASCAR Cup Series champion just fine.

“It’s no secret,” Logano said on Friday at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, site of Sunday’s Pennzoil 400 (3:30 p.m. ET on FOX, PRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio). “There’s zero advantage of being tall as a race car driver. From the weight aspect or even the safety aspect, you’re higher in the car, your legs are cramped up more. Obviously, you need all the space that’s in the cockpit.

“One of the things when I was in the meetings about the NextGen car that I brought up is that we need to make sure we have enough room in the cockpit for a taller driver. Obviously, it’s important to me, and when I drove that thing at Phoenix, just initially sitting in it, I sit quite a bit lower in that car. I have more headroom to the roll cage, which is really important.  Obviously, we see from last week (Ryan Newman’s accident) why it’s important to have some room up there. I was able to see plenty fine.”

Given his height, Logano thinks it may be a bonus to sit lower in the car.

“That may be the advantage is that I can see a little bit more being taller, but if you’re shorter, you just raise the seat up and you can see as well. Visually, no issues. I think we’re sitting a little bit more toward the center of the car, which is a good thing, and then also being lower, your head is being lowered to what the roll cage is—it’s also a huge positive, so those are all good things.”