Explained: How Did NASCAR Champ Joey Logano Cheat With Merely A Webbed Glove?

Published 02/27/2024, 3:36 PM EST

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USA Today via Reuters

In a sport as competitive as NASCAR, one is always looking for the slightest advantage they can find over their competitors. The race to innovate has become all the more intense ever since the Next-Gen car came out and it was mandated that all cars would have symmetric bodywork and be purchased from one supplier. However, not all innovations are viewed by the organizers as legal. It almost seems like most of them are considered illegal given the level of scrutiny these days and the latest victim was the 2-time Cup Series champion, Joey Logano.

His crime? Using a different kind of glove. Now, a lot of fans have been left stumped by the decision NASCAR took to drop the Team Penske star to the back of the grid and had a pass-through penalty for the Atlanta race. As per some eminent insiders, there may even be financial implications for the veteran racer. All of that for a pair of gloves? How do they even make the car go faster?

A modified glove provides an aerodynamic advantage


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The answer lies in the complex world of aerodynamics. Aero is a huge part of motor racing anywhere in the world regardless of the series and the types of vehicles being raced. A driver and their team will do everything in their power to make their car aerodynamically more superior to that of the others. Since NASCAR requires all teams to have the same bodywork, competitors have to get innovative and for the #22 team, it was a glove where the index finger and the thumb were webbed together.

During a race, this can be problematic, but in qualifying, it’s quite advantageous. One of the main uncontrollable elements that can slow a race car down is drag from the air. While a stock car is made as streamlined as possible to cut through the air, the window on the driver’s side is a disadvantage. There is a net tightly attached to it for safety purposes, but there are huge holes in it and gaps around it. These let a lot of air in, making the car draggy.

So, what a driver does, especially when they’re on the straight of a huge oval, is use their hand to block some of the air from entering the vehicle. When the index and thumb are webbed together, there is no gap in that area of the hand, which makes it even more effective in reducing drag. It might not seem like a lot, but motorsport is a game of fine margins.

That’s exactly what Joey Logano did during qualifying at the Atlanta Motor Speedway, but just a few hours before the race, NASCAR penalized him and dropped him to the back of the grid. As per a report in Road & Track, a driver’s gloves must meet the SFI 3.3 rating according to rule However, when the former Cup Series champion’s gloves were modified, they failed to meet that requirement and automatically lost that certification.

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Joey Logano was a hot topic of discussion on the recent episode of The Teardown with eminent motor sports journalists Jeff Gluck and Jordan Bianchi. Both insiders were left awe-struck by the innovativeness and believed that the Team Penske man was still not out of trouble with the organizers.

Are more penalties on the horizon for Joey Logano?


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When the topic arose, both Gluck and Bianchi could not help but appreciate the innovation. After all, who would have thought that gloves would give a whole stock car an aerodynamic advantage? Joey Logano had an incredible qualifying session in the Daytona 500 and Clash at the Coliseum. Could it be that the Team Penske star has been using the gloves since the start of the season? Bianchi and Gluck certainly believe so.

“FOX found the clip of it, they showed it right before the race where he’s got the web right there…it helped cause he’s had front-row starts the last 2 weeks. You would assume that he did it this time, he probably did it at the Daytona 500 to get the Daytona 500 pole. Is that an unfair assumption?” Gluck asked.

“I think that’s fair. I think…I would love to know what performance advantage, like how was it enough to get him the pole like is it worth it? Is the juice worth the squeeze?” Bianchi asked in turn. “The margin that he beat Michael McDowell by for the pole at Daytona, that might have been it,” Gluck answered.


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However, things may get worse for Joey Logano, as both insiders believe that NASCAR is not done with the penalties. Sending him to the back of the pack may sound like a just punishment, but things may get a lot worse, financially. At least that’s what Jeff Gluck believes.

“It sounds like there will be some penalty during the week as well because you have 2 concerns here. Number 1 was a competition reason which, from what I understand, the competition reason is being penalized. That’s why he had to go to the back and do a pass-through. The safety part of it, the non-SFI approved, that would be a monetary fine as they have given out in the past,” he said.


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NASCAR’s scrutiny has often been criticized by eminent individuals in the world of motorsports, and Joey Logano may turn out to be another one of them now. It will be intriguing to see how this story develops over the course of the week and if it will have any effect on the weekend’s race in Las Vegas.

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Written by:

Nilavro Ghosh


One take at a time

Nilavro Ghosh is a NASCAR Writer at EssentiallySports, where he is known for his creative yet easy-to-read writing style. Before taking up his role as a sports journalist at ES, Nilavro has written for some of the top publishing houses, like The Telegraph. While most journalists stop at covering live events and taking the news to the readers, Nilavro goes the extra mile to give fans a platform for them to express their thoughts through his 'race reaction' pieces.
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Edited by:

Garima Yadav