It shouldn’t be too big of a stretch. Like Keselowski in Sullivan & Son, Logano appears as himself. From a sneak preview, we learn that Logano is hired as ringer to challenge one of the show’s main characters- billionaire Donald Davenport (Hal Sparks)- in a race called the “Bionic 500.” Unaware of who Logano is, jokes by Davenport ensue about Joey’s youthful appearance, and so it goes from there.
The Penske pair is from the first to make a cameo in a TV series. Robby Gordon once showed up in an episode of Home Improvement, Carl Edwards got to play an agent in 24, Michael Waltrip once saved the day of My Name Is Earl and Jeff Burton once graced the set of General Hospital- just to name a few.
NASCAR is always looking to grow its audience, and there are good ways and bad ways to do that. Some will not become fans no matter what you do, but think about it, this is clever marketing. In a sport that has to be as sponsorship conscious as it is, doing nit like this is welcomed on many leves.
How do most of us becomes NASCAR fans or fans of a particular driver? It starts with a sense of personal connection, if we weren’t born into a motorsports loving family. Even if the driver is playing a fictitious character, we still feel like we have gotten to know the driver a little better.
Jeff Gordon drew new fans to the sport with his cool California persona and made-for-TV looks. He broke the mold. It’s not hard to imagine Generation Xers and younger getting into the mountain biking, dare devilish Edwards. A guy like Keselowski looked at home in a TV show centered in a pub (remember who he drives for?) Helpful is Keselowski’s ability to laugh at himself.
No doubt the youthful Logano will be a draw for the younger set. He’s young, and looks even younger. To hear the cast tell it, they were excited to have him on the show.
You never know what will come out of an appearance like this. On some level, for some of these guys, it’s a diversion from the cares of the racing world. Most drivers will have no illusion of going Hollywood, but it is one more way to get their name and NASCAR out there, and maybe even get people to thinking that perhaps NASCAR is more than they think it is.