Mike Joy has just provided some fascinating, new information about a now-famous moment from the Wise Power 400 at Auto Club Speedway on February 27. He revealed how FOX Sports convinced Matt Kenseth to dial-up former NASCAR rival Joey Logano during a live broadcast.
Joy provided the backstory during a Twitter meetup at Circuit of the Americas on March 27. He told fans and media members alike how he and Clint Bowyer “forced” Kenseth to call Logano over the radio after the driver of the No. 22 completed Stage 2. As Joy explained in a video captured by Fronstretch’s Daniel McFadin, Kenseth was adamant that he was not going to be the one to call Logano, but Joy and Bowyer ultimately changed his mind.
“Matt goes, ‘I’m not talking to him,'” Joy explained to the laughing crowd. “Clint goes, ‘like hell you’re not!’ I go, ‘Matt, you’re talking to him. Let’s see how this goes.’ ‘All right. Here’s a voice you never thought you’d hear. It’s Matt Kenseth.'”
Joy took the time to clarify an important part of the story. He confirmed that Logano had responded with, “What’s up, friend” after receiving the call from his former rival. There was a belief among some people on social media that Logano had used a derogatory term in response, but Joy explained that the driver of the No. 22 had used the word “friend” because he knew it would make for a great TV segment.
ALL the latest NASCAR news straight to your inbox! Subscribe to the Heavy on NASCAR newsletter here!
Logano Understands the Bigger Picture
The 2018 Cup Series champion could have easily made some rude comments to Kenseth during the live broadcast. After all, they had their fair share of run-ins on the track during the 2015 playoffs, which boiled over into the 2016 trip to Talladega Superspeedway.
Logano took a different approach and embraced the opportunity to have some fun with Kenseth. The reason, as Joy explained, is that the Cup Series veteran knew that this interaction would be part of a live broadcast going to millions of viewers.
“Joey understands TV better than anyone in the garage here, and he’s good at it,” Joy added. “He played right along. He played right into it. And it was great.”
Logano has shown his TV versatility throughout multiple NASCAR seasons. He is a regular in the Xfinity Series booth, and he has had his fair share of unique moments during races. Many have required him to “go with the flow,” such as the race at Las Vegas Motor Speedway when officials displayed the red flag due to snowfall. He embraced the moment and the opportunity to tease teammate Ryan Blaney about his skills as a meteorologist.
Logano has also been on the receiving end of some teasing, and he has had some fun with it. He showed his lack of knowledge regarding other sports and science fiction franchises during the Pit Boss 250 at Circuit of the Americas, and he took the comments from Adam Alexander and Kurt Busch in stride. This approach only made the broadcast more entertaining than if Logano had bristled at the teasing.
Joy Answered an Important Question About Another Analyst
The back-and-forth between Logano and Kenseth was the key part of the story, but Joy also provided some other important information. He addressed the two-race stretch where Danica Patrick served as a guest analyst.
The veteran play-by-play man said that Patrick was not interested in dialing up a figure from her past during either of her two races in the booth. She wouldn’t call Ricky Stenhouse Jr., the driver she dated for nearly five years.
Bowyer jokingly attempted to make a conversation happen. He asked the producers if they should call Stenhouse after the second stage even though the driver of the No. 47 was only in 18th place at the time. They ultimately did not take him up on the idea, but it was a possibility for a brief moment.