Nick's own words, in recorded jailhouse conversations, sometimes reinforced that impression.
The Pinellas County Jail complied with a public records request and released 36 hours of recordings of conversations between Nick and his parents. The family knew their calls were being recorded, but not that they'd be released to the media.
On the tapes, Nick can be heard asking his father to line up a new reality show for him to star in when he gets out of jail -- "I want to do it where I'll make the most money," he said.
"A lot of what was said on those tapes [was] recorded in the most challenging times of my entire life," Nick tries to explain. "I was in the middle of really, really going to the deepest depths of mental insanity being in solitary confinement."
He now admits, "It was arrogant and it was completely disregarding the magnitude of the situation."
The jail term now two years behind him, Nick Hogan is trying to look forward. He's given up auto racing, at least for now, and is developing his talents as a music DJ.
He has also started a non-profit group called Keep It on the Track, dedicated to stopping street-racing and teaching young people about safe driving habits and the importance of wearing seat-belts.
He remains close to both his parents, despite their somewhat scandalous divorce last year.
Nick Hogan says even if they're dysfunctional, they're his family, and they still love each other.
"That's one of the blessings I have, is my family. Above everything, my family has always been there for me and I will always be there for my family to return the favor."