Feelings Are Hurt, But Playoff Hopes Aren’t

Joey Logano

Joey Logano had hoped to settle his differences with Denny Hamlin with a conversation.

Instead, the discussion turned physical, as Hamlin and Logano—and their respective crews—battled briefly on pit road after Sunday’s First Data 500 at Martinsville Speedway.

On Lap 458 of 500, Hamlin and Logano were racing side-by-side off Turn 4. Their cars made contact, and Logano’s Ford bounced into the outside wall. With a cut tire, Logano spun in Turn 1, bringing out the 10th caution on Lap 459.

Hamlin finished fourth, and Logano recovered to run seventh, but Logano approached Hamlin to talk about the incident on pit road. A conversation that started civilly degenerated when Logano pushed Hamlin lightly on the shoulder and then stepped away.

Hamlin took offense and started after Logano. Todd Gordon, Logano’s crew chief, stepped between the drivers, shouting “Stop, stop, stop!” Another of Logano’s crewmen pulled Hamlin down to the pavement from behind, and a Hamlin crew member jumped into the fray.

After a NASCAR official prevented the drivers from renewing the conflict, the sides separated.

“We were having a discussion, everything was civil, and then, like Joey does, he does a little push and then runs away,” Hamlin said. “I got close off Turn 4. It looks like we got together, and it looks like collateral damage.

“He blew a tire. I mean, he would probably say, ‘Oh, short-track racing.’”

Though Logano salvaged a top-10 finish, he was still unhappy after the race.

“Yeah, I just wanted to talk to him about it and was pretty frustrated,” Logano said. “He just came off the corner like there wasn’t another car on the outside of him and ruined our day… We probably weren’t going to beat the 19 (race winner Martin Truex Jr.), but we had a top five for sure coming our way.

“…Maybe I shouldn’t have shoved him at the end. It may have escalated it a little bit more. It’s frustrating—there’s a lot of passion out there.”

TIL NEXT TIME, I AM STILL WORKING ON MY REDNECK!

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