Race Weekend Central

Joey Logano Scuffles with Denny Hamlin After Martinsville Top 10: ‘It Wasn’t As Apologetic as I was Looking For’

Joey Logano had a top five going at Martinsville Speedway on Sunday evening (Oct. 27), until a late-race incident put a hiccup in his day.

On lap 457 of the First Data 500, Denny Hamlin was on the inside of Logano, battling inside the top five. Hamlin came up the track, and the two made contact before Logano hit the wall. The contact created a severe tire rub. A lap later, Logano’s tire went down, and he spun the No. 22 to bring out the caution.

“He just kind of came off the corner like there wasn’t another car on the outside of him and ruined our day. A shot at the win for sure,” Logano said. “I don’t really know what happened because once he started hitting me, he didn’t lift, he just kept finishing me off.

“We ran each other fine all day, so I don’t know … He just kind of sends me up there and keeps on going with it. Cut down my tires, and fender rubs everywhere.”

Logano had a slight rebound in the last 30 laps, moving up to finish eighth. But what overshadowed that performance came after Logano got out of the car. He approached Hamlin on pit road, and after a quick conversation, Logano shoved the No. 11 driver. Hamlin slapped away Logano’s hand then chased after the defending Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series before the two drivers’ crews intervened.

“Why’d I shove him? I was mad, I got fenced,” Logano said. “I was frustrated with the situation obviously.

“I really wanted to go over there and talk to him and get his side of the story on what happened. And he just said, ‘I ran you up into the wall,’ basically.”

With Logano being a father, he then thought about the influence race car drivers have on the kids watching.

“It wasn’t as apologetic as I was looking for, and that probably escalated the situation too much. I shouldn’t have shoved him,” Logano said. “For all the kids watching, that wasn’t the best thing to do. I was frustrated, tempers were high and it’s the playoffs, so that’s what happens.”

This incident comes just three weeks after the duo had another disagreement at Dover International Speedway. Then, Hamlin was angry at Logano for racing him so hard while Hamlin was leading and the No. 22 was 24 laps down.

“I don’t think it was necessary — 20 laps to go,” Logano said about the Martinsville incident. “You’re racing for the win and coming off the last corner, alright, I get it. But man, I don’t really understand the situation of why he had to do that.”

Just one year ago, Logano was the one making contact with another car when he did the bump-and-run to beat Hamlin’s Joe Gibbs Racing teammate Martin Truex Jr. for the Martinsville win. When asked if everything was settled between he and Hamlin, Logano said, “sure.”

“Denny’s Denny. He’s a little bit arrogant sometimes,” Logano said. “I should be stronger than to let that get underneath me when he does that. But you know, live and learn.”

Despite the incident, Logano leaves Martinsville above the Championship 4 cut line by 14 points, thanks to the eighth-place finish and top fives in the first two stages. There are two more races in the Round of 8 before the Championship Race at Homestead-Miami Speedway.

“I still needed to grab more points, obviously,” Logano said. “We need to have better days than that, but we weren’t that bad. We ran up in the top five for most of that race. We were close, we were in the hunt, just didn’t get it all at the end.

“How do I move on? I don’t know. I just use my two legs to walk out of here. We’ll think about the next one. Give me a second to digest everything that happened today, and we’ll go to Texas and move on.”


About the author

Michael Massie is a writer for Frontstretch. Massie, a Richmond, Va. native, has been a NASCAR superfan since childhood, when he frequented races at Richmond International Raceway. Massie is a lover of short track racing and travels around to the ones in his region. Outside of motorsports, the Virginia Tech grad can be seen cheering on his beloved Hokies.

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So when will drivers start to get penalized for skipping pit road and driving around the track until they have a decent clearing where they can purposely spin out, cause a caution, keep their 2 laps..get fresh rubber..and start at the tail end of the lead lap.

Watched the race Sunday cause my buddy wanted to turn it on, ask him why, its just going to be follow the leader as the second place car will get too tight to do anything behind the leader. Boy was that exciting to watch. Cole Pearn said it best, what will it take to win this race? Track position. Excellent job by the 19 pit crew for winning this race as the 11 pit crew choked.

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