Published March 17, 2013
RESULTS: Food City 500
POINTS After Food City 500
Joey versus Denny – the saga continues.
Joey Logano and Denny Hamlin, the former Joe Gibbs Racing teammates who have seemed to be on edge with each other much of the year, got into a serious kerfuffle Sunday in the Food City 500 at Bristol Motor Speedway.
Sunday’s activities started with Hamlin bumping Logano into the second turn wall as they battled for second place with 150 laps to go. The rear end of Logano’s Ford was damaged, but his crew made repairs in a series of pit stops and kept his car on the lead lap.
Logano ultimately finished 17th, while Hamlin limped home 23rd after late-race problems.
But the end of the race didn’t end their anxieties. As Kasey Kahne celebrated his first win of the season, Logano marched from his car to Hamlin’s, where he put his head inside the driver’s window and made a comment to Hamlin.
A Hamlin crewman interrupted by pulling Logano away from the car, and they engaged in a brief scuffle as other team members joined the fray.
Logano later refused to talk about what he said to Hamlin, but there were indications on both sides of the dispute that their troubles are not at an end.
“It’s a little disheartening that we all just can’t get along,” said Kyle Busch, Hamlin’s teammate and Logano’s former teammate, with a smile after the race.
Hamlin said Logano told him that “he was coming for me. I usually don’t see him, so it’s usually not a factor.”
Hamlin said Logano slipped up into him on the track.
“Really, he would have been in the garage with no radiator in it if I had not checked up twice,” Hamlin said. “I just, you know, I meant to run into him. I didn't mean to spin him out, but his day was fine.
“He still had a bad day anyway for whatever reason. You know, just, we finished bad and he finished bad. It's even.”
Logano remained angry as he talked about the day.
“I was racing for the lead, and it’s frustrating,” he said. “That’s a freaking genius behind the wheel of the 11 car, probably the worst teammate I ever had, so I learned that now. He decided to run in the back of me, so, whatever.
“I have a scoreboard, and I’m not putting up with that. What goes around comes around.”
Hamlin had complained about how Logano ran with him at Daytona last month, but Logano said he didn’t view Sunday as retaliation. “I think he’s just driving like an idiot, that’s all,” he said.
Later, Logano fired another shot on Twitter: “hey, @dennyhamlin great job protecting that genius brain of yours by keeping your helmet on.”
Mike Hembree is NASCAR Editor for SPEED.com and has been covering motorsports for 31 years. He is a six-time winner of the National Motorsports Press Association Writer of the Year Award.