Published March 24, 2013
Tony Stewart’s irritation meter was zooming off the end of the scale in the aftermath of Sunday’s Auto Club 400.
Stewart wasn’t in the race for the win, and he figured the reason for that was Joey Logano, who executed a perfect blocking maneuver to stop Stewart’s progress on the final restart.
A few laps later, Logano crashed with arch-rival Denny Hamlin as they raced for the lead in the final mile. Kyle Busch slipped past to win the race.
As Logano talked with team members after the race, Stewart approached him in an obvious rage and tried to connect with several swings of his fist. They were separated by crew members.
Long after the end of the race, Stewart remained agitated.
He called Logano “a little prick” and “nothing but a little rich kid who has never had to work in his life.”
Stewart said Logano “sent Denny to the hospital and screwed our day up. … He threw a water bottle at me like a little girl.”
Asked after the race why he was mad, Stewart said, “What the hell do you think I was mad about? Dumb little son-of-a-(expletive) runs us clear down to the infield. He wants to (expletive) about everybody else, and he's the one who drives like a little prick. I'm going to bust his ass.”
The incident is likely to result in one or more penalties from NASCAR.
Although the contact with Hamlin put his car into the outside wall, Logano corrected and finished third. Hamlin crashed hard and finished 25th.
Stewart, who possibly would have had a shot at winning if he had made the pass of Logano on the last restart, instead dropped to 22nd.
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.