Last year, Denny Hamlin and Joey Logano got involved in a bit of a tangle. When the race concluded, the two aggrieved drivers went to confront each other. Initially, things looked fairly civil, but it took just half a minute to turn ugly really fast.
What sparked the confrontation was some late-race contact, courtesy a tire rub, and Logano spinning off. Their post-race chat didn’t reach a conclusion, but then Logano made a huge mistake. As he walked away, Logano ‘playfully’ smacked Hamlin’s right shoulder.
However, Denny Hamlin saw it as anything but playful and promptly lunged at Logano. He probably would have mauled him, had crew members not intervened.
“I was frustrated about the situation obviously,” said Logano,. “I just really wanted to go over there to talk to him and get his side of the story on what happened, and he just said ‘I ran you up in the wall’ basically. It wasn’t as apologetic as I was looking for, and that probably escalated the situation too much. I shouldn’t have shoved him. For all the kids watching, that wasn’t the best thing to do. But I was frustrated, tempers were high and it’s the playoffs, so that’s what happens.”
The pole-sitter said, “I got closed off at Turn 4. Looks like we got together, it looks like collateral damage, he blew a tire. [Mockingly] He’d probably say ‘Short-track racing’.”
At the time of the incident, the two were squabbling in the top five. Apparently, the Joe Gibbs Racing #11 Toyota drifted into the side of Logano’s #22 and squeezed him into the outside wall. Owing to this, Logano spun when his tires burst, thus forcing a caution period. Fortunately, Logano was still on the lead lap, thus was able to mount a comeback and salvage a top 10.
Interestingly, this isn’t the first time the two have had a coming together in 2019. At the Dover International Speedway, Hamlin called Logano “an idiot” for his aggressive racing, though he took back those comments. There were also incidents at Bristol and at the Auto Club Speedway in the 2013 season. The last one at Auto Club forced Hamlin to miss four races courtesy of a compression fracture in his back.
Now, Denny Hamlin and Joey Logano are set to return to the same track once again. This time, Hamlin is under pressure to reach the playoffs, while Logano can rest easy.