By David Morgan, Associate Editor
Denny Hamlin and Joey Logano have had their fair share of run-ins both on-track and off over the years and Sunday at Martinsville Speedway, the tension between the two flared back up.
Both drivers had a decent day going with the two running in the top-10 as the laps were winding down in the first race of the Round of 8 in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs. Then as they were running side-by-side with about 50 laps to go, Hamlin ran wide off Turn 4, pushing Logano into the wall.
Hamlin was able to continue on without further issues and finished fourth, but the damage caused by impact with Hamlin’s car and the wall eventually cut Logano’s tire down and sent him for a spin in Turn 1 on lap 460.
Logano would battle back to finish eighth, but the run-in he had with Hamlin on track led the Team Penske driver to confront him after the race to find out what happened between the two.
A civil conversation followed with both drivers expressing their point of view on the incident, but as the two were getting ready to walk away, Logano reached out and pushed Hamlin in the shoulder, leading to Hamlin going back after him. From there, the chaos ensued with crew members from both teams getting involved in the fracas along with the drivers.
The scuffle was eventually broken up, with Hamlin getting thrown to the ground at one point. Everyone went their separate ways, but the NASCAR powers that be were not amused, calling a handful of crew members to the hauler for a discussion about what had just transpired.
— NASCAR (@NASCAR) October 27, 2019
When NBC caught up with Hamlin, he seemed to be amused about everything that had just taken place, explaining what happened with a smile on his face.
“We were having a discussion and everything was civil and then like Joey (Logano) does, he gives a little push and runs away,” Hamlin said. “That’s Joey. I mean he said ‘you want to go?’ I said ‘yes, I’m here,’ but then he runs away.”
“I got close off of Turn 4 and it looks like we got together and it looks like collateral damage. He blew a tire.”
Hamlin ended the interview by squinting his eyes and giving his best Logano impression, saying: “I mean, he would probably say ‘That’s short track racing!’”
After Hamlin gave his side of the story, Logano threw in his two cents about the extracurricular activities between the two drivers.
“I got fenced down the straightaway and just went to talk about it,” Logano said. “I was a little frustrated by the situation and I went down to talk to him and didn’t really get the answers I was looking for.
“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 in the wall, basically.’ He 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 are high. It’s the Playoffs, so that’s what happens.”
Logano added that the reaction he got out of Hamlin isn’t surprising, given the two have had plenty of run-ins in the past.
“Denny is Denny. He’s a little bit arrogant sometimes and I should be stronger than let that get underneath me when he does that.”
Heading to next weekend’s race at Texas, Hamlin sits second in points, 24 points ahead of the cut-off line, with Logano in the fourth and final transfer spot with a 14-point advantage.