By David Morgan, Associate Editor
It wouldn’t be a short track race without drivers being mad at each other at the end of the day and that’s exactly what we got in the closing laps of Sunday’s Supermarket Heroes 500 at Bristol Motor Speedway.
When the final caution flag flew with 10 laps to go, it set up a final five lap mad dash to the finish with Chase Elliott and Joey Logano leading the way.
Logano was already displeased with Elliott prior to the restart with the 2018 NASCAR Cup Series champion running into the back of Elliott’s car under caution, so there would be no love lost between the two as they battled it out for the win.
The restart rolled Elliott’s way as he was able to get a jump on Logano, but the advantage was short lived as Logano was able to take the lead with three laps remaining. The two would make contact down the backstretch, but managed to keep their cars pointed in the right direction as they stormed into Turn 3, with Elliott electing to try the bottom lane, while Logano ran up top.
However, Elliott charged into the corner with such a head of steam that his Chevrolet was unable to maintain traction, causing him to slide up into the track into Logano and putting both of them into the outside wall. While they were able to gather their cars up and finish the race, the win was out the door for both drivers, leading to their disagreement after the race.
Pulling down pit road after the checkered flag flew, Logano, who was credited with a 21st place finish, angrily started removing his helmet, gloves, and HANS device, never taking his eyes off of Elliott, who was parked a few cars behind him. After donning his face mask, Logano walked down to Elliott’s car, with the two drivers having an animated conversation before agreeing to disagree about what had just transpired.
“He wrecked me,” Logano said. “He got loose underneath me. The part that’s frustrating is that afterwards a simple apology — like be a man and come up to someone and say, ‘Hey, my bad.’ But I had to force an apology, which, to me, is childish.
“Anyways, man, we had a good recovery with our Autotrader Mustang and had a shot to win. That’s all you can hope for. I passed him clean. It’s hard racing at the end, I get that. It’s hard racing, but, golly, man, be a man and take the hit when you’re done with it.”
Elliott, who finished in 22nd after winning the first two stages of the race, gave his side of the story, taking the blame for the incident.
“Just going for the win,” Elliott said. “Just trying to get a run underneath him and got really loose in. I don’t know if I had a tire going down or if I just got loose on entry. As soon as I turned off the wall, I had zero chance in making it, so I’ll certainly take the blame…I think I just got loose and got up into him.
“I felt like that was my shot. He was really good on the short run and I felt like I had to keep him behind me right there in order to win the race with three or four laps to go. I hate we both wrecked, but you can’t go back in time now.”