Who would have thought that through five races Joey Logano would be at the center of controversy. Two weeks in a row, contact with Denny Hamlin has shown that the former teammates were not the best of friends. Now after the wild finish at Fontana, Logano has another driver looking to settle a score, Tony Stewart.
It all began during the last restart when Logano blocked Stewart’s attempt for the lead. Stewart didn’t take too kindly to the block, despite doing the same last October with worse results. Stewart has already threated to take action versus anyone who dares block him, so I guess Logano should have known what he was getting into.
Beyond that, listening to Stewart’s take on what happened seems to indicate that he’s wanted a piece of Logano for awhile now.
“Well, Joey (Logano) spun the tires on the restart. Everybody had trouble with that so, but it’s not my fault that he spun the tires. For a guy that has been complaining about how everybody else is driving here and then (for) him to do that it’s a double standard. He makes the choice. He makes the decision to run us down there and when you run a driver down there then you take responsibility for what happens after that. He is a tough guy on pit road as soon as one of his crew guys gets in the middle of it. Until then he’s a scared little kid. Then he wants to sit there and throw a water bottle at me. He is going to learn a lesson. He can run his mouth on Twitter and stuff all he wants tonight. I’ve got plenty of people that are going to watch for that. It’s time he learns a lesson. He’s run his mouth long enough. He has sat there and done this double standard and he’s nothing but a little rich kid that has never had to work in his life. He’s going to learn with us working guys that had to work our way up how it works,” Stewart told reporters after the race.
Logano tried to play it off as a move for the win after the race.
“I had to throw the block there. That was a race for the lead. I felt if the 14 got underneath me, that was going to be the end of my opportunity to win the race, so I was just trying to protect the spot I had. I was actually pedaling, because I couldn’t keep the 18 aligned. I was actually faster than the 18 getting our tires hooked up. And then I’m trying to stagger myself making sure I don’t beat him to the line and then I had to block the 14 because I was pedaling it. I’ll talk to him and we’ll see what happens. I think he finished decent. We’ll just talk about it some more,” Logano told reporters.
Stewart is definitely not buying what Logano is selling.
“He still takes the responsibility on himself. He has that right. He has the choice to do that. He’s in control of his car. But if he ever turns down across in front of me again, I don’t care what lap it is, he won’t make it through the other end of it. If I didn’t hit the chip, he wouldn’t have made it through Turn 1 to begin with. I’m tired of these guys doing that stuff; especially out of a kid that’s been griping about everybody else, and then he does that the next week. I mean he’s sent Denny (Hamlin) to the hospital and screwed our day up. He’s talked the talk, but he hasn’t walked the walk yet. He’s always got his crew guys walking the walk for him,” continued Stewart.
Logano was persistent that it was just a racing deal between him and Stewart. His move was a product of trying to stay with Kyle Busch, the eventual winner, than blocking Stewart.
“I had to throw the block there. That was a race for the lead. I felt if the 14 got underneath me, that was going to be the end of my opportunity to win the race, so I was just trying to protect the spot I had. I was actually pedaling, because I couldn’t keep the 18 aligned. I was actually faster than the 18 getting our tires hooked up. And then I’m trying to stagger myself making sure I don’t beat him to the line and then I had to block the 14 because I was pedaling it. I’ll talk to him and we’ll see what happens. I think he finished decent. We’ll just talk about it some more,” explain Logano.
I’m not too sure talking it out is going to work with the man they call Smoke. When asked if he would field a call from Logano during the week, Stewart had this to say: “Hell no. If he wants to talk about it, we’ll talk about it. After he threw the water bottle at me like a little girl, we’ll go at it now.”
The Sprint Cup Series is off next weekend, but it will return at a perfect place for action, the Martinsville Speedway. This beating and banging half mile will provide each driver with ample opportunities to either settle this feud or add fuel to the fire. I just caution Logano that where there is Smoke, there’s fire.