Hamlin, Logano moving on after last year’s feud, sparked at Bristol

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The climax of last year’s Joey Logano-Denny Hamlin feud may have taken place in California, but Bristol Motor Speedway was where the feud began.

During the Bristol race, Hamlin bumped Logano (see above) – his former teammate at Joe Gibbs Racing – and sent him spinning out. After the race, an angry Logano confronted Hamlin while he was still in his car, triggering a brief skirmish between the two drivers’ respective crews (pictured).

Of course, we know what happened one week later at Auto Club Speedway. On the final lap, Hamlin and Logano made contact that not only enabled Kyle Busch to go by them for the win but wound up sending Hamlin into the inside retaining wall off Turn 4.

No penalties were issued for the incident, but Hamlin sustained a fractured vertebrae and missed four full races – effectively ending his hopes to make the Chase.

Hamlin and Logano will both be starting up front in tomorrow’s Food City 500 – Hamlin from the pole and Logano from fourth, directly behind Team Penske teammate Brad Keselowski.

That proximity and Bristol’s tight quarters could lead to more fireworks between the two, but going into tomorrow, they’ve both insisted that they’ve been moving on from the incident.

“You can hold grudges all you want, but it’s not going to make you any faster and it’s not going to get you any closer to a championship,” Hamlin said yesterday after winning the pole with a new Bristol track record.

“I’m bitter in ways, and in other ways, it’s been so long ago and there’s so many trials and tribulations between then and now, that I think I’m a better person now and I think I’m a better driver now than I was before.”

Logano echoed Hamlin’s comments while additionally pointing out that the two had to work together on a recent Coca-Cola commercial.

“We did that Coca-Cola Family commercial and all sat in a van for about three hours,” Logano said to reporters. “I felt, by the end of it, we all got along well…You’re supposed to forgive and forget and that goes both ways, so we both knew what we had to do.”

It would seem that time has taken away, if not all, then certainly a bit of the ill feelings between the two. We’ll see if they can race each other hard but clean in tomorrow’s event.

SMP Racing unveils BR1 LMP1 car in Bahrain ahead of WEC entry

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SMP Racing has publicly unveiled its new BR1 LMP1 car that will enter the FIA World Endurance Championship from 2018.

SMP Racing opted to pull out of racing full-time in the WEC for 2017 in order to focus on its preparations for an LMP1 entry the following year, with the decision being taken long in advance of Porsche’s exit announcement.

Officials from the Russian-backed SMP Racing, as well as drivers including recent IndyCar racer Mikhail Aleshin (sporting a broken arm in a sling), Vitaly Petrov and Sergey Sirotkin were all on hand to unveil the car on Friday in the Bahrain International Circuit paddock ahead of this weekend’s WEC finale.

The BR Engineering BR1 features a Dallara chassis and an AER engine, and has completed over 2,000 km in private testing, with further running set to be completed in the coming weeks.

SMP Racing plans to field two cars in the WEC’s LMP1 class next year, and is keen to get as many Russian drivers as possible in the seats from its wide pool of talent.

Even with Porsche’s departure from LMP1, the class is set to feature a bigger field thanks to the increased number of privateers moving up, with Toyota set to remain the sole manufacturer in the class.