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.