NASCAR is only five races into its 2013 Sprint Cup Series season but for the third consecutive year, the driver of Penske Racing’s No. 22 Shell-sponsored entry is in the headlines for all the wrong reasons.
The last two years have seen Kurt Busch enter hot water with Penske after a verbal confrontation ahead of an interview with ESPN pit reporter Jerry Punch at Homestead, then last year AJ Allmendinger had his contract terminated for failing a random drug test ahead of the July race at Daytona International Speedway.
Now, Joey Logano is the latest to enter the controversy sweepstakes. His contact with Denny Hamlin at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, Calif. on Sunday left Hamlin hospitalized with a vertebrae fracture and drew the ire – and fists – of an irate Tony Stewart in post-race.
Still, Logano’s team boss Roger Penske told USA Today Sports he’ll back his driver regardless of the situation.
“I’m 150% behind my driver, and I think he’s a real star on the team,” Penske said.
Stewart said of Logano in the same story, “It’s time he learns a lesson. He’s run his mouth long enough and done this double standard, but he’s nothing but a little rich kid who has never had to work in his life.”