Dover was a contributing factor; Hamlin says the same crew member that threw him to the ground is the same guy that intensifies prior altercations
Here’s what Denny Hamlin said about the Joey Logano altercation ahead of the race weekend at Texas Motor Speedway
On October 6, Denny Hamlin was leading at Dover International Speedway. Earlier in the race, Logano lost an axle on the pace laps.
As Hamlin led, Logano was 24 laps down. However, he was still racing the leaders hard.
As Hamlin was informed of Logano’s lap down count during the race he was frustrated. After the race, Logano said that he needed to make up every position he could.
“Make a position? He’s 24 laps down,” Hamlin said. “That’s the most idiotic statement I’ve ever heard. We’re battling for the end of the stage, it’s not your day, you had bad luck, we get it but what, why?”
Last week, the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series rolled into Martinsville Speedway. The smallest track on the NASCAR schedule has a way of settling scores.
According to Hamlin, that wasn’t what happened here. But, it did play a factor.
Denny Hamlin says Dover was a contributing factor to the incident with Joey Logano at Martinsville Speedway
Hamlin said he was taking all the space. Was that because of Dover?
“I would lean more toward racing circumstances. But absolutely, I take into account, who’s beside me.”
“And I was not going to give 1 inch. Now, I misjudged. The on-track stuff was definitely my fault. There was no intention to run into him or run him into the wall.”
“Because I put myself in a pretty big risk there as far as cutting tires. I was just trying to use all the space that I could.”
“Certainly, if it was a teammate or someone else or really anyone. Yeah, I probably don’t gas it up quite as soon and try to take up all that space.”
“All that stuff [Dover] plays factors for sure.”
Hamlin on his feud with Joey Logano
What is it between you and Joey Logano?
“I’m not really sure. He just really breeds those type of things. He’s got into it with a ton of people,” Hamlin said
“I mean, I’ve had my fair share as well. I don’t know what it is [about Logano] but I certainly don’t agree with it, for sure.”
“On the race track, it’s always been that way. When you go back to Dover, he clearly thought he was doing the right thing. Even though 99% of the public and competitors think you’re wrong.”
“I don’t know. Just twp different ways of thinking, really.”
Is there a point where you say, “I’m not going to let Joey get to me like this?”
“I’m not going to let him touch me, first. As a man, you can’t just let that stuff happen.”
“That doesn’t affect me. We’re here at the race track and we’re talking about it now. But, within 30 minutes of me getting in that car, it stops.”
“That’s my full concentration. We go to every race track, to win. This weekend’s no different.”
“We don’t self-label ourselves as the favorite. I don’t think we are. We’re not locked into Homestead, like 7 other guys. We still have a lot of work to do.”
Do you ever get the feeling that he knows he can get to you?
“No. He’s not that smart.”
Crew member suspension
After the race, Logano approached Hamlin for a discussion about what took place on the track. It ended with an aggressive pat on the shoulder from Logano.
As Hamlin chased him down, the crews jumped into the scene. It didn’t take long for 20 men to be pushing and shoving on the pit lane.
One crew member for Logano ran into the scene, grabbed Hamlin by the back of his racing suit and pulled him violently to the ground.
Crew member, Dave Nichols Jr. is now on vacation for this race weekend at Texas Motor Speedway
Do you agree with the suspension?
“Sure,” Hamlin added. “My agitation with that guy is he’s the first one in, in all of Joey’s confrontations.”
“If you go back and look, he dives in there and starts most of this stuff.”
“It usually starts with the drivers and ends, not. It’s just part of it. It’s just who’s going to be the first crew member to intensify the situation.”
“I thought my guys were pretty level through that whole deal. You could see quite a few times where Joey is right in front of them and nobody lays a hand on Joey.”
“I think it’s just a lack of control that Todd’s got with his people.”
Rules to separate crew members from drivers?
Big brawls have become the norm when drivers get into it on the pit lane after the race. Every crew member has the intention of protecting their driver.
In lower divisions of hockey, they have a third man in rule. If two guys are getting into it, the 3rd man in is automatically ejected in many cases.
What does NASCAR do if anything?
“It’s going to be a difficult thing. I mean, they already kinda have the crew members separated from the race cars after the race.”
“But, then the crew members have to push the cars back. That’s why we go and stop where we do. That’s why they’re all corralled around the cars. Cause within 5 minutes of us stopping, they have to push the cars to tech.”
“Unless we as drivers are forced to stay at out cars for a certain amount of time. But we’re not. We gotta go do media.”
“It would be tough to implement anything. Really, it starts at the crew chief. They’ve gotta have control over the guys. They gotta have some sort of protocol.”
“I think those things are in place with every race team. It’s just a matter of whether or not they follow it or not.”