Denny Hamlin Fires Shots at Joey Logano During and After Martinsville
Denny Hamlin and Joey Logano have a history. The pair added to it on Sunday, ironically enough, at the same track, Martinsville, where they made headlines for a post-race altercation in 2019. This time, there was no physical confrontation. But the Joe Gibbs Racing driver didn’t hesitate to express his displeasure with the two-time NASCAR Cup Series champion over the team radio and in his post-race remarks.
Denny Hamlin and Joey Logano feud at Martinsville in 2019
Four years ago at The Paperclip during the playoffs, Denny Hamlin made an aggressive move late in the race that sent Joey Logano into a wall, which resulted in a cut tire on the No. 22 car. The Team Penske driver was not happy about it. He went and found the JGR driver after the race.
“I just wanted to talk to him about [the on-track incident],” Logano told reporters. “I was pretty frustrated. He kind of came off the corner like he didn’t have a car on the outside of him. It ruined our day. We had a shot at the win for sure.”
That talk remained civil until it didn’t. The calmness vanished when Logano walked away and pushed Hamlin on the shoulder. The three-time Daytona 500 winner didn’t like the move and went after his competitor. Several crew members intervened, and Hamlin ended up on the ground.
“We were having a discussion, and everything was civil. And then, like, Joey does — he does a little push and then runs away,” Hamlin said. “That’s Joey. He’s scared. He said, ‘Do you want to go?’ I said, ‘Yes, I’m here.’ And then he runs away.”
Moments later, the JGR pilot delivered his now well-known line mimicking the Penske driver, “Ah, that’s just short-track racing.”
Denny Hamlin and Joey Logano add another Martinsville chapter
On Sunday at Martinsville, Hamlin and Logano were again running up front at the start of the final stage when the champion got aggressive and drove into the rear of Ty Gibbs, who was running directly in front of him, multiple times. One final push sent the No. 54 into the rear of the No. 11 before Gibbs went for a spin.
“F****** Joey [Logano], he’s a f****** piece of s*** human,” an upset Hamlin said over the team radio.
After the race, the JGR driver, who finished third but was eliminated, addressed the incident with Logano, who finished two spots behind in fifth.
“Listen, I was mad,” Hamlin admitted to SiriusXM NASCAR Radio’s Claire B. Lang. “I’m in the car. I’m angry because us and the 12, we’re in a position, we deserved to race that race out, and I thought, in my opinion, Logano was out of bounds, knocking cars out of the way, trying to knock us out of the way.
“I don’t know. If the roles were reversed, he would have a giant problem with it, and I just thought it was disrespectful to the guys that had earned their position up there and the guys that were trying to make it into the final four. I just think there could be a little better respect for guys up there for that.”
Respect has been a topic of conversation all year
Hamlin’s remarks on respect are the latest on the subject, which has been an ongoing conversation throughout the 2023 season. Interestingly, the JGR driver addressed the topic earlier in the year, and his comments then somewhat predicted what he experienced on Sunday at Martinsville.
“There’s a lot of things that have changed within our sport. They frown upon hand-to-hand combat after the event. They frown upon retaliation on the racetrack,” Hamlin said before the spring race at Richmond. “So, really, what’s the worst that can happen? There’s just no repercussions, and you really don’t have to face that person when you get out or next week on the racetrack.
“So you try to do the best you can for your team and screw everyone else in the process. It’s just different now than it used to be because of all the rules that we’ve got.”
Some would suggest Logano was trying to do the best for his team and help his teammate Ryan Blaney, who was battling with Hamlin for position and the chance to advance to the Championship 4. In the end, it worked out for the No. 12 team. It didn’t for the No. 11, and the 42-year-old will have to wait another year to possibly claim that elusive championship.
While what happened with Logano ultimately didn’t affect his race result, there’s no doubt Hamlin will remember it. And if he does decide to respond at some point next year, it’s guaranteed he won’t talk about it.