Denny Hamlin-Joey Logano feud still isn’t finished

Denny Hamlin is ready for his feud with Joey Logano to be

finished after the NASCAR drivers nearly came to blows last week at

Bristol.

Logano isn’t quite so sure it’s over, because he’s still waiting

for an apology.

The former teammates haven’t spoken since their collision on the

track carried into a post-race confrontation in Tennessee. Hamlin

won the pole and Logano finished sixth in qualifying at Fontana on

Friday, suggesting they could be close to each other again this

weekend.

”As far as I’m concerned, there’s nothing to it from here on

out,” Hamlin said.

But even Hamlin knows it isn’t that simple.

When asked if he considered the feud finished, Logano replied:

”Not until anyone says anything to me personally, no.”

While Kasey Kahne won the race, Logano and Hamlin captured much

of the attention at the Bristol bullring. After Hamlin spun Logano

while Logano raced Jeff Gordon for a late lead, Logano ran over to

Hamlin’s car and leaned in the window for a few words after the

race, sparking a brief confrontation between their teams.

Hamlin said he was just responding to Logano’s dangerous driving

by making contact that spun him, claiming Logano had cut him off

three times earlier. Hamlin then ripped Logano’s driving abilities,

making remarks Hamlin now regrets.

”I probably shouldn’t have gave that last little jab at the

end,” Hamlin said. ”I probably should have just left it alone.

… As a driver, it’s not up to me to determine where he stands

amongst the elite of NASCAR. I think the fans and the teams decide

that. I didn’t need to give my opinion on that. I think that was

kind of a low blow.”

The drivers are embroiled in a classic Bristol feud, with hot

tempers frequently flaring in the track’s cramped conditions.

Emotions might cool down with the longer track and cooler heads in

California, but they’re not there yet.

Although he regrets costing Logano his chance to win, Hamlin

said he’s not the villain.

”I didn’t see it as a huge deal,” Hamlin said. ”People at

Bristol make contact. Where my frustration level was, people didn’t

see the three times I got cut off before you saw it on TV, one time

giving us left front damage. So that ticked me off, and obviously

my way of retaliating was to nudge him. Well, I shouldn’t have

nudged him in the spot where I did, and he spun out.”

Logano was more circumspect about the incident, first expressing

disbelief when told Hamlin was sorry – and then laughing when he

heard Hamlin is only sorry for ripping him, not for wrecking

him.

”So then he’s not sorry. OK, all right. OK. OK, whatever,”

Logano said with another laugh.

”It is frustrating, but I’m always looking at the silver

lining,” Logano added. ”I’ve had two really fast cars in a row.

I’ve got another good car here, and I’m looking to make the most of

what I’ve got. That’s where we’ve failed this year, is not getting

the finishes we deserve where we’ve been running throughout these

races.”

Hamlin and Logano were teammates at Joe Gibbs Racing, and though

Hamlin says they were ”definitely fine” in Monday meetings and

strategy sessions, it clearly wasn’t always a harmonious

partnership, particularly on the track.

”Like anything else, we had our on-track stuff that never

really was public, but we had times where it was like, `Hey, why

did you race me that way?”’ Hamlin said.

Logano moved to Penske Racing after he was replaced by Matt

Kenseth in JGR’s No. 20 race car for this season. Kenseth won two

weeks ago at Las Vegas.

”This year, I think a little bit of a factor is – it’s hard for

me to speak for him, I’m guessing – he feels like he’s got a lot to

prove over there,” Hamlin said. ”Obviously, Matt is running

really well over here. (Logano) had a great race going with

obviously a shot (at Bristol), a car that could win, and he got

taken out. So I think that raised his level of frustration. If we

were probably back in the pack, he would have probably been still

mad at me, but probably not as much as what he was.”

While Hamlin went on at length about the relationship Friday,

Logano repeatedly tried to focus on the upcoming race. He won the

Nationwide Series race at Fontana last year for JGR.

Although Logano isn’t ready to forgive and forget, Hamlin isn’t

worried about it – particularly after claiming another pole.

”I’m pretty comfortable with how we are and the way we act as

professional race car drivers,” Hamlin said. ”This stuff is

always hot and heavy for a few weeks, and then it typically goes

away.”