Skip to main content
Original Issue

Running Hot

An unusually aggressive Joey Logano is making enemies fast on the Cup circuit

As leaders Denny Hamlin and Joey Logano charged side by side on the last lap of Sunday's Cup race at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, Calif., Logano, running inside, slid up the track and slammed into Hamlin's number 11 Camry. Hamlin lost control, spun out and plowed head-on into an infield concrete wall at nearly 160 mph as Kyle Busch slipped by both cars on the outside to take the checkered flag. It was a violent wreck—Hamlin crawled out of his cockpit and collapsed. A week earlier he had spun Logano as the latter was racing for the lead near the finish at Bristol and then mocked Logano's driving ability after the two nearly came to blows on pit road. Sunday was Logano's revenge in a feud that has gotten out of hand.

Hamlin, who had a compression fracture of the L1 vertebrae, spent the night in a hospital. His status for the race at Martinsville on April 7 is unclear.

Logano, 22, who has two career wins, spent four years as Hamlin's teammate at Joe Gibbs Racing before moving to Penske Racing last winter. He is ninth in points, and was uncharacteristically aggressive at Fontana. On the final restart of the race he dived low to block a hard-charging—and faster—Tony Stewart. After the race, Stewart (left, in black) took a swing at Logano. "It's time he learns a lesson," Stewart said. "He sent Denny to the hospital and screwed our day up."

Look for Logano's day of reckoning with Stewart (and possibly Hamlin) to arrive at Martinsville—unless NASCAR steps in and puts a stop to all vendettas before somebody gets seriously hurt.