Would Joey Logano have moved out of the way for Chase Elliott with 30 laps to go if he hadn’t crashed with Elliott at Bristol on May 31? Maybe.
Logano was a lap down just ahead of Elliott and Denny Hamlin as the two drivers were racing for the lead in the final stage of Sunday’s race at Homestead-Miami Speedway. As Hamlin closed in on Elliott with just over 30 laps to go, Logano wasn’t moving over for the leader. As Logano stayed ahead of Elliott, Hamlin made what turned out to be the race-winning pass as he led the race’s final 30 laps.
On Tuesday, Logano told the Sporting News that he had Bristol in his mind when Elliott approached.
«Yeah, of course,» Logano told Sporting News frankly when asked Tuesday whether he changed the way he was driving once Elliott appeared in his mirror. «You race people the way they race you. You can’t do things without repercussions of some sort. You cost me a win, I cost you a win. Those types of things go like that.
«I would assume that everyone kind of understands how that stuff works. And you kind of move on from there.»
After the race, Elliott said he “just needed to get through lap traffic better.”
“We’re bringing fast cars right now and everybody at [Hendrick Motorsports] is working really hard to do that,” Elliott said after he finished second. “So, we’ll keep putting ourselves in good position, do a little better job of getting through lap traffic, and maybe we’ll have another [winner’s] sticker.”
Elliott and Logano were racing for the win at Bristol when Elliott’s car got loose underneath Logano’s with three laps to go. The two drivers crashed into the wall and Brad Keselowski cruised to a surprise win. Both Logano and Elliott finished outside the top 20.
The two had a conversation after the race and a visibly frustrated Logano said that he had to force Elliott to apologize for what had happened. He called that “childish.”
Elliott told Fox that he would take the blame for the crash and realized as soon as he dove into the corner that he knew his car wasn’t going to stick.
Logano’s comments are certainly going to rile up Elliott fans. And they won’t do much for his reputation among the subset of NASCAR fans who don’t rank the driver of the No. 22 among their favorites. But he’s far from the only driver to employ the “I race him like he races me” theory. And he won’t be the last. After all, Elliott may end up racing Kyle Busch harder than he typically does late in a race at some point this season after what happened at Darlington on May 20.
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Nick Bromberg is a writer for Yahoo Sports.
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