The Frontstretch: Young Logano Sends Loud Statement to Points Leader Harvick by Doug Turnbull -- Monday June 7, 2010

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Young Logano Sends Loud Statement to Points Leader Harvick

The Cool Down Lap · Doug Turnbull · Monday June 7, 2010

 

For the second straight week, a normally calm driver in the NASCAR garage lost his cool after the race. But this time, a hot temper didn’t stop at just finger-pointing.

Jeff Burton’s heated berating of Kyle Busch — after the No. 18’s contact caused a flat tire on the No. 31 late in last Sunday’s Coca-Cola 600 — came as a surprise to most bystanders. Burton, known as the veteran statesman of the NASCAR fraternity, brought the Wrath of God to Busch after the race, yet was quick to say to reporters afterwards that Busch had every right to the spot he was going for; instead, Burton’s anger was more a result of a cut tire instead of Busch cutting him off. By this Friday, the apologies mounted, with the veteran assuring reporters this “rivalry” was simply a non-issue.

Usually mild-mannered Joey Logano let his inner demons loose after an on-track incident with Kevin Harvick on Sunday.

In comparison, Joey Logano’s Pocono post-race episode Sunday unfolded much differently, WWE-style drama that will almost certainly have more of a long-term impact. It all started when contact between the right front of Kevin Harvick’s No. 29 Shell Chevy and the left side of Logano’s No. 20 Home Depot Toyota sent Logano spinning with just two laps to go. Joe Gibbs Racing’s sophomore, who ended up 13th, then pulled perpendicular to the No. 29 after the race for a not-so-friendly chat. Furious with the second late-race tangle between the two this season, Logano stormed through the barricade of his father and fellow crewmen to go straight for the yellow and red mob enveloping Harvick’s car.

In the process, Logano yelled out several criticisms of the current point leader in much the same fashion as Burton’s tongue-lashing – just more R-Rated. The main theme included a quote that went something along these lines: “You [expletive]’d everything up…”

Swearing was a new concept for fans of the mild-mannered Logano, but he had every reason to feel perturbed. Armed with a top-5 car for most of the Gillette Fusion ProGlide 500 at Pocono – surprising considering his average finish of 25th at the Pennsylvania track in two career races – he was on the verge of his best result since Martinsville the end of March, the type that rights the ship of a team sitting on the fence of making the Chase. Indeed, Logano had held the fifth position handily until a hard-charging Harvick waged a two-wide battle with the 20-year-old for a couple of laps. With less than two to go, Logano thought he had Harvick cleared down the short chute, but Harvick dove to the inside entering turn 3, causing the two to make contact while battling for the same piece of real estate. Logano almost saved his Toyota before finally spinning and bringing out the caution just before leader and teammate Denny Hamlin took the white flag.

Who’s at fault? I say both of them. While Logano could have written his own fate by not coming down on Harvick’s nose in the apex of the turn, Harvick did not help his case for innocence in the matter by standing in the throttle, making contact with the No. 20, and starting the spin.

But just because it’s a racin’ deal means nothing when we’re figuring out who’s egging who on. A similar situation to this wreck occurred in the Nationwide Series race at Bristol in March, an incident that left Logano holding the short end of the stick. In that instance, the youngster did not hunt down and accost Harvick, but the veteran didn’t mince words when asked about the contact. Instead, he all but stated that spinning Logano is what’s supposed to happen when one driver is stunting another’s progress late in the race.

That demand for other drivers to move out of his way is nothing new; Harvick’s handling of issues has been a topic of discussion before in this column. The fiery veteran has never been a stranger to controversy, and has been criticized more than once by competitors for his antics on and off the track. In fact, Carl Edwards outright said Harvick was “not a good person” after he threw barbs at Edwards after the No. 99 wrecked Brad Keselowski at Atlanta Motor Speedway in March. Harvick takes no prisoners and now, with the points lead, a new contract in hand, and very fast entries in all three of NASCAR’s top series, has to be in the racing equivalent of nirvana. That leaves him ready and willing to cut down all challengers with one sentence out of his mouth.

On Sunday, Logano took into his hands the task of bringing Harvick back to earth. The lanky, baby-faced youngster, fresh from his teenage years, marched in to Harvick’s territory and stated not only to him but to the NASCAR world that he would not be pushed around any longer. It was a big step in his road to growing up, finally throwing a punch back after a long history of getting stepped on by veteran drivers taking advantage of his tendency to take the high road after races.

But while NASCAR’s young star may have felt wronged by Harvick, he was off base, too, at several points during his first real scrape with big league controversy. First, he also made some childish statements about Harvick in a post-race (and post-talking to with his bosses Joe and J.D. Gibbs) interview, including:

“It’s obvious that his [Harvick’s] wife wears the fire suit in that family,” and “He’s stupid.”

At 20 years old, a volatile mix of anger, testosterone, and immaturity can send a young man on a beeline in the direction of wrongdoing. Logano asserted his position by getting in the faces of men decades his senior, even making contact with one in letting anger get the best of him. For while he had every right to pull next to Harvick and vent, his belligerence toward his father and crew members who were trying to calm him down was unnecessary. Logano not only yelled at his father to get out of his way, but came close to slugging him in an attempt at breaking the human barricade between him and the No. 29 car.

He also made similar contact with a NASCAR official after backing away from the No. 29 crew that could have gotten him in serious trouble if it had been even more severe. And while Logano showed he had the stones to dance with the big boys, his immaturity glared through in post-race quotes, as he resorted to taking jabs at Harvick’s wife Delana.

Still, NASCAR Nation may very well have met Joey Logano Sunday. The fire he displayed after the Pocono race has always been present, a notion one would be familiar with after a race of listening to his in-car audio and not lost on a car owner who’s always seen it.

“I think we probably missed the fire that’s inside of Joey,” explained Joe Gibbs to the media after the race. “I think he does have a real fire. Now, he controls himself. He’s somebody that rarely gets out of control. But I definitely think he’s got a real passion for what he does. It means a lot to him.”

That explains why the Public Relations Fairy did not don her wand in enough time to veil the high-road Logano as he approached Kevin Harvick. And while Harvick hid behind the Shell/Pennzoil crew, the young driver made a bold statement to both Harvick and the world that he would stand for no more.

So what happens now? As with any controversy, passion spilleth over could work to his and the Home Depot team’s detriment. But after getting pushed around his entire career, taking the public step of standing up to a bully – however immature the way he did it might be – could more than likely send a charge through a No. 20 crew that may launch them into the 2010 Sprint Cup Series Chase.

Either way, the ride will be fun to watch.

Listen to Doug weekly on The Allan Vigil Ford Lincoln Mercury Speedshop racing show with host Captain Herb Emory each Saturday, from 12-1 p.m., on News/Talk 750 WSB in Atlanta and on wsbradio.com. Doug also hosts podcasts on ChaseElliott.com and BillElliott.com.

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RamblinWreck
06/07/2010 01:21 AM
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Tough to tell from the TV coverage, but it looked like Mr. Logano wasn’t exactly trying to hold Joey back…

In any event, Joey’s comments were poorly thought out. Tip for post-race interviews: not a good idea to say anything about another driver’s wife if your dad still drives you to the races.

wcfan
06/07/2010 01:56 AM
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While it was good it see the fire, Joey needs to watch the replay and see he was as much to blame as Kevin.

I like both Kevin and Kyle Busch ( I like their fire, and know that at times they both need to grow up) and it really gets me when people want to try and use Carl Edwards and Denny Hamlin as examples for the way they believe Kevin and Kyle should act. Carl and Denny are probably the 2 biggest Bullies in the garage. Two good examples for good conduct would be Jeff Burton and Mark Martin, not a big fan of either, but these 2 are the cleanest, even tempered drivers in the Cup series.

29racefan
06/07/2010 02:25 AM
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Joey-take a look a the replays. You really expect Harvick to lift with 2 to go? Looking at all the replays – more a racing incident than anything else. Grow up little boy. Stupid remarks about the wife of another driver not too cool. Makes you look like a big crybaby.

NASCAR Dale
06/07/2010 03:38 AM
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We got a HUGE laugh at Joey saying that Delana wears the “fire suit” in the family.

All of us Raceday watchers have always thought it VERY ODD that Delana wears a fire suit!!!

***Please, can anybody tell us why she does? I never recall seeing Theresa Earnhardt wearing one….Or any of the other wives, for that matter. Too FUNNY! (But we have to agree with Logano, we know who wears the fire suit in that family!!)

Also, I would have loved to have seen him and Harvick tangle!! Delana might have knocked the kid down though.

Budreaux
06/07/2010 07:07 AM
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Logano’s comment about who wears the firesuit was pretty definitive. He simply said what a lot of people have been thinking.

Harvick has always been a bully and always will be. He is the only driver to have ever been sat down for a race following an on track incident.

noel_w
06/07/2010 08:18 AM
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@ Doug: I’ll have to diagree with you on this one. Joey is too young to act so nice. He will be pushed around as long as he doesn’t retaliate. I had no problem with either his anger, or comments.
Now Joey should finish the job, and spin ol’ Happy every week until Richmond.

@ WCFan and 29racefan: Back your tapes up a little bit. Kevin did slow down on the straightaway to let Joey pass him, that’s why it’s easy to tell that he did indeed intend to spin the #20. If not for that it could have been simple racing contact.

Derek
06/07/2010 08:23 AM
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Logano had a top 5 car for most of the race? What race did you watch?

Stephen HOOD
06/07/2010 08:27 AM
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Where was Harvick in error? Harvick doesn’t owe it to Logano or anyone to step on the brake in the last five laps of a race. Logano held his line and Harvick held his, and a spin was the result.

In deference to your headline I think Harvick sent a louder statement to Logano when he spun him. A driver can say all he wants to say to the media, but what happens on the track is what matters. If Logano wanted a top ten finish, he should have moved over. If he wanted to end up spinning, he got his wish. Kyle Busch seems to have learned this and sits 2nd in points. Logano might spend less time following Denny around in practice, and spend more time with the best driver in the Joe GIbbs stable. All he’ll learn from Hamlin is a sense of entitlement but from Busch he’ll learn how to race.

Rhonda
06/07/2010 08:39 AM
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WTG Joey, all Joey did was say what MANY of us have been thinking. Harvick has been a jerk to his crews, his drivers, to other drivers. Someone needs to drop his attitude big time. WTG!

HutchTX
06/07/2010 09:27 AM
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Logano is lucky that Ole Harv didn’t slap him back down to earth after the race on Sunday. Harvick did not move up one inch towards little Joey but simply held his line with two laps to go. Could he have lifted? Yes. Could he have not raced Joey to the finish line? Yes. Could he have simply pulled over and let Joey finish wherever he would have? Yes. Except, that ain’t racing.

Joey would have done better to go after Biffle than Kevin. Maybe he should go and ask Carl Edwards about that.

Paul
06/07/2010 09:29 AM
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You people crack me up. You say let the drivers do there thing and when they do all you want to do is cry about it. It was racin get over it!

Travis
06/07/2010 09:29 AM
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I dont know what race you people were watching but “yap-yap mouth” punk harvick never turned his wheel and stayed in the gas. He wouldnt have made the turn if not for hitting Logano. The announcer’s said so until they realized that they were actually criticizing one of the manufactured “stars”. He’s chicken-“crap” who always starts something and then hides behind his crew. Remember when he tried to act like he wanted a part of Rudd and then hid behind his crew and cried why is Rudd after me. He’s a punk. And Joey was right about Delana.

FCH
06/07/2010 09:34 AM
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Someone said Harvick is a bully. That is true. Another name for a bully is a coward. Look back at most of Harvicks confrontations, When it is one on one. he waits until there are many people around to protect and hold him back before he acts as though he wants to fight. Sign of a true coward. To bad his crew saved him before Ricky Rudd got to him. He was also afraid of Montoya.

RandyGoldman
06/07/2010 09:56 AM
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“Two good examples for good conduct would be Jeff Burton and Mark Martin, not a big fan of either, but these 2 are the cleanest, even tempered drivers in the Cup series.”

They are also two of the oldest and close to retiring. Im sure they were quite different 20 years ago.

New rule… you must be able to collect social security to race in Nascar! That will ensure that all the races will be raced politely and at 45 MPH.

Adam
06/07/2010 10:22 AM
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Travis, you must be watching a different racing series. Let see, Harvick went after Biffle on pit road, Front Roe Joe, Juan, Edwards? Did you see the Rudd race, his crew was jumping on Rudds car, I don’t remember them holding him back?

What Harvick going to do hit Rudd, Lagano? He not stupid he’d be suspended. What would Harvick be scared of and over the hill driver or a child who looked like he was going to cry while yelling at Harvick?

wcfan
06/07/2010 10:34 AM
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Randy
I’m sure that they both were somewhat different 20 yrs ago, but they have BOTH DRIVEN WITH CLASS for pretty much their whole Cup careers.

If YOU would read my whole post you would have seen that I wrote I’m a fan of both Harvick and Rowdy Busch, and had a problem with people using Carl and Denny as examples of “good behavior”.

BBN
06/07/2010 10:36 AM
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Travis, Harvick sure did look scared when he was choking Biffle in Bristol didn’t he?

Rick
06/07/2010 10:40 AM
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I think all of the after-race stuff was fine,comments and all. I just wonder if it had been the 31 car passing him, would Harvick have dumped him? I doubt it. The only simple solution is Logano needs to take out the 29 twice, and then call it even. Give Joey another couple of years and they will ALL be trying to catch up.

Mike Hogan
06/07/2010 11:03 AM
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Harvick’s a bully and a coward and Childress and his crew have always been a bunch of rednecks. They deserve one another and I hope they never find a sponsor since they’ve lost Shell. WTG Joey, especially with the remark on Delana!

Cory
06/07/2010 11:17 AM
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@Stephen: I understand that Kyle Busch is a great driver and all, but you certainly can’t take anything away from Denny Hamlin (who has more wins than anyone this season… on a bum knee). I think Denny is a great driver for Joey to learn from. Though he needs to take his post race belittlement classes from Harvick or Stewart. They’re much better at it.

Adam
06/07/2010 11:24 AM
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Great point Cory. It was funny watching Lagano’s post race comments, it was almost like he was coached on what to say(somebody is writing his zingers?) and practiced in the hauler before coming out. His delivery was horrible.

DoninAjax
06/07/2010 11:58 AM
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Maybe Delana is the only one who would help Kevin in a fire.

SPotter
06/07/2010 12:16 PM
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Joey Logano has a gas pedal and a brake pedal and so does Kevin Harvick. Pick your sides if you want, but they’re both to blame here. However, Joey’s comments were out of line and sexist. So what if Delana wears a firesuit and no other wife does. I see it as she’s proud of her husband and wants to be a part of what he does. To make fun of her for it is just insulting. Lots of strong women shop at Home Depot to engage in projects with their husband. Apparently the driver that represents that company has very little respect for women like that. It’s been noted.

Vic
06/07/2010 01:06 PM
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Not a Logano fan! Too much, too early IMO! However, Harvick took him out this time! Why? Who benefited? Harvick! There is no way he had even the slightest chance of getting to the front without a caution!

Although I don’t know how fair it was, I LOVED the comment about who wears the firesuit in the family!

no Spin
06/07/2010 01:10 PM
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Kevin did slow down, thats one of the thing he does. Kevin did it in late models and winston west cars, I know he did it two times to my cars, Harvick is ass H####. Joey put him in the wall so hard that he gets the message he has more to lose than you, he will stop or he will get you back Nascar will have no choice and park him, in ethers case you hold the champion ship in YOUR hand , Harvick is to stupid to know what you are doing unless Delana tells him .

David
06/07/2010 01:28 PM
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Just a racing deal, two drivers going for the same spot. Nothing more but fans have to find a villain. Harvick was faster, had run Logano down and was going to pass him eventually. Logano ASSUMED Harvick would take the low line into the turn, he didn’t. Whose fault is that? If Logano lets him go he finishes a strong 6th, instead he put his car in a dangerous position and paid the price. He’ll learn in time…

Travis
06/07/2010 03:14 PM
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Adam go back and watch that race with Rudd again. punk ran his mouth and then punk jumped behind his crew and danced around to keep his crew between him and Rudd. That’s when Rudd call punk harvick “yapp-yapp mouth” If you can’t acknowledge that after watching the tape you are just blind and a punk yap-yap fan.

adam
06/07/2010 04:19 PM
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Sorry forgot to put put my name on the post.

Obviously Travis you see what you want to see. As do I. I’m not really seeing Havick “dancing” behind his crew, I see them holding him back and trying to calm him down. Again I pose the question, did you really ever think he was going to hit him? He’d been suspend one race for less. I don’t think with a big time sponsor like GM at the time he or his crew would let him hit him(which they didn’t). If I’m not mistaken he was 2nd in points at the time also? Which is why they were holding him back. What I did see was Rudd getting a nice “man” massage from one of his crew??? Interesting

You comment was he a chicken “crap” who always hides behind his crew. As I said in my previous post, there are too many instances that this just isn’t the case. And I love how you know for sure that Harvick wreaked him, you were in the car. Hey to me it looks like it could have went either way, either drivers fault, I’m not sure anyone thats objective would say otherwise. But you know for sure!

Look Harvick’s not your driver. Maybe you could cheer for Jeff Gordon, I“m sure you’d look great in rainbow gear!

Richard in N.C.
06/07/2010 06:23 PM
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As I recall, the crews for Harvick and Ricky R were both making sure that their drivers did not get close enough to the other for a real incident.

Looked to me like Harvick’s crew was also making sure Harvick did not get close enough to hit Lagano. Taking a shot at another driver’s wife is not showing maturity.

Isn’t it amazing how many media people are willing to write about the incident without having been there and without talking to any of those involved? Facts can often screw up a good story.

Alma
06/07/2010 08:13 PM
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Mike Hogan
rednecks are real men you must be from San Francisco one of those girlymen.

M.B. Voelker
06/07/2010 08:18 PM
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I found this confrontation absolutely hilarious. Harvick got a little of his own back and Logano showed that he really does fit into Coach Gibbs’s stable of hotheads.

Kevin Harvick can’t really have too terribly much to say in reply to Joey’s comment either, considering his history.

And its not like the idea of Delana being the tougher Harvick is anything original — Joey may have been reading Nascar forums in his spare time where that’s a fairly standard concept. LOL

IMO, a lot of fans and reporters take these adrenaline-charged conflicts far more seriously than they deserve. Usually they die right back down when the adrenaline clears.

Participants in a high-pressure, high-intensity sport periodically blow up at each other and make snarky remarks about their opponents. Go figure.

midasmicah
06/07/2010 08:24 PM
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I’ve been waiting for Logano to stick up for himself. He’s been pushed around and has finally showed he won’t take it anymore. I really like this kid. Harvick enjoys the bully role and shows it. He’s always tried to get into other drivers heads. That’s racin’.

chris
06/07/2010 11:04 PM
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It was a racing deal. Harvick never lifted, Logano came down into him.

When did professional athletes start insulting competetor’s wives?

Real class!!

HutchTX
06/07/2010 11:34 PM
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Bash Ole Harv if you like but he stands up for himself. He went after the Rooster and the Rooster looked frustrated that he just got punked when it was done. He was the final nail in the coffin for “front row Joe”. He almost committed a felony against Biffle so that isn’t even up for consideration. His messing with Mr. Ed was psychological and it seems to have worked. From what I read and saw in pics he did not back down from steroid Carl and happened to have slammed him onto the hood of a race car in their confrontation.

I will give you the Juan Pablo encounter. He manned up but then seemed to not want to continue when Juan stood up for himself. I am not sure what happened there but maybe he saw something in Juan’s eyes that he did not want a part of.

And for “No Spin”:
Learn to spell if you want to have an adult conversation. You talk huge smack but are afraid to show us your name. Telling signs of a true coward.

Ying Yang
06/08/2010 02:19 AM
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All the above posters can get all worked up about all this, but it can really be summarized in a few points.

1) People fight. People fight more when money is involved. People fight most when pride is involved. Is this news?

2) Joey calling out Delana before even talking to Kevin is a bitch move. He’s a boy. Harvick’s an arrogant prick. Is this news?

3) Tom needs to let his little boy turn into a man, WITHOUT INTERFERING. Seriously, who takes a boy seriously when daddy is always jumping in? Boys only grow up one way – the hard way. Get over it, Tom.

4) This sort of hard-nosed driving was done on every lap of every race 20 years ago. That this is news today – sad. Says a lot about our “sport” today.

So, Joey – grow up, Kevin – show some respect to all your competitors, Tom – shut up and sit down, Delana – keep looking hot in firesuits and kick Joey’s ass if he gets close (we know he has a secret crush on you), and fans – beg to get your sport back and have BF overthrown so you can once again have the real thing rather than the watered-down crap that is getting your pulse up these days.