No love lost between former teammates

Jeff Birchfield • Mar 17, 2013 at 6:33 PM

BRISTOL -- There was no love lost between former teammates Denny Hamlin and Joey Logano at Bristol Motor Speedway on Sunday.

The two battled on the track during the Food City 500, had a conflict in the pits after the race and later took their feud on-line.

Hamlin’s No. 11 Toyota got into the back of the No. 22 Ford on lap 349, causing Logano to spin out and tear the back bumper off his No. 22 Ford.

When Logano went to confront Hamlin after the race, it led to a post-race shoving match between their crews, and Logano eventually posted the following on twitter.

“Hey, Denny Hamlin, great job protecting that genius brain by keeping your helmet on,” Logano wrote.

The genius remark dates back to the season-opening Daytona 500, when Hamlin was angry with Logano for not sticking with one group of drafting partners.

Hamlin sent a tweet of his own to Logano’s current teammate Brad Keselowski after the race.

“Sorry I couldn’t get close to you cuz your genius teammate was too busy mesing up the inside line 1 move at a time,” Hamlin posted at the time.

For his part, Hamlin was unapologetic about Sunday’s conflict and blamed Logano for the incident.

“You have to control your car and he slid up into me,” Hamlin said.“Really, he would have been in the garage with no radiator in it if I had not checked up twice. I meant to run into him. I didn’t mean to spin him out. We finished bad and he finished bad, so we’re even.”

Logano saw it differently, fuming in the moments following the race. After their conflict, Logano finished 17th and Hamlin was 23rd, riding against the outside wall over the final few laps with suspension problems.

“That’s a freaking genius behind the wheel of the 11 car -- probably the worst teammate I’ve ever had, so I learned that now,” Logano said. “He decided to run in the back of me, so whatever. I have a scorecard and I’m not putting up with that. What goes around comes around. He ran down his right-front tire, so he deserves it.”

Logano didn’t mince words and was even critical of how Hamlin was racing him in later comments. The two spent the last four years as teammates at Joe Gibbs Racing, but it’s no secret the 32-year-old Hamlin and 22-year-old Logano don’t see eye-to-eye on a number of issues.

“I think he’s just driving like an idiot,” Logano said. “It’s frustrating when you’ve got a car that can possibly win it and get taken out from something like that.”

While Logano didn’t tell the television audience watching the race exactly what he said, Hamlin offered it up and included a parting shot.

“He said he’s coming for me,” Hamlin said. “But I usually don’t see him, so he’s usually not a factor.”

Logano wasn’t the only Penske Racing driver angry at Hamlin at the end of the race.

Brad Keselowski blamed Hamlin for ruining his chance of beating Kasey Kahne after Hamlin hit the back of his No. 2 Ford on the final restart.

“I got ran over,” Keselowski said.“It was going to be a helluva battle with me and Kasey with 40 laps to go, but the 11 car ran over the back of me.

“I just know my rear tires were off the ground before I got to the restart zone. Eventually I got hit so hard it pushed my foot in the gas pedal. That was the deal. I never had another chance.”

Hamlin laid the blame on Logano for the that incident as well, saying that he literally had nowhere to go.

“The 22 (Logano) had me pinned -- the 22 ran into me and shoved me into the 2,” Hamlin said. “(I’m) so sorry for the 2,

but I was the pinball in the sandwich and once he throttled up the 22 lifted me upand just flat out pinned me up against the 2.”

This feud doesn’t appear to be over anytime soon.

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