Joey Logano doesn’t want to be that guy.
The Team Penske driver wants to avoid criticizing another driver’s bold, late-race move that causes an accident, only to turn around and make a similar choice that results in an equal or worse outcome.
“I feel like I am one of the hardest racers out there, and I would be quite the hypocrite if I asked why (Hamlin) was racing so hard,” Logano said Friday at Dover International Speedway. “If you ask me, that is what fans show up to the racetrack to see. They come to watch a race. They expect us to race. They don’t expect us to just say, ‘Oh, go ahead.’ They expect us to race and that is what they pay money to see. I am going to race hard. I know that.”
Logano said he doesn’t blame Hamlin for making the move, which spun Hamlin and Logano’s teammate, Brad Keselowski. The smoke from both blinded Logano, who plowed into Hamlin’s driver-side door. Kyle Larson was also involved.
Hamlin is already qualified for the Chase for the Sprint Cup thanks to his Daytona 500 win. Logano, who is seventh in the points, has yet to win. He starts 22nd Sunday at Dover.
“We are racing and these things are hard to drive,” Logano said. “We are going to make mistakes. There is a win on the line and it is a big deal. It is hard to do at the Sprint Cup level, and anytime you have a shot it is expected out of us, not just from the fans but from the teams, to go out and make the most of it and make it happen. When I look at Denny’s move, I would do the same thing if I was him, so I don’t really have any room to speak.”
Logano learned an aggressive driving style benefitted him after he only won three races in his first five full Sprint Cup seasons.
“I figured out what works for me, and I kind of found that technique and what that is for me to be able to race,” Logano said. “Some moves like that early in the race and you may say, ‘Why did you do that?’ But the fact of the matter is with 30 (laps) to go, you gotta race. That is part of it.”
Logano noted that many races have been won by a driver in a weaker car making “spectacular moves and gutsy calls” at the right time on the track or pit road.
“That aggressive look at things sometimes goes wrong but sometimes goes really right and you have a fifth or sixth-place car win the race,” Logano said. “I think it is entertaining. Is there more than one way to win a race? Of course there is. That is why you have to change your approach to each track and each race and scenario depending on what you have that day.”