Joey Logano ‘very surprised’ Michael McDowell didn’t push him at end of Daytona 500

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DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. — Joey Logano questioned fellow Ford driver Michael McDowell’s decision to help a Toyota driver Kyle Busch in the final lap of Sunday’s Daytona 500.

McDowell said the decision was easy. He felt Busch had a better chance and that the “Fords weren’t that friendly to me this weekend.”

Logano went to McDowell’s car on pit road shortly after the race to express his displeasure. The short conversation proved unsatisfying to Logano, the reigning series champion.

“Typically you kind of expect manufacturers to work together like the Toyotas do or the Chevys do, and just was expecting that, as well, in that moment coming to the checkered flag,” Logano said of McDowell’s move, which helped Busch finish second while Logano placed fourth. “I was very surprised by his decision.”

McDowell, who finished fifth for Front Row Motorsports, was unapologetic about his late-race move.

‘I just told him that my team doesn’t pay me to push Joey Logano to a win,” McDowell said after his second career top-five finish. “That’s not what I get paid to do. At 200 mph, I made a split-second decision on what was the fastest car and who had the best shot at winning the race and that’s where I went.”

“I would have loved to work with Joey, but he was moving left to right. (Busch) had a big run, a lot of momentum and Joey had a lot of damage, the back of his car was completely smashed, no rear bumper, parachute hanging out it. Joey wasn’t going to win the race. I wanted to put myself in the best shot to win the race. And the Fords weren’t that friendly to me this weekend.”

Said Logano: “At that point, (McDowell) wasn’t go to win. He’d have to pass Kyle.”

McDowell also was frustrated with Ford driver Clint Bowyer, who attempted to pass McDowell late and came up the track, triggering a nine-car crash that set up the final overtime finish.

“The Bowyer wreck was all his fault,” McDowell said. “He flat out tried to shift me out and cleared himself and he wasn’t clear. That’s what is so frustrating. You’ve got guys that say, ‘Hey, why don’t you go with me … well because every time I’m in the front you shook me out and so what makes you think I’m going to push you to a win when you leave me high and dry the whole entire day?”

Said Bowyer of his move on McDowell: “Hey, it is the Daytona 500, I had to go for it. I had a big run on (McDowell) and knew that I had to make quick work of him because in the mirror they were going three-wide and losing their minds so you knew that was going to come down on you. So I decided to lose my mind too.”

As for the finish, McDowell said: “I think for a small team it’s awesome. There’s no doubt about it, but I’d be lying to you all if I told you I was over the moon excited. I’ve been in the Cup Series over 10 years now. I have one goal and one goal only and that’s to get a win. I was close to getting there tonight or at least had a shot at it and wasn’t able to get it done at the end. I’m happy with the finish.  I’m proud of the team, but that wasn’t the goal.”