Denny Hamlin mocks ‘scared’ Joey Logano: ‘He’s just not that tough’

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MARTINSVILLE, Va. – Denny Hamlin has been in enough altercations with Joey Logano to develop an opinion on his NASCAR rival, and he bluntly stated it after their latest set-to Sunday night.

“He’s just not that tough,” Hamlin said of Logano. “And he won’t stand face to face. That’s just his style.”

After spinning from contact with Hamlin with 40 laps remaining, Logano approached Hamlin in the postrace pits. They civilly exchanged words for a minute before Logano gave Hamlin a shot in the right shoulder. Hamlin went after Logano but was stopped by No. 22 crew chief Todd Gordon and PR representative Kyle Zimmerman as a scuffle erupted between their teams.

“I understand him coming over and talking, and I was standing there and having a discussion with him,” Hamlin told reporters in the postrace bullpen. “Everything was fine. I think he didn’t get me agitated enough. So he said something and then pokes a little bit and then runs away trying to get me to come (after him) so he could hide behind his guys.”

It’s the second time in the 2019 playoffs that Logano has angered Hamlin, who called the Team Penske driver “an idiot” after the Oct. 6 race at Dover International Speedway for racing hard while 24 laps down.

They openly feuded during the 2013 season (starting after the Daytona 500), including a similar scuffle between their teams after the March 17, 2013 race at Bristol Motor Speedway. A week later, Hamlin suffered a broken back while racing Logano for the lead on the last lap at Auto Club Speedway.

During an interview with NBCSN’s Parker Kligerman, Hamlin openly mocked Logano’s mannerisms in saying, “He probably would say, ‘Oh, short-track racing!'” and added, “So that’s Joey. Scared.”

The Joe Gibbs Racing driver said short-track racing was the simple explanation for how they got together shortly after a Lap 456 restart in which Logano started on the outside lane in fourth with Hamlin in fifth on the next row in the inside lane.

After being squeezed into the wall, Logano picked up a tire rub on his No. 22 Ford. He spun without making contact and brought out a yellow that helped him make a pit stop and rally for eighth after dropping to 19th with 40 laps left.

“We got together, and he cut a tire, which is very unfortunate for him but was not malicious by any means, but it just happened,” said Hamlin, who finished fourth. “I got tight off the corner, we made contact. It was going to be nothing more than a rub, but it looked like he cut a tire there. That part was unfortunate. We’re in tight confines.

“There’s going to be contact here and there. (Brad Keselowski) was beating the shit out of my rear bumper all day long. Jacking me sideways. Cutting me off. It’s just part of this whole thing. You got to just understand. Logano’s got to understand that not everything goes his way.”

NASCAR officials met after the fracas with Team Penske competition director Travis Geisler, No. 22 crew chief Todd Gordon and an unnamed Penske crew member who grabbed Hamlin. A spokesman said any penalties could be issued as early as Monday.

Said Hamlin’s crew chief, Chris Gabehart, who helped separate the drivers: “It’s just hard racing at Martinsville. Logano wanted to talk about it then he kind of walked away and took a cheap shot and Denny wasn’t good with that. We’re all good and we’ll go to Texas and race.”

Hamlin said he thought things with Logano were settled.

“I mean, we did talk,” Hamlin said. “Yeah, I told him that it was my fault. I came up the racetrack. We made contact obviously.

“But the end part is his fault. We can have (another) discussion. I had a discussion with him over two to three times about him blocking me and what is he doing at Dover and this that the other thing. That’s a discussion that men have, but he handles it differently because he’s immature.”

NASCAR Awards: Scene on the red carpet

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NASHVILLE, Tenn. — The NASCAR community gathered at the Music City Center to commemorate the 2022 season and celebrate Joey Logano‘s second Cup title.

The event can be seen at 8 p.m. ET Saturday on Peacock.

Here is a look at the scene on the red carpet before Thursday night’s NASCAR Awards:

Joey Logano and Brittany Logano (Photo: Dustin Long)

 

Ryan Blaney and Gianna Tulio (Photo: Dustin Long)

 

Kyle and Samantha Busch (Photo: Dustin Long)

 

Chase Elliott (Photo: Dustin Long)

 

Alex Bowman and Crystal Marsh (Photo: Dustin Long)

 

Tyler Reddick and Alexa De Leon (Photo: Dustin Long)

 

Denny Hamlin and Jordan Fish (Photo: Dustin Long)

 

Daniel Suarez and Julia Piquet (Photo: Dustin Long)

 

Chase Briscoe and Marissa Briscoe (Photo: Dustin Long)

 

Christopher Bell and Morgan Bell (Photo: Dustin Long)

 

Austin Dillon and Whitney Dillon (Photo: Dustin Long)

 

Kyle Larson (Photo: Dustin Long)

 

William Byron and Erin Blaney (Photo: Dustin Long)

 

Kevin Harvick (Photo: Dustin Long)

 

Ross Chastain and Erika Turner (Photo: Dustin Long)

 

Austin Cindric (Photo: Dustin Long)

 

Kurt Busch (Photo: Dustin Long)

 

Harrison Burton and Jenna Petty(Photo: Dustin Long)
Mario Andretti (Photo: Dustin Long)

Chase Elliott wins NMPA Most Popular Driver Award

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NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Chase Elliott won his fifth consecutive NMPA Most Popular Driver Award on Thursday.

The announcement was made during the NASCAR Awards at the Music City Center. The show will air at 8 p.m. ET Saturday on Peacock.

Elliott is one of only five drivers to win the award since 1984.

Bill Elliott won it from 1984-88, 1991-2000 and 2002. Dale Earnhardt won the award posthumously in 2001. Darrell Waltrip won it in 1989-90. Dale Earnhardt Jr. won it from 2003-17. Chase Elliott has won it every year since.

Noah Gragson was voted as the Most Popular Driver in the Xfinity Series. Hailie Deegan was voted as the Most Popular Driver in the Camping World Truck Series.

Kevin Harvick to make decision on future by Daytona in February

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NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Former Cup champion Kevin Harvick says he’ll know by Daytona in February his plans beyond 2023.

Harvick’s contract with Stewart-Haas Racing ends after the upcoming season. 

Harvick said Thursday before the NASCAR Awards that “it could go either way at this particular point” on what he’ll do, but he affirmed that “going into Daytona, I’ll know what I’m going to do.”

The Daytona 500 is scheduled for Feb. 19. Harvick anticipates making an announcement by then.

“We’re at a point where everybody needs to know what’s going on,” Harvick said. “There’s too many tentacles to everything that happens. Whether it’s the race team, driver management company, every element needs to know. It’s not fair to anybody to have to start the season not knowing.”

Harvick turns 47 on Dec. 8. Next season will be his 23rd in Cup. His debut came a week after Dale Earnhardt’s fatal crash in the 2001 Daytona 500. Harvick was selected by car owner Richard Childress to drive for Earnhardt’s team. 

Harvick has gone to win the 2014 Cup championship and 60 races at Richard Childress Racing and Stewart-Haas Racing. He’s tied with Kyle Busch for ninth on the all-time Cup wins list.

Harvick won two races last season. His victory last August at Michigan snapped a 65-race winless streak. He followed that by winning the next weekend at Richmond. 

Harvick has won at least two races in nine of the past 10 seasons. He has scored 41 of his 60 Cup wins since he turned 37 years old.

“Kevin, I think, is probably the No. 1 leader of the drivers, as he should be,” two-time Cup champion Joey Logano said Thursday. “He’s been around the longest. He’s very accomplished. He’s very smart. He’s been through the ups and downs. He’s lived it. There’s wisdom in experience. It’s great to hear his opinion on where we are as a sport.”

Harvick’s business interests include a management company that represents Cup drivers Ryan Preece, Harrison Burton and Ricky Stenhouse Jr., along with other athletes. Harvick also has worked as a broadcaster on NASCAR Xfinity races for Fox Sports, earning positive reviews. 

Harvick’s son Keelan, who is 10 years old, races and has competed in karting in Europe. 

“He’s got one more race in Italy … and then we’ll start all over again,” Harvick said of his son.

Harvick went overseas after the season finale at Phoenix to watch Keelan race.

“I think he’s definitely matured a little bit since he’s been making these trips,” Harvick said. “I think it’s important to have that culturing aspect of life to be comfortable to do things like that anywhere in the world.”

The NASCAR Awards program airs at 8 p.m. ET Saturday, Dec. 3 on Peacock. To sign up for Peacock, go here.

BJ McLeod, Live Fast team move to Chevrolet

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NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Driver/owner BJ McLeod and Live Fast Motorsports will race in Chevrolets beginning with the 2023 NASCAR Cup Series season.

Based in Mooresville, North Carolina, Live Fast has been a Ford team.

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Live Fast is owned by McLeod, Matt Tifft and Joe Falk. Jessica McLeod, BJ’s wife, is the team’s chief operating officer.

“Our team is excited to make this transition to Chevrolet,” BJ McLeod said in a statement released by the team. “Chevrolet Camaros have proven great success on the track, and Live Fast Motorsports is looking forward to becoming a part of this advance.”

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The team will use ECR engines.

McLeod had one top-10 finish in 29 starts in the Cup Series last season.