MADISON, Ill. — Joey Logano says that more should be done to protect pit crew members after Denny Hamlin clipped one of Logano’s tire changers in last weekend’s Coca-Cola 600, an incident Logano labeled a “dirty move.”
Hamlin, who won the Coca-Cola 600, said he was not aware that he made contact with Tanner Andrews. The front tire changer will be back on pit road this weekend at World Wide Technology Raceway for Logano’s team.
Later Friday night, Hamlin posted a note on Instagram, saying: “I saw the video after (the stories of what Logano said). I was clearly at fault. I cut into his box more than I should have.”
“We changed the way we did our pit stop to try to allow (Hamlin) to not clip our guys,” Logano said Friday after posting the fastest lap in practice.
Logano said he didn’t see a need for Hamlin to cut it so close entering his stall.
“The changer is down on the ground with his back to a car and gets his heels run over,” Logano said. “For one, I don’t think there was any reason for it because (Hamlin) had an opening out, so I think that’s just a dirty move.
“But the facts are, I think, there needs to be a penalty for it. There needs to be a rule made for it to protect our pit crew. If you’re outside your (pit) box you’re on your own, I get that, but I think if you’re inside your box, you’re in your house, you should be protected in your home. I think we should just explore it.
“I don’t have the answer for it. It’s simple when I say it like that, but there’s a million different things that can happen and draw penalties. I think we need to protect our pit crew better because we shouldn’t be grazing people and stuff like that to gain a competitive advantage because that is very unsafe when you’re playing big race cars against humans.”
Asked to explain why he felt Hamlin’s actions constituted a “dirty move,” Logano said:
“I’m not really sure it was worth it for (Hamlin). He didn’t need to do that. He wasn’t trying to get out around somebody, so I don’t think he needed to do that. But facts are he did.
“I’m not going to run over his guy because he ran over my guy. I’m not going to hit some innocent person with a 3,500-pound car. I don’t have that in me to do it. I can’t do it, but I do think we need to come up with a way to prevent that from happening.
“It goes both ways, don’t get me wrong. The pit crews go out extra wide to try to screw up other pit crews and stuff like that so you can’t get into your stall. The game is played on both sides, but we need to eliminate that because we’re playing in traffic.
“We need to figure out a way to do that. I have a couple of ideas, but I’m not a pit crew guy. I’m a driver, I know what I see out there. I just want those guys protected. I don’t want people getting hurt for a competitive advantage.”
Hamlin told of Logano’s comments responded Friday afternoon by saying:
“He chose to pit behind me. Shouldn’t pit in the No. 2 stall. If you run well, you’re going to have guys going around you. The thing is these guys try to swing out super wide.
“I always try to be respectful when I’m coming around someone, never try to get close to anyone. Certainly I try to give room. He was running a little better than I was at the time, and I had to keep going around him.
“He chose the second stall. We didn’t place him there. That was something he chose. When you choose to put yourself around cars that you think are going to go fast, you open yourself up to that stuff happening. I’m sure he’s hit crew guys before. I don’t even want to swipe at a guy, but they swing so wide now to try to get into position that it’s a product of it.”