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Gibbs: Logano Was Just Going For The Victory

| Managing Editor, RacinToday.com Thursday, March 28 2013

Team president J.D. Gibbs says former employee did not mean to injured Denny Hamlin. (File photo by Chris Trotman/Getty Images for NASCAR)

By Jim Pedley | Managing Editor

J.D. Gibbs, president of Joe Gibbs Racing, says he does not believe that rival-team driver Joey Logano intentionally attempted to crash and injure JGR driver Denny Hamlin during the late going of last Sunday’s Sprint Cup race at Auto Club Speedway.

Instead, Gibbs said during a teleconference on Thursday, he thinks Logano – the former JGR driver who now drives for Penske Racing– was “just trying to make something happen” as he attempted to win the race.

Logano and Hamlin were running one and two on the final lap of the Auto Club 400. On the last lap they banged fenders and bumpers. In Turn 4 they wrecked. Hamlin’s car shot down into the infield and slammed a concrete retaining wall.

He suffered an injury to his L1 vertebrae.

Logano also wrecked but was uninjured. After the race, Logano said, “We worked it last week (when Hamlin wrecked Logano at Bristol). He probably shouldn’t have done what he did last week, so that’s what he gets.”

The two drivers have never been good friends – not even when they were teammates at JGR.

Still, Gibbs said, “My personal take is I think that Joey was just really trying to make a point and he was pushing it. I think he was like, ‘Hey, I’m going to win this thing or else.’ But at the same time, I think, I heard him make his comments, I think when he realized Denny was hurt, it took a whole new turn.”

Asked about the relationship between Hamlin and Logano when they were at JGR together, Gibbs said, there were not any major incidents but, there was “tension at times”.

Hamlin has met with doctors and it is expected he will not be able to drive for six weeks or more.

Despite the lengthy hiatus, Gibbs said that he still holds out hope that Hamlin can drive his way back into contention for the playoffs and even a championship. Something, it was pointed out to him, that can be done in the era of the Chase for the Sprint Cup Championship – when Hamlin does come back, he would still have time to compete for a wild card berth with a couple of wins, if not a top-10 berth.

Despite the crash and 25th-place finish in Fontana, Hamlin is 10th in points. He has had fast cars and led laps in four of five races this season.

The team announced later Thursday that Mark Martin will fill in for Hamlin until he is ready to driver again.

– Jim Pedley can be reached at jpedley@racintoday.com

| Managing Editor, RacinToday.com Thursday, March 28 2013


  • Jeff Marcosky says:

    I hope Roger penske understands that there are driver who are going to take turns wrecking Joey Logano.

    Maybe it is time that Joey grows up and becomes Joe Logano. Joey is a name for a littel boy!

  • steven says:

    Little Joey just ran out of talent. That’s all. Why did Gibbs get rid of his stupid ass in the first place? Go Kenseth!!!! Go 20 !!!

  • Josie says:

    Ok..the media…all forms…have chosen to look on the brighter side of his injury..5 races missed..he still could swing into a Chase spot! That’s really important..talk about pressure! Maybe it would be nice..and alittle more realistic to report on the flip side of the injury…another bad hit ( or even one not so bad) could end Hamlin’s career..and possibly create a worse sceario then just not being able to race. I realize this is almighty NASCAR..but here we sit…Junior can’t tolerate another hard impact to his brain..and Hamlin must watch his back (literally)! When does the phrase “take care on number one” come into play? Don’t tell me these guys are do or die “racers”…given the REALISTIC choice…one would hope stepping away to heal properly would be the way to go…but right now it seems the media and fans and Nascar don’t want to give the drivers that choice.