Gibbs: Logano Was Just Going For The Victory
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 firstname.lastname@example.org Comments