Video: Denny Hamlin and Joey Logano brawl following Martinsville NASCAR race
The two championship contenders were involved in an incident with 42 laps to go
Joey Logano and Denny Hamlin added to their storied rivalry on Sunday night at Martinsville Speedway with an on-track incident that bled into a post-race brawl on pit road.
Logano was pinched into the wall off Turn 4 by Hamlin during a battle for fourth with 42 laps remaining. The contact resulted in damage for Logano, leading to a spin, which eliminated the Team Penske No. 22 from contention.
Even though Logano was able to race back inside the top-10, the two drivers marched towards each other after the race to chat about the incident on pit road.
The conversation was cordial, if not somewhat stern, until Logano placed a forceful shove on Hamlin before attempting to walk away. Hamlin raced after his rival but was held back by Penske crew chief Todd Gordon.
Another 22 crew member approached Hamlin from behind, giving the driver a horse collar tackle and crew members from both teams piled into the fracas.
Hamlin was offended by the perception of Logano running away from a fight, giving the shove and then walking away immediately afterwards.
“We were having a discussion, and everything was civil and then like Joey does, he gives a little push and runs away,” Hamlin said. “That’s Joey. I mean he said, ‘you want to go?’ I said ‘yes, I’m here,’ but then he runs away.”
For his part, Logano conceded he shouldn’t have shoved Hamlin, but was upset with the contact on the track.
“I was mad,” he said. “I was fenced.”
And then about the shove that led to the brawl:
“Yeah, I would take that part back,” Logano added. “Like I said, that wasn’t as professional as I should have been. I wanted to have the conversation, but, like I said, the answers he was giving I felt wasn’t good enough and made me more mad.“
Logano said Hamlin “wasn’t as apologetic as I wanted” leading to the escalated tensions.
“Denny is Denny,” Logano said. “He’s a little bit arrogant sometimes and I should be stronger than let that get underneath me when he does that.”
Hamlin just wanted to call it a byproduct of short track racing.
“I got close off of Turn 4 and it looks like we got together and it looks like collateral damage,” Hamlin said. “He blew a tire. I mean, he would probably say, oh, short track racing.”
Logano said this was just a little bit more than “par for the course,” which is why he wanted the apology.
“I don’t think it was necessary,” Logano said. “There were plenty (42) laps to go. Racing for the win and you’re coming off the last corner, so all right, I get it, but I don’t totally understand the situation and why he had to do that.”
This isn’t the first time the two perennial contenders have been at the center of conflict. They fought in the garage at Bristol following the spring race at Bristol in 2013. The very next week, Logano and Hamlin connected on the final lap at Fontana while racing for the win, with Hamlin suffering a fractured vertebra as a result of the incident.
Hamlin was left frustrated with Logano at Dover earlier this month, believing that the Penske driver (laps down due to a pre-race mechanical problem) was blocking the leaders.
No doubt, all of that played a role in what happened on Sunday night in the Commonwealth of Virginia.
Despite the incident, Hamlin finished fourth and Hamlin eighth, keeping both drivers above the cutline to advance into the Championship Race at Homestead-Miami Speedway. Hamlin is second and 24 points above the cutline. Logano is fourth and 14 points up.
This rivalry could also spill over into the championship race if they are both able to advance alongside Martin Truex Jr. in two weeks after Texas and Phoenix.