Joey Logano is angry and frustrated over the last-lap crash that kept him from winning the Daytona 500 Sunday, and he’s anxious to talk to teammate Brad Keselowski about what caused the big wreck.
Joey Logano was leading the Daytona 500 on the final lap when Keselowski, his teammate at Team Penske, got a strong run with drafting help from Michael McDowell and attempted a pass for the lead. When Joey Logano moved down to try to block the move, Keselowski got into the back of his car, sending the two teammates crashing hard into the outride wall and their Fords bursting into flames. McDowell avoided the crash and won the Daytona 500 for his first career Cup Series victory.
Joey Logano has watched the last lap of the Daytona and believes McDowell’s push caused Keselowski’s car to get out of shape, leading to the crash. Logano watched it all unfold from his rear-view mirror.
“I threw a minor block, but when Brad moves to the left to pass me, that gets the 34 off center on his bumper and these cars are very unstable when they are getting pushed,” Joey Logano said. “… For those reasons, when a car gets off center as much as McDowell was on Brad, it is going to push him around, the same way we saw the first crash happen. At that point, from watching the end in slow motion and trying to dissect it, I see Brad’s hands turning left and the back end of his car is further left than he is, and that means he is going to the right at that moment and spinning out. That’s why I got tagged so hard in the left rear and it spun me out so quick. That’s how I see it happen. It’s quite the bummer that it happened because we were so close to winning the Great American Race.”
Keselowski has not yet spoken publicly about the incident, but was clearly disappointed and not happy after the race.
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What caused crash between Joey Logano, Brad Keselowski?
Joey Logano took the lead after Denny Hamlin, who had dominated the race, lost the lead draft after the final green-flag pit stops. He was excited about the way the race was developing over the final laps with a pack of Fords lined up behind him.
“Four laps before that, I had four Fords behind me,” Joey Logano said. “Your teammate and everybody was working together and you think everything is going to be fine, you are pretty stoked about the situation. It’s probably the best scenario you can possibly be in for the last 30 laps of that race.”
That all changed, however, when Keselowski started to lay back to develop a run for a last-lap pass.
“Once I saw Brad lay back, I said, ‘OK, this game is about to change, this is not going to go the way I would expect it to,’ and I knew that things are going to be a little different, and that’s what kind of developed in the last few laps," Joey Logano said. "Cars were laying back so much, trying to form runs. I’m backing up trying to keep everyone tight behind me and not get so far out because everybody is checking up behind me trying to form runs. You just know there is so much energy being built up, everyone is going to be bumper-to-bumper and you saw all that come to fruition when we went down the back straightway and everyone opened up. You saw some on the top lane had five cars pushing each other, there are going to be a few runs coming. … That’s just how it ended.”
Joey Logano said he is not blaming Keselowski for the crash. He is upset, however, at the outcome and the fact that it cost him and Team Penske a chance to win NASCAR’s biggest race. His anger stems from what it cost not only his team, but all of Team Penske.
“To me, the biggest heartbreak of this whole thing is there are 400 people at Team Penske asking where their Daytona 500 bonus is, and it’s up in a ball of flames up in Turn 3 right now,” Joey Logano said. “That, to me, is the hardest part to deal with because those families put just as much into it as I do. … That’s probably to me the most frustrating part, and they should be frustrated too about it. I’m angry about it. That part is probably what stings the most, that we had a really good shot at having a Penske 1-2 and instead we finished 12th and 13th.”
Joey Logano said he has not talked to Keselowski yet about the crash. They plan to talk, he said, this weekend at the Daytona Road Course, where NASCAR will run its second race of the season. Logano said it was best to let some time pass before the two teammates talked about the incident.
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“I think it’s probably best to cool your jets a little bit before that conversation happens,” Joey Logano said. “I think everyone cooling off is probably going to be good.”
Joey Logano and Brad Keselowski, both former champions and consistent race winners, have had their issues before. Joey Logano compared their relationship to a marriage and said ironing out their differences is critical.
“It’s a marriage and when you are married to somebody, you have to figure it out,” he said. “You’re married. You don’t just leave. When you get married it’s supposed to be forever, so when you have conflict or you have differences of opinion, you have to talk about it. You can’t just roll it up under the rug, it’s just not going to work, it’s just not healthy. And so this is kinda the situation here. I will be forced, and he will be forced, to work with me. We are still teammates. We will have to figure this out. We may not have to agree on everything, but we at least have to find a way to move forward, and that is going to be the approach we need to do. Going back to the 400 men and women who work at Team Penske, we owe it to them to figure this out, and we will fix it, and it’s fine. … It’s just a matter of talking it out.”
Joey Logano said the two aggressive teammates must put the incident behind them and not hold grudges moving forward.
“You can’t seek revenge and say, ‘You made my life hard so I am going to make your life hard.’ That’s childish,” Joey Logano said. “We are adults, we are not doing that. I’m not doing that. … If you do that, it’s the most selfish thing you can do because you are not just hurting yourself and hurting him, you’re hurting all the people who work on that car, and what did they do to you? The same people are working on my car, by the way."
Joey Logano said he wants the two teammates to put all their issues on the table, hash them out, and then start over with a clean slate.
"It’s a matter of just saying, ‘How do we move forward.’ Not, ‘You did this, you did this, you did this,'" Joey Logano said. "… (You say), ‘It’s OK, that’s that, start at zero, clean slate,’ never to bring up anything that has happened six months ago, a year ago, five years ago. If you want to talk about it, that is the time, bring it up, be honest, get if off your chest if you need to get it off your chest. … But after that … it’s never going to be brought up again, never. It has got to start at zero. You can never go back and say, ‘This year at the Daytona 500, you did this.’ Or, ‘You did this to me six weeks ago.’ Come on, what are we, 2? We are not going to do that.”
Joey Logano has talked to McDowell and said he has no qualms with his good friend, who scored one of the biggest upsets in Daytona 500 history.
“I’m not mad at Michael,” Joey Logano said. “Michael had a run and got pushed to Brad and hooked onto the back bumper of him. That happened because Brad backed up to him. I can’t be mad at that. And honestly, I am happy for McDowell. He’s a grinder, man. He’s been grinding his whole career and he finally won one and it’s the biggest race ever. I’m ecstatic for him and he should be over the moon.”
Joey Logano texted with McDowell several times this week and said the Daytona 500 winner was concerned about causing a rift between the two friends and rivals.
“He brought it up. He was concerned, did I do something wrong, is everything OK,” Joey Logano said. “Yeah, you were going for the win, I get it. He had three other cars bumper to bumper behind him because of the situation that was happening, so you can’t blame him for pushing, he was gong to get pushed if he didn’t pushed. It was just part of the race.”