Can’t block this: Joey Logano is the talk of the garage in Martinsville

Posted Friday, Apr. 05, 2013  comments  Print Reprints
A
More information Young Joey Joey Logano is NASCAR’s youngest Sprint Cup (SC) winner and Nationwide (NW) winner. A rundown of his “youngest” NASCAR victories and his age at the time:
2008 KentuckyNW18
2009 NashvilleNW19
2009 KentuckyNW19
2009 LoudonSC19
2009 ChicagoNW19

Have more to add? News tip? Tell us

Outside of his age, Joey Logano is known for hardly anything in NASCAR.

He’s the youngest driver to win a Nationwide Series race, when he did it at 18, and the youngest to win a Sprint Cup race, which he did at 19.

But until two weeks ago, he was really just another guy in Sprint Cup.

Then he became that guy.

The guy whose beef with another driver ended up with that other driver in the hospital.

The guy who was blocking out of a restart.

The guy who had to give one-on-one interviews to ESPN to defend himself.

It’s been some two weeks for a guy with two victories to show for six years in Sprint Cup.

“The game plan is not to be out in the middle of the drama, but at least they’re talking about you,” the 22-year-old from Middletown, Conn., said Friday at Martinsville Speedway, where he gets his first chance to do his talking in the car after the race at Fontana, Calif., that caused all the trouble. “That’s a good thing, and we’ve had some really fast cars that can go out there and win these things.”

Logano, at least, gets to climb into his car, the No. 22 Ford, for the STP Gas Booster 500 at Martinsville Speedway on Sunday.

Denny Hamlin does not.

Hamlin went to the hospital with a spine fracture after he hit the inside wall two weeks ago, the result of contact with Logano on a last-lap dash to the finish line, and he’s going to miss the next five races.

Hamlin has said he does not blame Logano for the injury, but he does blame him for the accident, the result of aggressive side-by-side racing between competitors who had been arguing on Twitter since the season opener in Daytona.

“Joey’s not a dirty driver,” Chevy driver Jeff Burton said. “Some of it’s piling on. Some of it he brings on himself.”

Tony Stewart thinks Logano brings it on himself.

Stewart, a three-time Sprint Cup champion, didn’t like the way Logano held his line out of a restart in Fontana, driving Stewart to the grass. After the race, Stewart complained about the blocking, saying it’s no way to race.

Some drivers agreed, notably Ryan Newman (an employee of Stewart), who called it a “chicken way to drive.”

Others said it’s part of racing.

“Blocking is part of what we do, and sometimes it works in your favor, and other times it doesn’t,” five-time champion Jimmie Johnson said. “Sometimes a driver will understand it, and other times they don’t.”

The discussion — or argument — all springs from Logano’s actions two weeks ago.

Defending champion Brad Keselowski said Logano should take it as a compliment.

“He should be proud of the fact that he’s made a few people angry,” Keselowski said. “He’s running some good races. He’s got a great team. He’s got a chance to stand out. I don’t know if that’s necessarily been the case before this year.”

So Logano has been the talk of the garage for two weeks, and there’s been nothing to change the conversation for all that time because there was no race last week.

Logano said he has to go with the flow.

“It’s good for your sponsor and good for your team, I guess, to have a higher awareness, but we want to do it for being in Victory Lane and not for being almost close to being in Victory Lane,” he said. “The last three weeks, we’ve been fast enough to be in Victory Lane, so I feel like it’s right around the corner for us.”

Carlos Mendez, 817-390-7407 Twitter: @calexmendez

Looking for comments?

We welcome your comments on this story, but please be civil. Do not use profanity, hate speech, threats, personal abuse or any device to draw undue attention. Our policy requires those wishing to post here to use their real identity.

Our commenting policy | Facebook commenting FAQ | Why Facebook?





Sunday, September 21Full Scoreboard
Toronto2Final | Box
NY Yankees «5
Washington «2Final | Box
Miami1
NY Mets «10Final | Box
Atlanta2
Boston «3Final | Box
Baltimore2
Milwaukee0Final | Box
Pittsburgh «1
Chicago WSox «10Final | Box
Tampa Bay5
Seattle3Final | Box
Houston «8
Detroit2Final | Box
Kansas City «5
Cleveland «7Final | Box
Minnesota2
Los Angeles «8Final | Box
Chicago Cubs5
Texas1Bottom 8th | Box
LA Angels1@theBallpark | TV: FSN-SW, FSN-W
Philadelphia6Bottom 6th | Box
Oakland6@theBallpark | TV: CSN-PHI, CSN-CA
Arizona2Bottom 7th | Box
Colorado7@theBallpark | TV: FSN-AZ, ROOT-RM
San Francisco0Bottom 6th | Box
San Diego5@theBallpark | TV: CSN-BA, FSN-SD
Cincinnati 9/21 8:05 PM ET
St. Louis TV: ESPN
Full Scoreboard
Sunday, September 21Full Scoreboard
No games today
Full Scoreboard
Week 3Full Scoreboard
Thursday
Tampa Bay14Final | Box
Atlanta «56Gridiron Replay
Sunday
San Diego «22Final | Box
Buffalo10
Tennessee7Final | Box
Cincinnati «33
Baltimore «23Final | Box
Cleveland21
Green Bay7Final | Box
Detroit «19
Indianapolis «44Final | Box
Jacksonville17
Oakland9Final | Box
New England «16
Minnesota9Final | Box
New Orleans «20
Houston17Final | Box
NY Giants «30
Washington34Final | Box
Philadelphia «37
Dallas «34Final | Box
St. Louis31
San Francisco143rd Qtr 1:50 | Box
Arizona20@theGridiron | TV: FOX
Kansas City213rd Qtr 6:26 | Box
Miami10@theGridiron | TV: CBS
Denver33rd Qtr 8:53 | Box
Seattle17@theGridiron | TV: CBS
Pittsburgh 8:30 PM ET
Carolina TV: NBC
Monday
Chicago 8:30 PM ET
NY Jets TV: ESPN
Full Scoreboard
Sunday, September 21Full Scoreboard
Columbus «4Final | Box
Carolina3
Buffalo02nd Prd 7:13 | Box
Washington1TV: CSN-DC, NHL Network
St. Louis 9/21 6:30 PM ET
Columbus 
Calgary 9/21 8:00 PM ET
Edmonton 
Edmonton 9/21 8:00 PM ET
Calgary 
Full Scoreboard