AVONDALE, Ariz. (AP) — The first face-to-face meeting between Kyle
Busch and Joey Logano since last week’s post-race scuffle in Las Vegas
Whether the drivers feel any better about things headed into Sunday’s race at Phoenix International Raceway is as open question.
two were summoned to a 15-minute session Friday with NASCAR officials
as everyone involved tried to put the pit road brawl to bed. Busch
attempted to turn the attention to this weekend’s racing at Phoenix,
saying almost nothing as he emerged from the meeting. He answered every
question by repeating, “Everything’s great.”
Logano initiated a
phone conversation with Busch on Tuesday. He said after Friday’s meeting
it was good to sit with his former teammate and explain the on-track
incident at Las Vegas was “an honest mistake.”
Are the two OK?
guess time will tell. We’ll see,” Logano said. “I hope he’s able to see
that and know that I was sincere about it but time will tell.”
two were racing for position Sunday at Las Vegas and Busch spun because
of Logano’s hard racing. Busch stormed down pit road and threw a punch
at Logano before crews intervened. Team Penske was not penalized for
tackling Busch, even though he sustained a gash to his forehead in the
Logano said he has tried to persuade Busch with evidence he says shows he didn’t cause the wreck intentionally on the final lap.
really just tried to explain that I made a mistake underneath him,”
Logano said. “That’s basically what it was. He asked for some data. I
was able to show him that. It was pretty clear in my opinion what
happened so that’s that.”
NASCAR senior executive Steve O’Donnell was in the meeting.
beginning of it was really to let the drivers talk about what happened,
which they did,” he said. “Then we were very clear about our
expectations, what we expect going forward.”
NASCAR chose not to penalize either driver for the post-race confrontation.
an emotional sport,” O’Donnell said. “We still view that as true racing
hard for position. If that escalates beyond to something intentional on
the race track, we were very clear that we’ll react.”
repeated his “everything’s great” comment to five separate questions. It
was far different from what he said Sunday, when he was led away from
the fracas by NASCAR officials as blood from his forehead trickled down
“I got dumped,” he said then. “He flat out just drove in
the corner and wrecked me. That’s how Joey races so he’s going to get
The Busch vs. Logano subplot adds heat to what already
promised to be a sweaty race, with temperatures expected to reach the
mid-90s at the track carved into the desert hills southwest of downtown
Logano appeared at a regularly scheduled news conference
later Friday and called Busch’s violent reaction to the crash “a little
bit of a surprise but understandable.” He said he and Busch never had a
problem before Sunday and if he could take back his driving mistake he’d
“do it in a heartbeat.”
But Logano said he would never change his aggressive driving style despite the risks.
“When you’re on the edge of out of control all the time,” he said, “it doesn’t take much to step over it.”
He even joked a bit, showing how he ducked to avoid Busch’s punch.
“I’ve got like these ninja moves, man,” Logano said, smiling.
Veteran driver Martin Truex Jr., the winner last Sunday in Las Vegas, doesn’t think this is the end of the issue.
race differently, as simple as that,” Truex said. “Kyle is going to
make it as hard as he can on Joey every chance he gets. Joey is probably
going to give Kyle a little bit more here and there just to try to pay
it back. But we’ll see how it all plays out.”
Kyle Larson, a
fast-rising young driver on the NASCAR circuit, was asked if he was
surprised that NASCAR didn’t levy any punishment in the incident.
new (title) sponsor, Monster, they’re an edgy brand,” Larson said. “I
think what you saw last week was edgy. I don’t know, though. It’s just
hard. They used to penalize people for that and now they don’t.”