As laps wound down in Stage 2 of Sunday’s NASCAR Playoffs Round of 12 opener at Dover International Speedway, Joey Logano raced leaders Denny Hamlin, Martin Truex Jr. and Kyle Larson hard — as to be expected.
Except that the No. 22 Team Penske Ford was … checks notes … 24 laps down at the time.
“We’re out there racing. I’ve got to race. Here’s the situation … there’s four or five cars that I could possibly catch. That’s five points. I’m in by zero points right now, so we’ve better get ’em all,” Logano said on pit road following a 34th-place finish, 25 laps down. “So, when you think of that, I’ve got to try to get every car I possibly can. I’m still racing. I ran as hard as I could this whole race. Don’t have anything to show for it, but I ran it as if we were on the lead lap and did everything we possibly did to be better.”
“Make up position? He’s 24 laps down. That’s the most idiotic statement I’ve ever heard,” Hamlin said. “We’re battling for the end of the stage. It’s not your day, you had bad luck. We get it. But why? I don’t understand that at all. That’s just a stupid statement by an idiot. …
“ … Probably shouldn’t call Joey an idiot. He’s not an idiot. But that was just a bad choice to say that he’s fighting for something. He’s not fighting for anything, he’s just running around the race track. Stay in one lane. Maybe the high lane, because nobody’s up there. Get the laps over with. Get the race over with and go home and get ready for Talladega to try to win that race.”
“I get it. Everyone races hard,” Hamlin said. “If you’re one lap down I get it. Even two, just not 24. It frustrates me because it’s just a lack of philosophy. All he did was piss some people off and what did he really gain? He didn’t gain anything. But he just pissed off some guys that he’s racing with now. So now we’re just going to race him extra hard, and for what? Because he didn’t want to go 26 laps down?”
— NASCAR.com —