FORT WORTH, Texas — Joey Logano isn’t moping over what happened to him Sunday at Martinsville Speedway. He isn’t happy — and is actually “disgusted” by fans cheering his getting pile-driven into the wall by Matt Kenseth — but doesn’t have the attitude that the Kenseth retaliation will defeat him.
Logano went as far as saying that it might be a good thing he finished 37th in a race he had led 207 laps before a 10-laps-down Kenseth wrecked him and put him in a huge hole to advance to the final round of the Chase for the Sprint Cup.
Having won a series-high six races this year, Logano now likely must win this weekend at Texas or the following week at Phoenix in order to be one of the four drivers eligible for the championship Nov. 22 at Homestead.
“I’m not convinced this is a bad thing,” said Logano, who had won three consecutive races before Martinsville. “Our team is more fired up than ever. I’m more focused than ever. I’m pretty pumped up about being here at the racetrack today. … Is it the way we wanted it to go? No. Of course not.
“Did we get the finish we felt like we deserved that day? No. But this team has plenty of confidence.”
The Team Penske driver has been in the crosshairs of other drivers and the NASCAR nation since the Oct. 18 race at Kansas Speedway. Logano, who already had advanced to the third round of the Chase with a win a week earlier at Charlotte, turned Kenseth while battling for the lead with five laps remaining. Kenseth, already in a hole after a 42nd-place finish at Charlotte and needing to win at Kansas or Talladega, ended up not advancing to the third round.
Kenseth was suspended for two races for the intentional wrecking of Logano at Martinsville, a penalty that Logano said he had no input on considering he had no control what NASCAR did.
The thing, however, that did bother Logano was fans’ eruption into cheers when Kenseth rammed Logano into the wall with 47 laps remaining. Fans continued to cheer as the highlights were shown.
“I have more fans than I have ever had before and I love it and I appreciate every one of them. They are very good people. They’re not the ones throwing things on the race track.”
“Was I surprised to see the fans’ reactions after something like that happened last week? Yes I was. I was disgusted by it,” Logano said. “That was what I don’t think any racer would expect out of it.
“But I am going to look at the silver lining on this one — there are more No. 22 T-shirts and Joey Logano T-shirts and hats around. … I have more fans than I have ever had before, and I love it and I appreciate every one of them. They are very good people. They’re not the ones throwing things on the racetrack.”
After his appeal was denied Thursday, Kenseth said he wouldn’t change how he raced, and he also responded to a tweet saying he had no regrets.
Logano also stood firm Friday, saying he didn’t need to apologize for the hard racing at Kansas and had no reason to reach out to Kenseth. Dale Earnhardt Jr. was among the drivers who said that Kenseth was upset that Logano didn’t show any sympathy for what happened at Kansas.
“When you make moves like that, you know the risks you take,” Logano said. “I felt like we were racing. We both were racing hard, and we both knew the choices that were being made at the end of the race. … I don’t think I’m an arrogant person.
“I be myself. And this is one of those situations that you have to be true to your character and be true to who you are as a person.”