DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (AP) — A truce has but to be referred to as within the Staff Penske camp amid friction following the final lap Daytona 500 crash between teammates Joey Logano and Brad Keselowski.
Logano was main Keselowski when Keselowski pulled out to try a race-winning move, a transfer that brought on contact that triggered a fiery eight-car wreck. Three of the automobiles concerned have been Fords fielded by Penske.
Logano had but to talk to Keselowski by Friday — he mentioned “it’s most likely finest to chill your jets a bit bit earlier than the dialog occurs” — however deliberate to speak earlier than the 2 raced once more for the sake of the Penske group. The 2 race Sunday on the street course at Daytona.
“The purpose is to maneuver on and never say, ‘You raced me onerous, so I’m going to race you onerous’ and now we’re beating the doorways off of one another each week and it grows and grows and grows,” Logano mentioned. “You possibly can’t search revenge or simply, ‘Effectively, you made my life onerous, so I’m going to make your life onerous.’ That’s infantile. We’re adults.
“In case you try this, it’s essentially the most egocentric factor you are able to do since you’re not simply hurting your self or hurting him, you’re hurting all of the folks that work on that automobile and what did they do to you?”
Keselowski was visibly pissed off following the crash and heaved his helmet at his wrecked automobile. He was adamant after the race that he was not at fault for the collision.
“I don’t really feel like I made a mistake, however I can’t drive everyone else’s automobile, so irritating,” he mentioned.
Logano didn’t settle for culpability.
“I don’t suppose anybody did something flawed,” he mentioned. “Everybody goes to have totally different views and I feel that’s most likely the place we’re going to be. To me, the largest heartbreak of this entire factor is that there are 400 folks at Staff Penske asking the place their Daytona 500 bonus is and it’s up in a ball of flames up in flip three.”
Three-time Daytona 500 winner Denny Hamlin bristled at Logano’s deflection. He famous Logano may have assured the group a Daytona 500 victory if he’d allowed Keselowski to drag alongside him and the 2 Penske automobiles collectively would have blocked the observe to different opponents because the teammates raced one another to the end line.
Hamlin and Logano have been teammates for 5 years at Joe Gibbs Racing and have beforehand feuded.
The Daytona crash belied Roger Penske’s edict that his drivers are permitted to race each other onerous as long as they do not wreck. Not solely did they fail at Daytona, however the crash destroyed a 3rd Penske automobile, pushed by rookie Austin Cindric, for an total disastrous race for Penske.
Ryan Blaney had been concerned in a race-ending crash 14 laps in, so all 4 Penske automobiles have been destroyed.
Cindric mentioned “that may be a nice query” when requested for his understanding on how the four-car Penske fleet was imagined to race one another at Daytona.
“If we’re a Penske 1-2-3, I do know my job and my job going into the weekend was to ensure that one among us wins the race,” Cindric mentioned. “Now we have crew conferences. Now we have technique conferences. I feel all of us perceive what’s at stake. I feel there’s a nice understanding of what the expectations are.”
Chase Elliott, the reigning Cup Collection champion, mentioned it makes no distinction that it was teammates racing one another. He additionally famous that Hamlin in 2020 gained his third 500 “as a result of he didn’t throw an enormous block.”
“I don’t suppose it has something to do with the crew you drive for; I feel it has to do with the person and the way that individual races,” Elliott mentioned.
Elliott had his personal commotion at Daytona within the exhibition Busch Conflict when he crashed good buddy Blaney as they raced for the victory on the street course. Neither gained the race.
“We’ve talked. We’re superb. It doesn’t repair his race automobile from final weekend and it definitely doesn’t repair his consequence, and I perceive that,” Elliott mentioned. “I hate it as a lot as he does. However it’s racing and we’re racing for wins. That’s a terrific drawback to have.”
Keselowski, the 2012 Cup champion however winless in 12 Daytona 500s, is in a contract yr with Penske and possibly cannot afford to feud along with his teammate. Logano, additionally a Cup champion and the 2015 Daytona 500 winner, does not have the identical job safety considerations.
Logano has been a part of a number of skirmishes with numerous drivers through the years. The battle has typically escalated with rivals complaining Logano hardly ever takes duty and permits feuds to fester.
This time, Logano is pushing for a clear slate. He likened an issue with Keselowski to a wedding, the place each side should come to a decision and transfer ahead.
“It’s sort of the scenario right here, the place I will probably be compelled and he will probably be compelled to work with me,” Logano mentioned. “We’re nonetheless teammates. We should determine this out.”
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