DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. — Joey Logano confronted Michael McDowell on pit road after Sunday’s Daytona 500 after manufacturer solidarity went out the window and both drivers’ bids for victory faded in an overtime finish.
Logano finished fourth, just one spot ahead of McDowell, as Denny Hamlin led a top-three sweep of teammates to his second 500 victory. An agitated Logano quickly dismounted from his Team Penske No. 22, then made a beeline to McDowell’s Front Row Motorsports No. 34 for an animated discussion.
Logano, who established his car’s strength early by winning a Thursday qualifying race, said he was upset over their inability to team up in an aerodynamic draft with a show of automaker unity for Ford. Instead of mounting a charge to push Logano’s Team Penske No. 22 with half a lap to go, McDowell changed lanes and tried to gain ground behind Kyle Busch’s No. 18 Toyota.
RELATED: Full Daytona 500 results
The Mustang challenge never materialized and the Speedweeks that was so dominated by Ford turned into a 1-2-3 sweep in the main event for Joe Gibbs Racing and Toyota.
“I was just surprised by the situation and what happened,” said Logano, who was vying for his second Daytona 500 to match the win he scored in 2015. “I thought that was going to be the plan, I would’ve thought. It’s part of it. He’s racing, too, I guess. We can’t win these things alone.”
McDowell bristled at that suggestion, saying the final lap was every driver for himself.
Said McDowell: “I just told him that my team doesn’t pay me to push Joey Logano to a win. That’s not what I get paid to do. At 200 miles an hour I made a split-second decision on what was the fastest car and who had the best shot of winning the race and that’s where I went.”
McDowell survived the late-race chaos and emerged as a contender after an eventful final stretch, which trickled over the scheduled distance into overtime. Before the final restart, McDowell was chopped by Clint Bowyer’s No. 14, triggering a nine-car pileup the sent the race to a second OT.
“The Bowyer wreck’s all his fault,” said McDowell. “He flat-out tried to shift me out and then cleared himself, and he wasn’t clear. That’s what’s so frustrating. You’ve got guys that are like, ‘Hey, why didn’t you go with me?’ Well, because every time I’m in the front, you shook me out, and so what makes you think I’m going to push you to a win when you leave me high and dry the whole entire day?”