The calendar doesn’t officially turn to summer until this weekend, but things are heating up at NASCAR’s top level.
After a contentious battle for the lead that turned into a wreck between Joey Logano and Chase Elliott late last month at Bristol Motor Speedway — and also resulted in an animated discussion on pit road following the race — it didn’t take long for the ramifications to become apparent. Sunday at Homestead-Miami Speedway, Elliott was attempting to hold off Denny Hamlin for the lead in the closing laps, but there was a car in his way — the No. 22 Team Penske Ford of Logano, off the lead lap.
Logano held up Elliott enough to allow Hamlin to move into the lead and then slip away to Victory Lane as Elliott settled for a runner-up finish.
“Yeah, of course (I drove him differently),” Logano told Sporting News two days after the race, while talking about his new role as a Panini trading card ambassador. “You race people the way they race you. You can’t do things without repercussions of some sort. You cost me a win, I cost you a win. Those types of things go like that.
“I would assume that everyone kind of understands how that stuff works. And you kind of move on from there.”
Elliott refused to acknowledge Logano’s exploits directly after the race, only saying succinctly that he “just needed to get through lapped traffic better.”
We’re only about a third of the way through the 2020 NASCAR Cup schedule, with plenty of potential payback spots left on the docket should these guys decide it’s not over yet — not to mention $1 million suddenly up for grabs in the recently-announced All-Star Race at the track started all this.
So, has Logano already fulfilled his end of the restitution and is now ready to move on?
“We’ll see,” he said.