As of Friday morning, Team Penske teammates Joey Logano and Brad Keselowski have not discussed the last-lap crash in the Daytona 500 that ended both of their chances at winning the 2021 NASCAR Cup Series season opener.
But they’re going to talk before Sunday’s O’Reilly Auto Parts 253 on the Daytona International Speedway Road Course (3 p.m. ET on FOX, MRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio). And Logano expects everything is going to be OK.
“The analogy I used on Sirius a minute ago: It’s a marriage,” Logano said Friday on a Zoom teleconference. “When you’re married to somebody, you have to figure it out. You’re married. You don’t just leave. You get married, it’s supposed to be forever. So when you have conflict or you have a difference of opinion or whatever, you have to talk about it. You’re forced to. You can’t just roll it up under the rug, right? It’s just not going to work. It’s not healthy. People do that, it’s just not healthy to do.
“So that’s kind of the situation here, where I will be forced and he will be forced to work with me. We’re still teammates. We will have to figure this out. We may not have to agree on everything, but we at least have to find a way to move forward. And that is going to be the approach for me to do because going back to the 400 men and women that work at Team Penske, we owe it o them to figure this out. And we will fix it.”
Keselowski has not made a public comment since the incident, other than his post-race interview.
Logano took the white flag last Sunday night at the World Center of Racing. Keselowski ran right behind him, followed by Michael McDowell in the No. 34 Front Row Motorsports Ford. With less than half a lap left to go around the 2.5-mile oval, Keselowski’s No. 2 Ford bumped the left rear of Logano’s No. 22 Ford after a push from behind by McDowell. Logano and Keselowski both went spinning and collected multiple cars in the process, all while McDowell went on to win his first career Cup race in 358 starts.
“Honestly, I’m happy for McDowell,” Logano said. “The guy’s a grinder, man. He’s been grinding his whole career, and he finally won one and it’s the biggest race ever. I’m ecstatic for him, and he should be over the moon. And yes, we’ve talked to each other quite a bit here in the last few days, texting back and forth. He brought it up. He was concerned, like, ‘Did I do something wrong? Is everything OK?’ Yeah, go for the win, I get it.”
Logano was hoping to score his second win in The Great American Race. Keselowski was looking for his first. Instead, Logano finished 12th and Keselowski was 13th.
“The goal is to move on and not say, ‘You raced me hard, so I’m going to race you hard,’ and now we’re beating the doors off each other every week, and it grows and grows and grows and grows,” Logano said. “That’s the goal, that you can’t seek revenge or seek, well, you made my life hard so I’m going to make your life hard. That’s childish. We’re adults. We’re not doing that. I’m not going to do that for multiple reasons. For one, like I’ve been saying over and over again, if you do this, that’s the most selfish thing you can do because you’re not just hurting yourself or hurting him, you’re hurting all the people that work on that car. What’d they do to you? And they’re the same people that work on my car, by the way.”
Logano and Keselowski – both former champions – are just one race into the 36-race 2021 season, their ninth as teammates. Logano joined Team Penske in 2013. Keselowski has been with the organization since his full-time Cup Series career began in 2010.
This isn’t their first on-track-turned-off-track feud – see last year’s Busch Clash – and everything turned out just fine.
“To me, the biggest heartbreak of this whole thing is that there are 400 people at Team Penske asking where their Daytona 500 bonus is,” Logano said, “and it’s up in a ball of flames up in Turn 3 right now.”