Penske says it's time to move on after Logano-Hamlin fight
Auto Racing Videos
HUMBLE, Texas — Roger Penske said Wednesday that Joey Logano and Denny Hamlin have exchanged text messages since their final-lap crash last weekend at Fontana that left Hamlin hospitalized with a fractured vertebra.
Penske said he's also sent text messages to Hamlin, who is expected to miss at least six weeks. Penske and Logano, one of his drivers, were playing in the pro-am leading up to the PGA Tour's Houston Open. Logano twice turned down interview requests.
Hamlin was examined Tuesday by Dr. Jerry Petty of Carolina Neurosurgery and Spine Associates, who determined he won't need back surgery.
“I've texted back and forth with him and said that we're thinking about him,” Penske said. “Obviously, we're hoping for a speedy recovery. It's never good to have a driver out for a period of time.”
He didn't know what Logano and Hamlin said to one another in their text messages. The former Gibbs Racing teammates had a prickly relationship long before Sunday's wreck. Logano replaced Tony Stewart at JGR in 2009, and signs of a rift between he and Hamlin surfaced after the Daytona 500, when the two exchanged barbs on Twitter.
Before Fontana, the two nearly came to blows at Bristol after Hamlin spun Logano while Logano chased Jeff Gordon for a late lead. Logano yelled into Hamlin's car after the race, sparking a confrontation between their teams.
Then came the wreck in California and the presumption that Logano had contact with Hamlin as payback. Penske doesn't buy it.
“These guys are racing hard, and it's the last lap, and it's just the way the cars got together,” Penske said. “The way Denny hit the wall was very unfortunate. ... It's never good to have a driver out for a period of time.”
NASCAR returns to action April 7 at Martinsville Speedway, and Penske said it's time for everyone to “settle down.”
Penske said he's never seen NASCAR more competitive, and the increased media scrutiny is making every incident and altercation between drivers more serious than it usually is.
“There's a lot of noise about a lot of things that are said at these races,” Penske said. “People are at a high pitch, and I think other people need to settle down and realize that's the sport. We're just going to have to keep our heads on.”
Penske said he didn't know much about the personal history between Logano and Hamlin. He's confident that the latest dustup and the public backlash won't throw off Logano, who's ninth in the Sprint Cup standings — one spot ahead of Hamlin.
“The fuel in the fire after Bristol created a lot of public noise,” Penske said. “But as I said, that's the environment we're in right now. He's still the same guy we hired six months ago, and I'm 100 percent confident that he's going to be able to execute when he needs to be at the highest level.”
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Happ’s strong start, Ramirez’s homer pace Pirates past Rockies
- Big plays cost Steelers defense in 43-19 preseason loss at Bills
- Steelers notebook: Tomlin mum on Bryant suspension
- Pitt star running back Conner remains grounded despite success
- Rossi: Beleaguered Steelers need MVP from Big Ben
- Biertempfel: Pittsburgh native faced quick learning curve as Marlins GM
- Exclusive to the Trib: Lift the oil export ban? Think again
- Patience serves as virtue amid pitching prospect Glasnow’s quest for majors
- Pennsylvania welfare employees targeted in crackdown
- College football preview: ACC
- Pirates notebook: Hurdle’s faith in Polanco pays off