Through the years, Denny Hamlin and Joey Logano haven’t always had the smoothest on-track relationship. And the newest chapter of their rivalry has Hamlin admitting fault after he inadvertently injured a member of Logano’s over-the-wall pit crew during last week’s Coca-Cola 600.
During a round of pit stops midway through the race, Hamlin cut into Logano’s pit box as he was entering his own, clipping front tire changer Tanner Andrews. Andrews was able to finish the stop, but he was in a walking boot earlier this week. According to Bob Pockrass of Fox Sports, Andrews is still expected to go over the wall for Logano on Sunday at Gateway.
Speaking to reporters on Friday at World Wide Technology Raceway, Logano expressed his displeasure with Hamlin over the incident, while also advocating for more protection for over-the-wall crews.
“We changed the way we did our pit stops to try to allow the No. 11 to not clip our guys. The carriers get out there pretty far, we brought the tires around the back knowing that’s an issue. And the changer’s down on the ground with his back to a car and gets his heels run over,” Logano said. “For one, I don’t think there’s any reason for it because he had an opening out, so it’s just a dirty move.
“The facts are there needs to be a penalty for it. There needs to be a rule made for it to protect our pit crew. Maybe if you’re outside your box, you’re on your own, I get that. But I think if you’re inside your box you’re in your house, you should be protected in your home. … I think we need to protect our pit crews better because we shouldn’t be grazing people and stuff like that to gain a competitive advantage. Because that’s very unsafe when you’re playing with big racecars against humans.”
When told what Logano said, Hamlin responded that he was not aware he had clipped a member of Logano’s crew, stating he was simply trying to get into his own stall as quickly as possible. Hamlin later issued an apology after reviewing video of the incident.
“I was wrong. Definitely my fault. I cut in 22 box way too far,” Hamlin wrote on Twitter.
Hamlin’s pit road miscue is the latest in a series of incidents between himself and Logano. In 2013, the two had a highly public early season feud that culminated in the two crashing each other while racing for the win at Fontana, an incident that resulted in Hamlin missing the next four races with a back injury. Six years later, the two got in a fight on pit road following a race at Martinsville when a discussion about an on-track accident went poorly.