Denny Hamlin is, unsurprisingly, still not happy about getting thrown to the ground Sunday evening at Martinsville.
Hamlin and Joey Logano had a post-race conversation after contact between their two cars led to a flat tire for Logano. The driver of the No. 22 car ended the conversation with a weak shove that caused Hamlin to follow after him.
Logano’s crew chief Todd Gordon got in between the two and then a crew member from Logano’s team grabbed Hamlin and tossed him to the ground. That crew member, Dave Nichols, has been suspended for this weekend’s race at Texas Motor Speedway.
“It usually starts with the drivers,” Hamlin said Friday of post-race confrontations with competitors. “It’s part of it. It’s just who’s going to be the first crew member to intensify the situation. I thought that my guys were pretty level to be honest with you through that whole deal. I think you could see quite a few times Joey is right in front of them and no one lays a hand on Joey. I think it’s just lack of control that Todd’s got with his people.”
Later in his press conference, Hamlin was asked if he ever got the feeling that Logano can get to him. The post-race conflict between the two drivers was not their first. This was Hamlin’s response.
“No, he’s not that smart,” Hamlin said.
Logano got a chance to respond to Hamlin’s comments later Friday afternoon and he declined to escalate the situation.
“I think Todd has a great control of our race team,” Logano said. “I think he’s a great crew chief. I think he does a good job of leading all of us. I said it after the race — I probably shouldn’t have gone down there looking for an apology for something that he probably wasn’t going apologize for. I let my emotions get the best of me and that’s a mistake on my part and I probably didn’t handle that correctly.”
Both Logano and Hamlin are in the top four of the points standings with two races to go until the winner-take-all season finale. While a lot could change in those four races, there’s a decent chance that they could be racing each other for the championship on Nov. 17. And that’s not necessarily the worst thing. Rivalries are fun to watch. Especially when the two drivers are title contenders.
– – – – – – –
Nick Bromberg is a writer for Yahoo Sports
More from Yahoo Sports: