Joey Logano made no apologies for the way he made his way past Martin Truex Jr. for the win on the final lap at Martinsville Speedway, although the Team Penske driver insisted he had no intention of wrecking the leader, just of passing him. Logano did win the First Data 500 after putting the bumper to Truex — contact neither Truex nor crew chief Cole Pearn appreciated.
“I don’t want to win by dumping somebody,” Logano said. “I want to win by making a move. That was the classic bump-and-run. That was the move that our sport — and Martinsville, in particular — was built on. I think I owe it to my race team to do everything I can to win a race, get another shot at winning a championship. That’s my job. They did their job today. I had to do mine.
“Like I said, it wasn’t a move that I sent him three lanes up the racetrack. I got beneath him, we bumped and banged across the line. That’s the way I wanted to do it, to be able to get a win. Like I said, I wasn’t going to spin him out, didn’t want to crash him, do anything like that. I know how big a deal it is to win any race, but when you get to Martinsville, this is probably the second-most important race to win all year if you’re still in the playoffs, to get yourself to Miami.”
Logano will compete for the championship for the third time in five years. Until then, Logano said he would let Truex cool off before talking to him. He admitted he made a mistake in not talking to Matt Kenseth in 2015 after their run-ins during the playoffs, something that came back to haunt Logano. An upset Truex called it a cheap win and said he wouldn’t forget what Logano did.
“Yeah, I mean, obviously we’ll talk about it,” Logano said. “When, I don’t know yet.”
Logano reiterated that his tactics were in line with long-term precedent at Martinsville, even if the party that came out second best was naturally going to be angry afterward.
“We’ve seen that move here how many times before?” asked Logano. “I don’t know, but quite a bit over the last, what, 70 years or so here. That’s what this racetrack is built on. I would be expecting the same thing if the roles were reversed. I would be frustrated if I was him also.
“You’re right there at it; I get it. It’s racing. It’s hard. Not everyone is happy about it. There’s going to be people that love it and people that don’t. That’s up to them to decide. I know what I had to do to get my team into the Championship 4 and ultimately win the race today.”