Martin Truex Jr. has not forgotten about Martinsville Speedway. Joey Logano said he’s a hard racer who races accordingly and expects it back.
So ahead of the championship race at Homestead-Miami Speedway, both drivers faced questions about how things are going to play out, particularly after Truex vowed last month that Logano was not going to “win the damn war” after the “cheap shot” he claimed Logano took to advance to the title round by moving him at Martinsville.
“I’m not approaching this race any differently because of that,” Truex said. “But I still remember what happened, and I’ll use that to my advantage this weekend.”
Will he race Logano differently? “Absolutely”.
As for the rest of his competition, Truex said his approach will depend on who he’s racing against. But he does know what is going to happen if Logano is in the lead and there is the opportunity to take it away with a bump-and-run.
“I have a free pass,” Truex said. “He already told me I could. He told me he’s fair game. So, here we go.”
Logano countered that he gave Truex nothing of the sort.
“I said, ‘Hey, I expect to get raced the way I race people,’” said Logano. “I’m a hard racer. I expect to get raced hard. I said it before; we didn’t crash each other. I didn’t crash him. Moved him up enough to have a drag race. That’s what I explained to him. Just so much on the line in these situations.
“If you don’t make a move like that, you’re going to go back to your race team [and] I know if I worked on that car, I’d be mad. I’d say, ‘Why didn’t you at least try to win?’ I wasn’t going to crash him. That’s completely different than what happened a couple years ago. I wasn’t looking to do that. I was just looking to move him up the racetrack, then have that race to the start/finish line, which we did. We had that.”
In the finale last year, Logano, who was not a title contender, was accused by Kyle Busch of blocking and running him too hard as Busch tried to chase down Truex. Speaking on Wednesday, Busch remarked that both Team Penske drivers “run into you a lot”; the only difference this time around being that he’ll be battling Logano rather than Brad Keselowski.
Logano wasn’t going to be baited.
“Learned a lot from my 10 years of doing this,” he laughed. “Sometimes it’s best to keep your mouth shut, just go out there and kick ass. That’s just what you do. You go out there to win, that’s pretty much it. I’m not going to talk to talk. I’m just going to go out there and race my car.”