Joey Logano finished fourth in the Daytona 500 but the reigning Monster Energy NASCAR Cup champ felt that had Michael McDowell made a different decision, he could have fought for the win.
Unhappy with how things ended, Logano walked down and tapped the nose of McDowell’s car after they had parked on pit road. The two briefly spoke before Logano walked away and explained he was “surprised” by the situation.
“I didn’t agree with the choice he made. That’s all,” Logano said of the conversation. “I thought that we’d work together a little better than that. I would have expected a little bit more.”
Charging on the bottom going into Turn 3, Logano had the momentum on second-place Kyle Busch with leader Denny Hamlin in sight. McDowell briefly appeared to be following his Ford teammate before swinging to the outside behind Busch. Hamlin went unchallenged to the win as Busch passed Logano for second and Erik Jones nipped him at the finish line for third place, giving Joe Gibbs Racing a 1-2-3 finish.
McDowell finished fifth and felt that Logano’s car was too damaged to win the race. With that in mind, his focus then was on the best finish for his No. 34 team.
“And the Fords weren’t that friendly to me this weekend,” McDowell added.
Of his conversation with Logano, he said: “I just told him that my team doesn’t pay me to push Joey Logano to a win. At 200 miles an hour, I made a split-second decision on what was the fastest car and who had the best shot of winning the race and that’s where I went.”
Logano earned points in both Stage 1 and 2 and led 11 laps. He felt like his No. 22 Team Penske Ford was the car to beat.
“Just couldn’t get there,” he said. “It’s so hard to get to the front. Once I got to the front, I felt like we had a really good car, but I had a good push from behind with the 47 [Ryan Preece], which is pretty cool. We’re both from Connecticut, and we raced quarter-midgets against each other, so I thought it was really neat to be working together in the Daytona 500. How neat is that?
“It shows you that dreams can come true for little kids. I’m proud to be racing with him in the Daytona 500. I think that’s super-cool. I just didn’t get the push I needed at the right time. I was able to get to second, but then just kind of got used up there at the end.”