Todd Gordon took some of the blame for what happened Sunday night at Martinsville Speedway between his driver Joey Logano and Joe Gibbs Racing’s Denny Hamlin.
“Disappointed with how all that fell down,” said Gordon on The Morning Drive on SiriusXM NASCAR Radio. “He (Logano) was frustrated. He got run up in the wall with 50 to go and was frustrated about it. Justifiably so. I went back and re-watched it, he pretty much got put in the wall on the straightaway, and there’s frustration in that. Short-track racing and all that.”
Gordon, crew chief for Logano and the No. 22 team, mentioned the pit road scuffle was a result of Logano being crowded by Hamlin off Turn 4 and pushed into the outside wall. When Logano climbed from his car, Gordon said he stopped him and said the situation didn’t need to be addressed right away. After his emotions came down, Gordon thought Logano was at a point where he could talk to Hamlin.
“Unfortunately, in the conversation there got to be a push, and the direction that our organization has is that you separate drivers, we don’t want to have drivers that are beating on each other,” Gordon continued. “We’ve had the conversation internally that we want situations defused and separated, and unfortunately, in this situation that happened there, the separation was with too much power afterward.
“I don’t think the crew member … he was trying to separate the drivers and probably did so with more force than he anticipated, and he’s regretful of that. [We’ll] See what NASCAR does with that and where it goes. There weren’t any punches or anything pulled, it was just Denny got pulled out of there and got pulled down pretty hard. Apologize to Denny for that and how that was handled, but ultimately, I’ll put that one back on me because I shouldn’t have let Joey down there to start with and didn’t, as we got out of the race car, probably made a poor decision in letting him go down there and talk.”
Furthermore, Gordon called the incident unfortunate and said the team would adapt going forward based on whatever NASCAR decides. Gordon, along with Team Penske competition director Travis Geisler and the unidentified crew member, were called to the NASCAR hauler. Steve O’Donnell said Monday morning officials are likely going to have to take action for the incident.
“They wanted to kind of review what happened and what our take on it was,” Gordon said of the meeting with officials. “I think NASCAR does a great job in those situations of they take the video and they come back, and they look at it, then they ask for people’s personal opinion of what happened. In the situation that happened there, they want to talk it through with everybody and make sure they understand everything they can and don’t just go off of what is visual from a video standpoint of what might be over somebody’s shoulder.”
According to Gordon, it was an open conversation and NASCAR understood where they were coming from.
Could the contact have been collateral damage from Dover a few weeks ago and is there bad blood between the two drivers? Gordon doesn’t exactly know where things stand. Hamlin expressed frustration with how Logano raced him while being multiple laps down in Dover.
“What happened at Dover a few weeks ago was a guy trying to stay as many laps forward as we could because I felt like we had to score every point that we could,” Gordon said. “If you look at what happened when we got to the elimination race, we needed every point that we could; we were right on the line. This format forces you to race hard. It does. The contact yesterday, I can’t speak for where it came from, you’ll have to ask somebody from the 11 group that question.
“All I can say is it’s unfortunate we can race side by side, we know where we were at. I can’t speak for what drove that decision (yesterday), but driving up into the door makes for a frustrating situation.”