The Final Word – From Bristol, to California, and on to Martinsville the Logano friendship tour continues
By Ron Thornton On Mon, Mar. 25, 2013
Last week I wrote that California wasn’t your daddy’s NASCAR venue. I was wrong. It turned out to be not only your daddy’s but your grandpappy’s as well. Both would have loved what they saw, be it from a 1953, 1983, or 2013 perspective.
We had three cars dominate the front the entire day, as Kyle Busch, Joey Logano, and Denny Hamlin seemed to just lend one of those positions to others over the course of the event. On the final lap, they were back in those spots, with Logano and Hamlin duelling for the win, as Kyle Busch rode behind waiting for what most of us expected. As the leading duo put metal to metal, Busch swooped by on the outside while the other two exchanged checkers for wreckers. Busch won, Logano came off the wall to finish third, Hamlin took a hard hit to the concrete on the inside to wind up 25th and in the hospital for lower back concerns.
With Hamlin out of action, there was going to be no post-race fight, ala the 1979 Daytona 500 festivities involving Cale Yarborough and the Allison brothers. Wrong again. Tony Stewart got squeezed out on the final restart by Logano, and it was he who took a swing at the kid on pit road. Unschooled in hockey, Stewart did not grab the front of Logano’s firesuit, thus failed to do what Canadian ballplayers succeeded in doing against Mexico recently. So, to keep things lively, the television folks stuck a microphone in Stewart’s face and thankfully they played a bleeped taped version of Smoke’s smoking rhetoric. Basically, he said he had some concerns with Joey’s character but had some solutions in mind to help correct the young gent, though using a series of strong pronouns to get his point across.
Roger Penske is defending his driver, saying Tony blocks, too. The fact Stewart went from a top five to outside the top twenty probably had much to do with his reaction. He took a swing; in return Logano threw a water bottle at his face. Usually, unless the fellow’s name is Klitschko, a 41 year old is usually not the favorite when it comes to the fistic arts against a 22 year old. Then again, the 6 foot, 1 inch Logano is just a lightweight compared to the light heavyweights and cruiserweights he seems to become embroiled with. Maybe keeping those beefy crew guys around him might be a good policy to keep.
Here I thought we needed Martinsville to get the taste of California out of our mouths, but instead the Virginia track needs to just maintain the status quo. The racing might have been strung out at Fontana but there was racing to be had all over. Comers and goers exchanged spots, those you thought out of it returned from out of the darkness, and the finish was a true classic.
In the meantime, the lads and lassie take Easter off, so Hamlin has an additional week to mend, though I don’t think the extra seven days are going to cool off too many drivers who are experiencing a bit of overheating. In a sport that features the Busch brothers, Hamlin, Stewart, Kevin Harvick, and Brad Keselowski, to name just a few, it would seem a young man from Connecticut has been voted the driver most likely to get his ass kicked by his peers. I sure hope he enjoys the next two weeks.