Joey Logano was pushing Michael McDowell prior to a wreck on Lap 191 that took out over half the field and separated them apart on the race track.
As Sunday’s Daytona 500 headed into overtime, Logano, who had one of the fastest cars in the race, was looking for a push in an attempt to get by the Joe Gibbs Racing teammates of Denny Hamlin and Kyle Busch.
Logano assumed McDowell would be willing to push him, but McDowell elected to go with Kyle Busch.
However, McDowell hesitated, which allowed Hamlin to cruise to his second Daytona 500 victory in four years. Logano wound up fourth and McDowell fifth.
Logano went over to talk to McDowell, but it was not an entirely productive conversation.
“I was just surprised by the situation and what happened,” Logano said of his chat with McDowell. “I thought that was going to be the plan (working together). At that point he wasn’t going to win, he’d have to pass Kyle.
“He’s racing, too, I guess, and we can’t win these things alone. We’ve proven that quite often but we did what we could do.”
McDowell said he went with the driver who he felt had the best chance of getting to the front.
“The No. 18 (Busch) had a big run, a lot of momentum and Joey had a lot of damage,” he said. “Joey wasn’t going to win the race. I wanted to put myself in the best spot to win the race, and the Fords weren’t that friendly to me this weekend.”
McDowell said of Logano: “I just told him that my team doesn’t pay me to push Joey Logano to a win. That’s not what I get paid to do.
“At 200 miles-per-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.”
McDowell’s fifth-place finish was just the second top-five of his Monster Energy Cup Series career. All seven of his career top-10s have also come on restrictor plate tracks. His decision not to work with Logano and his remarks about the other Ford drivers could come back to bite him at the remainder of the plate tracks this season. Perhaps they will be even less willing to work with him.
McDowell, 34, started racing at the Cup level in 2008 for Michael Waltrip Racing. He has been behind the wheel full-time since the 2017 season.