You want a story line to watch heading into the Daytona 500? Here’s a compelling one.
Team Penske is not getting the 2020 NASCAR Cup Series season started off on the right foot. Their two biggest name drivers — 2012 NASCAR Cup Series champion Brad Keselowski and 2018 NASCAR Cup Series champion Joey Logano — weren’t seeing eye to eye after an incident in Sunday’s Busch Clash at Daytona.
Following the crash, Keselowski called a block thrown by Logano, which inevitably led to a crash that took both drivers and Kyle Busch out, “dumb, dumb racing.”
Keselowski was seething angry as he felt he was senselessly crashed despite showing to have the dominant car in the race.
On Wednesday, Logano confirmed that he has spoken to Keselowski about Sunday’s incident. Although, Logano thinks the two will be fine after the chat, there is some mystery about whether the two have patched things over and whether they will get along in this weekend’s race.
“We’ve talked and I think so. We’ll see,” Logano said. “We’re gonna have different opinions on a lot of things all the time. That’s part of racing and things like that, but I think we’ll be fine.”
Logano says he tried to talk through the incident so Keselowski could see where his teammate, the driver of the No. 22 car, was coming from.
“That’s all you can do is just try to explain your side of the story of what happened,” Logano explained. “There are different perspectives on the whole thing and I had no clue. I was like, ‘Hey, what are you mad about? Let’s talk about it.’ There were things that I had no idea about and I just explained my side of the story. That’s all you can really do.
“I think once he understands the whole side of the story, and you know how it is, you get out of the race car, you’re frustrated, you’re mad, your emotions are running high, you haven’t re-watched anything yet and they stick a microphone in your face and ask you what happened. You don’t really know until you go back and study it and figure it all out.”
Regardless if Keselowski is still steamed, Logano feels that things will be alright between the two over the long run.
“That stuff happens, but, like I said, we’ve been friends for a long time,” Logano said. “We’ve been able to figure stuff out before he said afterwards. I’m not really that worried about it. It’s gonna be OK. We’re gonna figure it out. Everything always blows by. Everything gets better all the time.”
Sure, Logano feels things could be mended already, or will be mended over time. But could this be a continuation of a deeper frustration for Keselowski?
While Keselowski, who is now in a contract year, has not said anything negative in regards to a team-wide crew chief shuffle in that happened in the offseason, it is Logano that wound up with Paul Wolfe, who had been by the side of Keselowski during the best years of his career in the Cup Series, as his crew chief for 2020.
Could the crew chief swap be the main catalyst on why Keselowski expects a small margin of error from Logano?
“I don’t believe so,” Logano said. “From the outside looking in you could say that. It’s easy to say that from the outside looking in, but I feel we’ve always been competitive with each other. It’s something that makes a great teammate is someone that can challenge you, someone that can make you better. We were talking about that the other day.
“I think Brad’s been that person for me all the time and we kind of go back and forth. One team runs better than the other for six or seven weeks and then it swaps and then it swaps. That’s good to have someone like that, that can challenge you. So that competition is always there either way, but the ability to work together also needs to be there.”
Logano is right. As teammates there has to be friendly competition, but when the chips are on the line, teammates must be able to work together. Especially at Daytona and Talladega where drafting is key.
Depending on which sport book you look at, Logano and Keselowski are more than likely at the top of the odds sheet for winning the Daytona 500. However, if either Team Penske driver is to hoist the Harley J. Earl trophy, they’ll more than likely have to end up aiding one another at some point on Sunday.
Are they really made up? Can they co-exist? We’ll find out in Sunday’s Daytona 500.
Toby is the Founder, Editor and go-to man for TobyChristie.com. He is also the co-host of The Final Lap Weekly Podcast. Additionally, Toby is a NMPA (National Motorsports Press Association) award winning writer, and has followed NASCAR as a fan since 1993.