Larry McReynolds & Elliott Sadler on Fontana Dale Earnhardt, Jr., driver of the NASCAR Sprint Cup #88 Army National Guard Chevrolet SS earned 1st place in the Sprint Cup Standing with his 2nd place win Sunday, March 24, 2013 at Auto Club Speedway in the Auto Club 400 in Fontana, California. (Photo by Harold Hinson for Chevrolet)
Dale Earnhardt, Jr., driver of the NASCAR Sprint Cup #88 Army National Guard Chevrolet SS raced to 2nd place and Kurt Busch, driver of the NASCAR Sprint Cup #78 Furniture Row Chevrolet SS came in 3rd Sunday, March 24, 2013 at Auto ClubSpeedway in the Auto Club 400 in Fontana, California. Earnhardt jumped to 1st place in the Sprint Cup Standings.
Dale Earnhardt, Jr., driver of the NASCAR Sprint Cup #88 Army National Guard Chevrolet SS became No. 1 in the Sprint Cup Standings with his 2nd place win Sunday, March 24, 2013 at Auto ClubSpeedway for the Auto Club 400 in Fontana, California. (Photo by Harold Hinson for Chevrolet)
The following is a compilation of quotes from Larry McReynolds, NASCAR On FOX/SPEED Analyst, and NASCAR Nationwide Series driver and SPEED analyst, Elliott Sadler. Each shared some candid opinions on NASCAR Race Hub after a wild weekend of racing at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, Calif.
Co-host Steve Byrnes talked to both about the escalating conflict between Denny Hamlin and Joey Logano…
Elliott Sadler: Me, as another race car driver; I understand if Joey got loose and slid up into Denny, but listening to his after-the-race comments, where he said that he did what he had to do, and if things didn’t happen last week at that race the way it happened and that it wasn’t going to happen like that this week… pretty much meant to me, Joey, when he went into turn three, if he wasn’t going to win the race, he was going to make sure Denny Hamlin wasn’t going to win the race either. That’s when we started to see the carnage starting to fall apart.
Larry McReynolds: My knee-jerk reaction was; two guys trying to win the race. They were coming through three and four and the checkered flag is waving. After I listened to some of Joey’s interviews in post-race, there definitely was something that was a little bit premeditated. I’m okay with everything that happened. You know what, I love the fact that these guys are about racing for the win. They are not about having a good point’s day, they are not about a solid finish and they are about getting the checkered flag first. The only thing that I didn’t like that Joey Logano said in post-race, was the fact that ‘Denny Hamlin got what he deserved.’ Nobody, no matter what you’ve done, deserves to hit a wall that hard.
Steve Byrnes: Elliott, I love the passion; I agree with Larry Mac. But did Joey let his emotions get the best of him? Did he take his eye off the prize? It looked like Kyle Busch had a big, old head of steam.
Sadler: What I was thinking is, alright, Denny probably got the best of Joey last week in Bristol. Denny was actually in really good position going into turn three – on the outside with the momentum – and we all know being on the outside with these cars is an advantage with these new ‘Gen 6’ car; like that in NASCAR racing, it’s just the way it is. So Joey’s thinking, ‘I’m not going to let this guy get the best of me two weeks in a row. I’m surely not going to let Denny pass me on the outside to win the race.’ So he said, ‘I did what I had to do.’ I’m not putting those words in his mouth; this is what Joey Logano said. (Doing) what he had to do was moving him up the track. I think he was trying to move Denny up the track, slow him down and maybe try to push him in the wall. Whatever happened, it just didn’t turn out the way Joey wanted, move on and go ahead and win the race.
McReynolds: Joey Logano and Denny Hamlin almost fall in the same category as Tony Stewart, they’ve had some fast race cars this year, but they’ve not been able to seal the deal. Here was a day when both of them could smell that checkered flag. They were about a quarter mile from winning that race.
McReynolds also had some additional thoughts on Logano, and the quality of racing that played out at Auto Club Raceway over the weekend.
On Joey Logano…
“I’ve known Joey Logano since he was five, six, seven years old, and Joey Logano is not a dirty racer. He will race people hard, but he will race them fair. But if you just look at Joey Logano’s career; at 18-years old, he’s put in the 20 car to fill the shoes of Tony Stewart. A driver that won 30-something races and two championships, and oh by the way, he’s Kyle Busch and Denny Hamlin’s teammate when they were winning races and making The Chase. I just think that things were always so disjointed over there at Joe Gibbs Racing.”
“As far as Joey Logano… and it’s a very long list, I don’t think Joey went out there hunting these feuds or these rivalries. Think about Kevin Harvick. Take Greg Biffle in the Nationwide Series and Ryan Newman. Now, Denny Hamlin and Tony Stewart, I just think he’s been a victim of some circumstances. You know the pressure is on him to perform because now, he’s Brad Keselowski’s teammate who won the championship last year. I agree 100 percent with (car owner) Roger Penske, Joey Logano was trying to win that race yesterday.”
How does Joey Logano move forward?
“I think he’s got to do what exactly he did after Bristol. You go out there and beat these guys on the race track. That’s the way you get back at them. Clint Bowyer said that as far as Jeff Gordon, in the thing that they’ve had going on for the last year, he said, ‘I finally figured out the best way I can get back at Jeff Gordon is go out and beat Jeff Gordon.’ I think that’s what Joey Logano has to do, and I truly believe that’s what he will do.”
On the tires at Auto Club Speedway…
“I know a lot of fans reached out to me and said that Goodyear just needs to make a tire like we had yesterday at Auto Club Speedway, where you have the give up and you have the drivers wanting fresh tires after eight, nine or 10 laps. Unfortunately, that tire is not that much different from what we run at other tracks.
“The difference is the racing surface. Auto Club Speedway, the surface is almost 15 years old. It doesn’t have a lot of grip. It’s not the tire, it’s the surface. It’s the exact reason, and I know we have to re-pave tracks because you never want to get into the box that we were in (during) the 2010 Daytona 500 with the pot hole, but when I look at tracks like Auto Club Speedway, Homestead-Miami Speedway, Las Vegas, Richmond, Atlanta especially, please put an armed guard… do not let a paving truck anywhere near those race tracks. Patch it, don’t pave it.”