NASCAR Pocono Postscript

Denny Hamlin

Sunday's Sprint Cup event at the Pocono Raceway began with a lengthy rain delay. But even the mood of mother nature paled in comparison to the storm that came at the end of the race. We watched the development of NASCAR's latest driver feud. We watched a driver's father try to launch a pit road melee and then listened to his son verbally attack a competitor's wife. We watched two team mates launch a Pocono big one in the middle of a green-white-checker finish. Oh yes, Denny Hamlin had a very good day in Pennsylvania. With those thoughts in mind, let's begin with:

WHAT’S-UP with that Kevin Harvick and Joey Logano pit road deal? I've often wondered exactly what it would take to get Logano angry. He's had his fair share of victim's moments in the past and perhaps Pocono was the final straw. But I'm not so sure he was the victim of an intentional act in this case. To me it resembled more like a racing deal that was intensified by the fact that it occurred during the final moments of the race.

In all fairness, Logano does get a THUMBS-UP for keeping that spinning car off of the wall. It was a very impressive sight.

Anyone who thought there was going to be a pit road fist fight after the race apparently didn't immediately notice the collection of Richard Childress crew members who gathered around their driver, Harvick, after Logano climbed out of his car. Some of those guys resembled linebackers from the National Football League and there was no way the slight of frame Logano was going to penetrate that line.

Apparently the angry driver's father, Tom Logano, didn't see those guys. He also apparently didn't see TNT Network reporter Ralph Sheheen standing by his son hoping to get a live interview. Dad shoved the reporter aside and told his son to go after Harvick.

This is not the first time that Tom Logano has taken on his son's business after a race. In fact, following a past incident, NASCAR actually temporarily pulled his NASCAR hard card. Logano was summoned to NASCAR's oval office where the general feeling seems to be the drivers should settle things between themselves. It appears there will be no sanctions against the dad although NASCAR made it clear they were less than pleased with his behavior.


But the matter wasn't over yet. A THUMBS-UP goes out to Kevin Harvick for the calm and professional demeanor he displayed during a post race television interview. He referred to the incident as a racing deal and made it clear that the contact between them going into the turn was not intentional.

This was an intelligent move from the race driver, team owner and businessman. Harvick's Sprint Cup team, owned by Richard Childress Racing, is diligently searching for a new primary sponsor to replace Shell/Penzoil who will be moving to Penske Racing next year. Meanwhile Kevin Harvick Inc is also seeking a replacement sponsor for their NASCAR Camping World Truck Series team driven by Ron Hornaday Jr. Recent changes in federal law will soon prohibit tobacco companies from advertising their products with racing teams among other public venues. Those new changes will become effective later this month which means that Longhorn Smokeless Tobacco will no longer be able to sponsor the Hornaday race truck. In short, this is no time for Harvick to be creating controversy on live national television.

Harvick quickly changed the focus of the television interview to thanking his team for a well prepared car and all of their hard work that led to a fourth place finish in the race. When asked if he planned to talk to Logano later in the week he grinned and said "you can't talk to him, he's twenty years old."

Logano was understandably frustrated after the race. His Joe Gibbs Racing team mates, Denny Hamlin and Kyle Busch, finished one-two in the race and he was in the process of giving the Gibbs organization three cars in the top five finishing order before having to settle for 13th.

But Logano's inexperience in dealing with these post race situations really displayed itself when he said "I don't know what his problem is with me. His wife wears the fire suit in the family and tells him what to do. It's probably not his fault."

That turned out to be a WHAT’S-UP of major proportions. The remark was no sooner made when a legion of observers began yelling things like "foul, low blow, out of bounds and inappropriate." You focus your anger on the person who caused it. You don't spread the frustration to include wives and other members of the family. Also, you don't display moments like that on national television. Simply put: DeLana Harvick didn't deserve that verbal shot.


The comments on NASCAR themed television programming and "Twitter" came fast and furious and the following ones selected all deserve THUMBS-UPS.

Kevin Harvick on "Twitter": "After his comment on TV I don't know if he wants to fight me or DeLana. My money's on her."

John Roberts on the SPEED Channel: "do you think DeLana could beat him up?"

NASCAR Sprint Cup team owner Michael Waltrip on "Twitter": "we have a unanimous decision, the Harvicks in a knock out."

Dale Earnhardt Jr on "Twitter": "Joey Logano needs to learn some manners. Go after Kevin Harvick but don't even go after DeLana Harvick she had nothing to do with it."

Kenny Wallace on the SPEED Channel: "I have to be careful, the Loganos are my neighbors."

Kenny Wallace on two different "Twitter" messages later on the day: "Joey Logano comes to our house-good person. But, it's embarrassing when a father wants to fight a son's battles. After reading all of the tweets, I don't like Joey Logano's dad up his son's ass when he's walking around the garage. Let Joey fight his fights."

Indy Racing League driver Tony Kanaan ,from the SPEED Channel's "Wind Tunnel" program, regarding Tom Logano: "you don't need mom and dad in there. Dad needs to be sitting in the grandstands with popcorn and a Diet Pepsi."

The most elegant "Twitter" response of all came from DeLana Harvick herself when she wrote: "with age comes wisdom and respect, enough said."


DeLana Harvick also deserves a double THUMBS-UP for seizing opportunity when she sees it. She apparently contacted the manufacturer who produces the souvenirs for Kevin Harvick Inc. Now there's a new T shirt available that reads: "I WEAR THE FIRESUIT IN THIS FAMILY." The shirt, designed for ladies to wear, sells for the nominal price of $15 and can be ordered through the team's official website.


WHAT’S-UP with Joe Gibbs Racing pulling the plug on Joey Logano's scheduled appearance on ESPN2's "NASCAR Now" program Monday afternoon? JGR's President J D Gibbs did the interview in place of Logano. Gibbs said despite the fact that they had a good team meeting on Monday morning, it was felt that Logano needed an extra day to cool down so it was decided that he would fill in for the young driver. Gibbs described the Pocono incident with Harvick as a racing deal fueled by pure emotion. Regarding the presence of Tom Logano, Gibbs said that he has been helping the organization in other areas and last Sunday was actually the first time he has been in his son's pit area in quite awhile. Talk about someone fighting Joey's battles.


WHAT’S-UP with the contact between Richard Petty Motorsports team mates that triggered a multi car crash on the final lap of the Pocono race? A J Allmendinger, vying for a top ten finish, darted to the low side and blocked team mate Kasey Kahne. The ensuing contact sent Kahne into the wet grass and then back across the track in front of oncoming race traffic. Kahne's car was hit so hard his rear tires bounced off of the top of the retaining wall. The final result was a nine car pile up that eliminated some of the top performing teams.

WHAT’S-UP with that comment Kasey Kahne made that shed some unwanted light on the team mate situation at Richard Petty Motorsports? During the post wreck interview Kahne was asked if he would be talking to Allmendinger about the incident. Kahne curtly replied "I don't really talk to A J ever and I doubt I'll talk about this." You've got to think that the weekly post race team meeting was a little tense at RPM this week.

THUMBS-UP to Tony Stewart for that most interesting comment on the restarts following the rash of yellow flags that were seen during the final 50 laps of the Pocono race. "The restarts were idiotic," Stewart said adding "I've seen some of the worst driving I've ever seen in my life in a professional series right here today. So for anybody that's looking for drama for the next couple of races, start looking because I can promise I'm going to start making the high light reel the next couple of weeks."


By the way, during all of this Pocono drama there really was a victory lane celebration. THUMBS-UP to race winner Denny Hamlin and team mate Kyle Busch for their one-two finish for Joe Gibbs Racing. It marked Hamlin's fourth victory of the 2010 Sprint Cup season, his fourth win at Pocono and his 12th career win.

Another THUMBS-UP goes to Hamlin for that excellent restart, that launched the green-white-checker finish that led to his latest win.

THUMBS-UP to Hamlin for also winning his team's betting pool on how long the pre race rain delay was going to last.

THUMBS-UP to Hamlin for those magnificent victory burn outs after the race. But that leads to a WHAT’S-UP with Hamlin losing control of his winning race car and hitting the wall during that celebration? Talk about leaving a mark.

THUMBS-UP to the SPEED Channel's Jimmy Spencer of observing that the "Pocono Indians pushed the wall in."


THUMBS-UP to Brad Keselowski for winning the NASCAR Nationwide Series race Saturday at the Nashville Super Speedway. He completely dominated the event which meant he didn't have to steal the win on the final lap as in the case of his previous two wins. Keselowski also increased his lead in the championship standings to 196 points over Kyle Busch who didn't race at Nashville.

A double THUMBS-UP goes to the Nashville Super Speedway who donated portions of their ticket sales to provide relief to the victims of the recent floods in the Nashville area.

WHAT’S-UP with the song "Sweet Home Alabama" being played over the Nashville Super Speedway's public address system as soon as the race was over?

THUMBS-UP to "the Onion" in the cowboy hat. Todd Bodine won the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race Friday night at the Texas Motor Speedway. The event was another one of those famous green-white-checker finish the series is noted for. It was his first win of the season, his 18th career series win and his sixth win at the Texas Motor Speedway which is a series's record. Bodine also increased his lead in the championship standings to 65 points over Aric Almirola.


THUMBS-UP and happy anniversary. Sunday's Sprint Cup race at Pocono marked the fist official anniversary of the series' using the double file, shoot out style, restart program. Thank you NASCAR for bringing that wonderful program to the Sprint Cup.

THUMBS-UP to driver Kevin Harvick for declining an invitation, from the TNT Television Network, to get in a little golf practice during the rain delay prior to the Sprint Cup race. TNT wanted Harvick to take a seven iron and chip a golf ball at a motor home that was occupied by NASCAR President Mike Helton. Declining the invitation was a good call by Harvick although I personally would have loved to see him do it.

The final WHAT’S-UP of the week involves the re broadcast of the NASCAR Nationwide Series race, on ESPN2, and the Camping World Truck Series race, on SPEED, being presented late Saturday night at the exact same time. Schedule conflicts forced me to miss the original broadcasts Friday and Saturday. When the race I was watching went into a commercial break I would hit the recall button on the television remote to catch up on the other race. Then I discovered that I was out of the cheddar cheese needed for the pre planned midnight NASCAR nachos.

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