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Denny Hamlin Has Some Issues with Joey Logano

JGR’s wheelman of the No. 11 Toyota implies his Championship 4 chances were foiled by Team Penske’s two-time NASCAR Cup Series victor.   

By Andrew Woodin
Split of Denny Hamlin Joey Logano

All year long, Denny Hamlin’s impassioned quest to prove that he's more than capable of ending his Championship 4 drought provided substantial ammunition for the Joe Gibbs Racing veteran to battle any competitor that stood in his way.

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He licked his wounds after dustups with Ross Chastain, Kyle Larson and Chase Elliott while enduring bouts of harsh criticism that he soaked up like a sponge. Relishing crowd boos after his sensational wins at Bristol and Pocono, Hamlin welcomed the moniker of NASCAR’s villain, beaming his signature, cheeky smile ear to ear. Even in his must-win situation at Martinsville this past Sunday, he proclaimed that he enjoyed the high-octane competition with race winner Ryan Blaney. That said, there was another Team Penske wheelman who managed to irk Mr. Unflappable: Joey Logano.

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After finishing third on the Virginia track, Hamlin — who recently notched his 51st Cup Series win at the famed Bristol Night Race to garner the title of the driver with the most wins but no title — saluted Blaney for his consistent speed on the half-mile track. But he made sure to call out Blaney’s teammate Logano for his wrecking-ball tactics.

Denny Hamlin

“It was fun, I mean it really was, to race the 12 [Blaney], and you had some other guys up there with some different agendas,” Hamlin told NASCAR reporter Noah Lewis. “I don’t love the way the 22 [Logano] was racing guys that had earned their position to race for a championship. He’s kind of knocking guys out of the way.”

“I think if the roles were reversed,” continued Hamlin, “he’d probably have a little problem with that.”

Hamlin was referencing how Logano hit the back of Ty Gibbs’ Toyota Camry — a teammate of Hamlin on Joe Gibbs Racing — which spun Gibbs around and caused an impact with Chastain, Austin Cindric, Michael McDowell, Brad Keselowski and Daniel Suarez. The incident wiped away any chance for Keselowski to remain in contention, while also sending Suarez to the garage.

Hamlin’s beef with Logano is nothing new, but Martinsville surely fanned the flames a bit. In 2019, the roles were reversed after Hamlin put Logano into the wall at Turn 4, causing serious damage to Team Penske’s No. 22 Ford Mustang. After the race, Logano exited his car, confronted Hamlin and then all hell broke loose when Logano slapped Hamlin in the shoulder.          

RELATED: One Year Later, Ross Chastain Reminisces about Infamous Wall Maneuver at Martinsville

“We were having a discussion, everything was civil and then, like Joey does, he does a little push and then runs away,” Hamlin revealed at the time. “That’s Joey. He said, ‘Do you want to go?’ I said, ‘Yes, I’m here,’ but then he runs away.”

When pressed further about the altercation, Hamlin went on to mock Logano, doing his best impression of No. 22 when he said, “Ah, it’s just short track racing.”

Logano fired back moments later that Hamlin had “ruined” his day and was “not apologetic at all.”

“I don’t really know what happened once he started hitting me, he didn’t lift, he just kept finishing me off,” stated Logano. “Little frustrated with the situation, wanted to talk to him about it, maybe I shouldn’t have shoved him at the end. It may have escalated a little more. It’s frustrating. There’s a lot of passion out there.”

Joey Logano speaks to media during a press conference prior to practice for the NASCAR Cup Series at Auto Club Speedway

Fast-forward to 2023, and the irony of Hamlin’s issue with Logano is that it stemmed from a prior beef between Logano and Gibbs — not Hamlin. JGR’s wily veteran revealed on his Actions Detrimental podcast how he discovered the origin of the problem.

“I texted Joey after the race, and I said, ‘Hey, why would you do that?’ Because it looked terrible,” Hamlin said on the podcast episode. “The No. 22 [Logano] is a car-length back from the No. 54 [Gibbs]. Just power drives him into the corner, into me. I nearly wreck. It just destroys the No. 54. It causes a huge pile up. I just wanted clarification from Logano.”

But the answer Hamlin received wasn’t the one he as expecting.

RELATED: Ryan Blaney Says "Hack" Dig at Denny Hamlin Was Half Joking

“I just didn’t know like, ‘Why did you do that? Were you trying to hit him into me,’ because that’s what it felt like. That’s what it looked like,” continued Hamlin. “Then I remembered, I was like, he brought up, ‘Well, me and Ty have been going at it here for the last, certain amount of time.’ And I’m like, ‘Oh, that’s right.’ Ty talked to me about this one the way to the race-track on Saturday.”

“From Ty’s perspective, he had been used up by Joey for the greater part of the season, and Ty says, ‘Listen, over the past few weeks, I’ve pushed back,’ and he’s like, ‘I don’t know how to handle it. What’s the best way?’” Hamlin added. “So, my advice to Ty was extend the olive branch first. When he catches you next time, let him go. He’ll notice it.”

Despite saying he sees both sides, Hamlin’s sticking with his teammate at JGR Racing, Gibbs, who’s the 21-year-old grandson of the team’s legendary owner, Joe Gibbs.

“I definitely side a little bit on Ty’s side here, that he was just running a race,” Hamlin said. “He didn’t do anything ill-willed towards the No. 22, on that restart. The No. 22 just used him up, and in turn it knocked us up. So, I didn’t quite understand it, and then I realized, ‘Oh, these two have beef, that’s where this is coming from,’ but I thought it was a bad look for Joey, for just power driving the kid into the corner, not even giving him a chance and obviously ruining his race.”