LONG POND, Pa. – J.D. Gibbs winced as soon as he said it.
At the end of a successful, yet frustrating, and surreal day for Joe Gibb Racing, standing between two NASCAR officials’ haulers in a howling wind at Pocono Raceway, he’d indulged in a little levity.
“We’re here to give you something to write about. We got it all covered,” he laughed. “Win a race ... start a fight.”
Call it the Joe Gibbs Racing hat trick. Denny Hamlin won the race. Pole-winner Kyle Busch finished second and Joey Logano – along with his father, Tom Logano – created a pit road spectacle highlighting a renewal of hostilities with Kevin Harvick on Sunday in the Gillette Fusion ProGlide 500.
And as a bonus Logano scored the barb of the year so far at Harvick’s expense.
“His wife wears the fire suit in the family and tells him what to do. It’s probably not his fault,’’ Logano said of DeLana Harvick, who has long worn team fire suits on the pit box during races.
In an ironic twist, the 20-year-old Logano’s ever-present father was the focus of NASCAR’s post-race attentions for allegedly shoving a television reporter after a clash with Harvick’s crew. No penalties will be levied, however, said Sprint Cup series director John Darby.
Logano is apparently still trying to earn Harvick’s respect, or patience. Harvick spun him for fifth place late in the Nationwide race in Bristol in March, and again on the final lap of the originally scheduled 200 on Sunday.
"It is what it is, it's just ridiculous," Logano said. "I don't know what I've ever done to (anger Harvick), but he's apparently stupid."
Harvick crew chief Gil Martin insisted that television replays showed Logano cut down on the No. 29 Chevrolet. Harvick finished fourth.
Logano rallied from 30th for a 13th-place finish because of the wreck, which sent Kasey Kahne’s No. 9 Ford soaring.
Logano wasn’t seeing the bright side at the finish, however. He drove toward Harvick’s crew, which had massed around the No. 29 Chevrolet, and revved the engine.
“If his foot had slipped off the brake, right there, he would have crushed about three people’s legs and we all know what would have happened,” Martin said. “If that were to happen, it would have been an all-out brawl on pit road, which nobody wanted to see.”
Both Gibbs and Darby dismissed the assertion.
Despite the orders of crew chief Greg Zipadelli to “get back right now” over the team’s radio, Logano confronted Harvick verbally through his wall of crewmen with his father nearby.
“You get out of the car and you want to talk to the guy and see what’s going on and there’s 6,000 crew members there (so) you can’t go up and talk,” Logano said. “I mean, I don’t know how you’re supposed to settle something if you can’t even talk to the guy. There’s no talking to him anyway.”
Team owner Joe Gibbs even seemed surprised by Logano’s reaction.
“I think we probably missed the fire that's inside of Joey,” he said, adding that he rarely polices his drivers and lets them handle issues on their own.
"But it has been kind of a situation where he's the young guy and probably knocked around some," Gibbs said. "You kind of hate to see that, but we think he'll do the right thing. ... Generally, Joey is going to take the high road."
Logano finally stormed away with his father, red-eyed, red-cheeked and pulling his hair as he reached his hauler.
Darby said NASCAR “didn’t see any necessary harm or foul,” between the drivers at any point, but called Tom Logano to the hauler for a refresher on the role and decorum of credentialed parents.
Darby said Tom Logano “moved a television broadcaster (TNT’s Ralph Sheheen) in a way we didn’t appreciate.” Logano will not lose his “hard card,” as he did last October after a confrontation with Greg Biffle after a Nationwide race in Fontana, Calif.
NASCAR said it was up to Joey Logano and Harvick to settle their personal issues. They can save that for another strange day.
The Associated Press contributed.