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Tony Stewart, Joey Logano tangle at Fontana

- jutter@charlotteobserver.com
Sunday, Mar. 24, 2013

The Joey Logano-Denny Hamlin battle on the last lap was only part of the drama surrounding the conclusion of Sunday’s Auto Club 400.

Logano was involved in another altercation immediately after the race and it had nothing to do with Hamlin or last weekend’s race at Bristol, Tenn.

While Logano was standing at his car on pit road, a visibly angry Tony Stewart approached and the two got involved in a physical altercation that eventually included a number of crew members from both teams and Tony Gibson, crew chief for driver Danica Patrick.

Eventually NASCAR officials separated all involved and cleared pit road. NASCAR will, however, review the incident to determine if any penalties are warranted. It was clear from TV replays, several punches were thrown.

Stewart was angry at Logano, who blocked him on the final restart on Lap 190 as Logano tried to take the lead from Kyle Busch.

“It’s time he learns a lesson, he’s run his mouth long enough,” Stewart said of Logano. “He’s nothing but a little rich kid that’s never had to work in his life so he’s gonna learn from what us working guys who had to work our way up how it works.”

Stewart repeatedly has complained during recent years of his disdain for drivers who block – which is not a move prohibited by NASCAR.

Ironically enough, Stewart has caused more than one wreck himself – including a big one last season at Talladega, Ala., – by doing the exact same thing.

Logano said he was trying to do whatever it took to win.

“I had to throw the block there. That was a race for the lead. I felt if (Stewart) got underneath me that was going to be the end of my opportunity to win the race, so I was just trying to protect the spot I had,” Logano said.

Logano also said he wasn’t going full speed because he had to ensure being the second-place car at the time, that he did not beat the leader to the start/finish line, which can result in being black-flagged by NASCAR.

“I’ll talk to him and we’ll see what happens. I think he finished decent,” Logano said of Stewart, who finished 22nd.

Utter: 704-358-5113; Twitter: @jim_utter
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