During the final laps Sunday at Martinsville Speedway, Denny Hamlin could only hope that Martin Truex Jr. and Joey Logano would take each other out while battling for the win on the final lap.
Truex was leading going into the final turn until Logano put the bumper to the back of Truex and moved him out of the preferred line. Truex tried to pinch Logano down the racetrack and the two crossed the finish line sideways with Logano prevailing.
Denny Hamlin, a five-time winner at Martinsville, had a front row seat to all the action that took place.
“Crash harder. Just crash harder,” Hamlin said post race.
“That’s all I was hoping. I was trying to get as close as I could. Just took me so long to get around the 18 and the 2. Our car just would not take off on the short run, was so exceptionally good on the long run. 40-lap run at the end just was a killer for us.”
Hamlin commented afterward as to whether he viewed Logano’s move as fair or unfair.
“I think it depends who your favorite driver is,” Hamlin said. “The people that don’t like it, people that don’t like Joey, the people that do like Joey. I think it’s just all about who you are, whether they like you or not.
“I think the 22 saw he was in a vulnerable position. They were side-by-side for two laps. The 22 was on the outside. That’s a position where you can’t do anything to the leader. So it looked like to me that he conceded the spot on the white flag lap. Once I saw that he conceded the spot, followed in behind him, I knew we were in for an exciting turn three and four.
“I knew it was coming. Everyone probably saw it was coming. I just think it would have been still a cool battle if they would have just stayed side-by-side. I think the 22 thought he wasn’t going to win that way.”
Despite finishing inside the top-five in three of the last four races, Hamlin will not be eligible to compete for a championship at Homestead-Miami Speedway next month. The driver was eliminated four weeks ago at Charlotte Motor Speedway after Hamlin averaged a finish of 20th in Round 1 of the NASCAR Playoffs.
Matt Courson is the Managing Editor for The Racing Experts. Courson has covered NASCAR events at 19 of the 23 active racetracks. When not at the track, the 20-year-old Journalism major enjoys spending time with family and playing Ingress.