Pocono Peccadilloes

Jul 20 2010 - 2:24pm

Hope you were watching the final laps at Pocono this weekend.

If you weren’t, you’ll miss out on the whole story and feel clueless.

Long story short, Kevin Harvick tapped Joey Logano into a long slide on the penultimate lap of the Gillette Fusion ProGlide 500. That was dramatic, but what happened later was even more so.

Young Logano, with the aid of father Tom, parked next to Harvick’s car on pit road, scrambled out of the car and went to get in Happy’s face about it.

Of course, Harvick saw him coming and crewed up, preventing Logano from getting closer than about 5 feet. Logano let it rip, Harvick stood there and smirked. Everybody walked off and cooled down.

At the end of the day, there are two thoughts that come to mind. First, Logano had to go do something, or the kick-me sign would be firmly attached to the rear bumper of the 20. While I will admit that the incident itself was more in the manner of a racing deal (they were battling coming to the white, and Logano didn’t crash), he did turn in where he should have.

Harvick was a tick later turning in, and it’s my guess that he did it to make a point.

He did the same thing, much more blatantly, at Bristol in a Nationwide Series race.

Second, young Joey’s post-race comments included a quote that, right now, is the hands-down leader for quote of the year. “His wife wears the firesuit in the family and tells him what to do,” is hysterical when you take it in context, but I wonder if the emotion might not lead to more trouble down the road.

The Harvicks, both of them, are rather intense. DeLana grew up in racing, and she’s seen her share of stuff through the years. Having the 20-year-old Logano bring her into it means that return fire is expected. I give him credit for chutzpah, but it might be one of those things he’ll wish he hadn’t gone with.

Lastly, Joey’s dad is a hockey guy, and hockey is like baseball. You can’t let another player challenge your manhood without reciprocity, or that player owns you. So that’s why Tom went a bit nuts at the car, pushing Billy Byrne out of the way and directing his son to go confront Harvick.

He did it again, with Ralph Sheheen on the way to the hauler, and that’s what drew NASCAR’s attention and resulted in his being called to the hauler after the race. The elder Logano has already had his hard card revoked once in a similar situation, but NASCAR sent its own message: “Don’t interfere with the TV people.”

While I certainly understand the action taken at the car, and can see where he didn’t want Joey to talk to the cameras right then, it’s going to be interesting to see where JGR draws the line with Pops. And when does young Joey begin to fend for himself? Interesting questions, and difficult answers to them.

Denny Hamlin, by the way, won the race, and is putting pressure on Four-Time for hottest driver in the sport right now, along with Kyle Busch. Like I said last week, I’m going to wait a while until I kick dirt in the hole on the 48. We’ve got 12 races to go before the Chase begins, and who has been better in the Chase the last four seasons than the 48?

Tracks didn’t change. There’s still 10 races in it, and Ric Flair said it best: “To be the man, you’ve got to beat the man.”

It’s off to Michigan this weekend, and that’s going to be another fuel mileage event, I’m thinking.

Can Dale Earnhardt Jr. make a dent in the points hole he’s in? Can Denny and Kyle keep the pressure on HMS? Can Harvick and Logano co-exist? Truth to tell, I’d like to see them race together a good bit on Sunday, just to see what happens. Of course, a tap like Harvick delivered at Pocono will no doubt result in wall-banging…and potentially, head-banging!

As an aside, I’m liking the fact that Mad Max Papis is making most of the races. He’s running on a shoestring, comparatively, and making races, which leads to more seat time, more experience and better results.

Here’s hoping Robby Gordon keeps it together. He’s out of the top 35 and missed the race at Pocono, but he’s a heckuva driver in anything you put him in. I’ve seen him do stuff with a car that is unbelievable, and he’s a good guy in the long run.

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