Last Sunday’s final lap of the 63rd running of the Daytona 500 was a perfect storm. You had two teammates running 1-2. Both said just how badly that they wanted to get a Daytona 500 triumph — a second for Joey Logano and a first for Brad Keselowski.
As of Friday, the two had yet to speak of the incidents. Joey Logano said that cooler needs needed to prevail first. He also said that it was important for the duo though to speak before Sunday’s race on the same track. They couldn’t afford to let this continue on.
So, the two spoke on Sunday morning.
“We’re fine,” Logano said via his zoom conference after his runner-up in the O’Reilly Auto Parts 253. “We had a good conversation, everything that I would hope it would be, very honest and open. I think everything is going to be good moving forward.
“It was a healthy conversation. I’m glad we waited a few days to cool our jets.”
Logano likened their relationship as teammates as like a marriage.
“When you’re married to somebody, you have to figure it out,” Logano said on Friday. “You’re married. You don’t just leave. You get married, it’s supposed to be forever. And so, when you have conflict or differences of opinion, you have to talk about it. You can’t just roll it up under the rug. It’s not going to work. It’s not healthy. It’s kind of the situation here.
“I will be forced, and he will be forced to work with me. We’re still teammates. We will have to figure this out. We may not have to agree on everything, but we at least have to find a way to move forward, and that is going to be the approach we need to do because going back to the 400 men and women who work at Team Penske, we owe it to them to figure this out and we will fix it. It’s fine.
“Like I said, you can look at this thing three different ways, and there are going to be six different opinions on how the last few laps went, and depending on what seat you’re in, you would pick differently.”
Logano said that it’s maybe not what needs to be said, but what is the goal moving forward. The goal for them is to move on and not say, ‘You raced me hard, so I’m going to race you hard’ and now we’re going to beat the doors off each other and it grows and grows and grows and grows.
“That’s the goal that you can’t have,” he continued. “You can’t seek revenge or just, ‘Well, you made my life hard, so I’m going to make your life hard.’ That’s childish. We’re adults. We’re not doing that. I’m not going to do that for a multiple of reasons. … If you do that, it’s the most selfish thing you can do because you’re not just hurting yourself or hurting him, you’re hurting all the people that work on that car and what did they do to you? They’re the same people that work on my car by the way, so it’s a matter of just saying how do we move forward, not you did this, you did this, you did this.
“It’s, ‘OK, that’s that.’ Start at zero. Clean slate. Never to bring up anything that’s happened six months ago, a year ago, five years ago. If you want to talk about it, that is the time. The best time to talk about it, bring it up, be honest, get it off your chest. If you need to get it of your chest because it makes you feel better, good. That’s going to be healthy, but after that it’s never being brought up again. Never. It’s got to start at zero.”
Keselowski, acknowledged the talk on Sunday too saying that last Sunday was hopefully an anomaly.
“I don’t really think what happened at Daytona big track has anything to do with most of the rest of the season,” Keselowski said. “The speedway races are their own animals, and there’s something to be learned from last week and hopefully we will learn. It’s certainly not a high coming off of last weekend.
“But it’s not the end of the world.”
Is this a rocky relationship still then? Keselowski was the one who wanted Logano to come to the team for 2013 and beyond. The two were close. But over the last couple of seasons, one could say that the two could be growing apart as well.
Keselowski’s contract was up last season. He only got a one year extension. Logano, meanwhile is their future still. Combine this with a run in at Daytona last year and you can sense the friction.
With 10 laps remaining of last years Busch Clash, Logano, moved to block Kyle Busch down the banking in Turn 3 of the 2020 Busch Clash. The duo would spark a six car crash which collected Keselowski when he had no where to go.
“Just got wrecked for no reason,” Keselowski told reporters after the crash during last year’s Clash. ” … just dumb moves being thrown out there. Guys that don’t know what they’re doing, so they throw crazy-ass blocks.
“It’s just ridiculous. We shouldn’t be wrecking all these cars. I’m not Tony Stewart. I’m not as smart as he is and he could say it a lot better than I could, but this is just dumb.”
Keselowski has been adamant and staunchly against blocking on superspeedway’s. He punted William Byron in practice for the 2019 Coke Zero Sugar 400 to send a message. Well, Logano blocked in the Clash and Keselowski was collected. Last Sunday, Logano blocked Keselowski’s run and instead of a Penske 1-2 finish for the 2021 Daytona 500, both were wrecked.
“Don’t feel like I made a mistake but can’t drive everybody’s else car. Frustrating,” Keselowski said following the Daytona 500.
They’ve spoken and Logano feels that they’re fine, but does Keselowski?