Joey Logano said he is taking what happened last week at Martinsville (Va.) Speedway and moving forward.
“I’m not convinced it was a bad thing,” Logano said Friday of being wrecked by Matt Kenseth in the late stages of the Goody’s 500. “I’m fired up more than ever; my team’s fired up. We were coming off winning three in a row and almost had No. 4. So I’ve got plenty of confidence.
“I’m not looking at the rear-view mirror. I’m looking through the windshield.”
Kenseth, who was 10 laps behind at the time, crashed into Logano, apparently in retaliation for Logano’s bumping Kenseth out of the way en route to winning at Kansas Speedway on Oct. 18.
That would eventually contribute to Kenseth missing a spot in the third round of the Chase, which continues Sunday with the AAA Texas 500 at Texas Motor Speedway.
I’m not convinced it was a bad thing. I’m fired up. My team’s fired up.
But what happened at Martinsville – for which Kenseth was suspended for two races and put on probation until Dec. 31 – also placed Logano in a perilous spot. Appearing to be on the way to his fourth consecutive victory, Logano would end up 37th, putting him in the eighth and final spot in the playoffs. Logano likely needs to either win Sunday or next week at Phoenix to be part of the four-man final round Nov. 22 at Homestead-Miami Speedway.
“I’ve got plenty of confidence,” said Logano, who swept all three races in the second round (Charlotte, Kansas and Talladega). “We’re not out of it. We have plenty of time to get back in it.”
Logano said NASCAR sent a clear signal to drivers with Kenseth’s punishment.
“What messages we’re all trying to receive, or what NASCAR said, whatever their decisions are, a lot of that is not up to me,” Logano said. “I don’t have a horse in that race. NASCAR looked at it the way they needed to and made a decision they felt was right.
“But the message said, ‘You can’t do that.’ ”
Logano likely needs to either win at Texas or next week at Phoenix to be part of the four-man final round at Homestead-Miami Speedway.
Logano said he doesn’t expect to race any differently against Kenseth – who will return for the race at Homestead – or anybody else in the future.
“Our goal when we get to the track is to win the race,” Logano said. “It’s not about revenge or taking anybody out. There’s a pretty cool trophy (at Texas). I want that. I’m going to want (the trophy at Homestead).
“You always look at the way people have raced you before and that determines how you race them. But the ultimate goal is to win the race. You have to be a student of other drivers and how they do things. Any competitor does that. But you can’t consume yourself with (it).”
Logano also stressed he’s made mistakes. At the Texas race last spring, Logano said he tried to block Kevin Harvick, who responded by moving Logano out of the way.
“That’s what I had coming to me,” Logano said. “I knew the chances I was taking. I put myself in that position. I didn’t have a problem with what Kevin did. That’s what I feel like racing is. You make a move like that, you have to know the risk you’re taking.”
Logano said he wasn’t impressed that thousands of fans cheered Kenseth after the wreck at Martinsville.
“Was I surprised by the fans’ reaction?” Logano said. “Yes, I was. I was disgusted by it. It’s not what any racer would expect. But instead of listening to the critics and fans that don’t like men, I’m listening to the fans that I have.”