Joey Logano and Brad Keselowski could have finished the Daytona 500 first and second back at the season-opening race in February. Instead, the cars ended on the hook, and it started a well-publicized feud between the Penske teammates.
With the NASCAR Cup Series heading to Talladega and the first superspeedway race since Daytona, team owner Roger Penske met with both drivers this week and told him what he expected from them in the race.
Joey Logano and Brad Keselowski start the ‘Big One’ at Daytona
Joey Logano crossed the start-finish line first to take the white flag for the final lap of the Daytona 500. Penske teammate Brad Keselowski was attached to Logano’s rear bumper with a line of cars following close behind.
In that final trip around the 2.5-mile circuit, Keselowski made several moves to the high side and back down with Logano blocking him each time. As the pair approached the final two turns, Keselowski made a quick move to dip below Logano, but the No. 22 car moved down for the block. Then, it happened.
Keselowski tapped Logano’s left rear, which sent him down to the left. The No. 2 car veered hard to the right and slammed into the wall. Kyle Busch, who was trailing behind, slammed into Keselowski’s car, which ignited a fireball.
Michael McDowell, who was running third behind the Penske teammates, slipped through and claimed his first-ever Cup Series win at the Daytona 500.
Joey Logano and Brad Keselowski aren’t on speaking terms
Immediately after the race, Brad Keselowski couldn’t hide his disappointment. The 2012 Cup Series champion, who has never won the Great American Race, knew he wasn’t to blame for the accident.
“Had a big run down the back stretch. Wanted to make the pass to win the Daytona 500,” Keselowski said in the post-race interview. “It ended up really bad. I don’t feel like I made a mistake, but [I] can’t drive everyone else’s car. … Had to run, made the move, it just didn’t work out.”
Several days later, Joey Logano appeared on NASCAR Race Hub and described the incident as “hard racing.” When Adam Alexander asked the 2015 Daytona 500 winner if he had spoken with his teammate about the incident, Logano provided a curious answer.
“I’m sure we will,” he replied.
Jeff Gordon immediately called out Logano and said his answer indicated the pair hadn’t talked.
“I think we’ve got to cool off,” Logano admitted. “We’ve got the cool-down machine plugged in right now.”
Roger Penske addresses drivers before Talladega
A couple of weeks later at Homestead, Fox’s Mike Joy mentioned the strained relationship between Brad Keselowski and Joey Logano and how Roger Penske planned to meet with his drivers before Talladega and address what they should do if that scenario happens again.
With Talladega just a few days away, Keselowski provided an update on the situation and said Penske talked to the drivers about his expectations for the upcoming race.
“We Zoom called yesterday and talked through some different scenarios,” Keselowski told Fox’s Bob Pockrass. “I don’t think there’s any perfect answers, but there’s good spirit, and I’m looking forward to this weekend. I think Talladega is a lot different than the Daytona 500. There’s more room to race. A lot of other different things that go on. The way the cars drive is significantly different. I don’t think I really have a lot of concerns about it to be quite honest.”
Race fans remember what happened at Daytona. If it comes down to the last lap and Logano and Keselowski are anywhere near each other, it could get very interesting.