Joey Logano wants an apology from Jeff Gordon, and Clint Bowyer is so angry with Gordon, he won’t even discuss the now very public feud.
Meanwhile, on NASCAR’s undercard, Brad Keselowski and Jimmie Johnson are racing for the Sprint Cup title.
The season finale is shaping up to be a knockdown, drag-out, heavyweight fight and it might not have anything to do with the title bout. Keselowski goes into the race Sunday at Homestead-Miami Speedway with a 20-point lead over the five-time champion, and needs only to finish 15th or better to win his first Cup title.
He took a big step Friday by qualifying third in his Penske Racing Dodge. Johnson was 10th in a Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet.
“I totally expected him to out-qualify us, to be quite honest,” Keselowski said. “I was going to be fine with that. At least we were prepared for the worst and that’s not what happened, so I guess we’re OK.”
The pole went to Logano, who is driving his final race for Joe Gibbs Racing. He turned a lap of 176.056 mph in the No. 20 Toyota he’s driven for the last four years, beating Marcos Ambrose, who turned a lap of 175.342 in his Richard Petty Motorsports Ford.
Logano turns his car over next week to Matt Kenseth, and Logano moves to Penske Racing, where he’ll be a teammate to Keselowski on one of the youngest lineups in the Cup garage. But on Sunday, he’ll be trying to close his JGR tenure with a win and won’t be trying to help his future teammate.
Logano knows all too well about getting in the middle of something — it happened to him last weekend at Phoenix when Gordon intentionally wrecked Bowyer as retaliation for contact earlier in the race. The accident collected Logano and Aric Almirola as well, and Keselowski had to dodge his way around it to avoid being collected in the carnage.
It also triggered a garage-area melee between the crews for Bowyer and Gordon, and NASCAR on Monday fined Gordon $100,000 and docked him 25 points in the standings.
Gordon is unapologetic for wrecking Bowyer, explaining Friday their issues date back to Martinsville in April when Bowyer took out both Gordon and Johnson as they raced each other for the lead to give Hendrick Motorsports its 200th victory. But Gordon did admit he felt bad that Logano was involved, and that a phone call between the two during the week did not go well.
“You know, I’m not one that calls right away. I like things to kind of settle down,” Gordon said. “I’d really rather do face-to-face. But he called me and so I called him back, and I can’t say it went exactly very well. I reached out to him again to try to get together with him here at the track, and I have not been able to speak with him.”