What the feud with Matt Kenseth taught Joey Logano about how to approach Kyle Busch
Regardless of how things turn out with Kyle Busch, Joey Logano already has handled it differently than the last time he was embroiled in a high-profile feud.
When Logano made a phone call Tuesday to Kyle Busch to hash out what happened on the final lap at Las Vegas Motor Speedway (and prompted Busch to throw a punch), he corrected what he and crew chief Todd Gordon considered the biggest error of how they handled an upset Matt Kenseth at Kansas Speedway during the 2015 playoffs.
After bumping Kenseth out of the lead for the victory, Logano didn’t call the Joe Gibbs Racing driver. Three weeks later, Kenseth earned a two-race suspension for wrecking Logano from the lead at Martinsville Speedway (and effectively ending the Team Penske driver’s championship hopes).
In an interview a month ago with NBC Sports, Gordon said he made a mistake in advising his driver to stay away from Kenseth – and he predicted Logano would handle things differently if it happened again.
“I probably steered him the wrong way on how we handled the Kansas incident,” Gordon told NBC Sports. “He asked me what I thought, and what we did and how we handled it. My impression (and) how I read the situation, I steered him the wrong way.
“Matt made the comment he didn’t want to hear from him, and I kind of helped push the ‘don’t feed a fire that doesn’t want to be talked to,’ but in hindsight, I think all those situations, no matter what somebody says, they need to be defused. I probably made a mistake on that one.”
In an FS1 interview Tuesday, Logano said he called Busch to “at least tell him my side of the story.”’
NASCAR has indicated that officials will meet with Logano and Busch at Phoenix International Raceway before practice begins Friday. It announced Wednesday there would be no penalties stemming from the incident.
Gordon said he and Logano talked about the Kenseth incident in the offseason before 2016.
“I think it was a learning experience that he’s only gotten better from,” Gordon said. “Everything in life, we all get knocked down before we have to get back up and be successful. I hate that it happened the way it did. In hindsight, I wish I’d did it differently.
“It was a learning experience for me and him as well. And I know if that situation happened today, we would handle it much differently. Joey wouldn’t need me to tell him. At that point (in 2015), we were just … in the maturity of understanding the racing world, probably missed it a little bit. And I’ll shoulder some of that. I probably will shoulder more of it than (Logano).”