The Norman Transcript

Sports

March 16, 2014

Hamlin, Logano learn to co-exist

BRISTOL, Tenn. — Their feud started with some Twitter posts about the closing laps of the Daytona 500 and it heightened three weeks later at Bristol Motor Speedway, where an on-track spin nearly led to post-race fisticuffs.

Things took a turn for the worse between Denny Hamlin and Joey Logano a week later at Fontana when the two drivers refused to give an inch while attempting to win. It led to a crash, a broken vertebra for Hamlin and a destroyed relationship between the former teammates.

As they return this weekend to Bristol a year later, Hamlin has finally put his malevolent feelings toward Logano aside.

“We’re OK,” Hamlin said. “We don’t talk or anything like that more than we should and really no less than we should, I would say. You can hold grudges all you want, but it’s not going to make you any faster and it’s not going to get you any closer to a championship.

“I’m bitter in ways, and in other ways it’s been so long ago and there’s so many trials and tribulations between then and now, that I think I’m a better person now and I think I’m a better driver now.”

Said Logano: “I feel like we’re fine. A year is a long time. It’s over now. I feel like we’ve moved on.”

Hamlin missed almost five full races with his back injury and struggled through constant pain upon his return in May. He refused to end his season early, even when it became apparent he’d miss the Chase for the Sprint Cup championship for the first time in his career.

But in finishing out the year, Hamlin earned his only victory of the season in the finale at Homestead. He carried that momentum through the offseason and was strong during Speedweeks, where he won two races and finished second in the Daytona 500.

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