In his first major candid interview since the accident with Denny Hamlin at Auto Club Speedway, Joey Logano says he didn't intend to physically harm his former teammate and called their battle for the win a case of plain hard racing.
Talking to ESPN's Marty Smith on Tuesday's episode of SportsCenter, Logano said he was well aware of whom he was racing at the end of the Auto Club 400 and decided that he was going to do whatever it took to win.
"Did I intentionally wreck him," Logano hypothetically asked. "No, I did not intentionally do that. If I was going to do that I would have hit him in the left-rear tire. I hit him in the door. It was hard racing at that point.
"I hate that he got hurt. I feel like the comments after the race that I made were taken way out of context. My mind wasn't straight and I didn't know Denny was hurt. There was no way for me to know. And it got taken way out of context."
Smith brought up an interview he had conducted with Carl Edwards a few years ago where the Roush-Fenway driver explained that drivers had to stand their ground. Logano agrees whole-heartedly.
"We're racing against the same people every weekend," Logano said. "You have to put your foot down and show them that you're out here to win a race, you're out here to stand strong and you're doing that for your whole team."
Logano also doesn't take a lot of offense to Tony Stewart insinuating that he's a rich kid who never had to work, saying that drivers don't have a lot of time to gather their thoughts in the heat of the moment. He says it was very similar to the comments he made about Hamlin after the Fontana accident.
"Our sport, we don't have time to take a deep breath," Logano said. "Give me 15 minutes to regain my thoughts, and what the heck just happened, and let me watch a replay and see all this. I'm the same Joey Logano I've always been. I'm still happy-go-lucky. I'm very competitive. That's never going to change. I'm still who I've always been. But I don't get walked on."
More from the interview will air on NASCAR Now at 11 p.m. PT on ESPN2.