NASCAR Fontana 2013: Denny Hamlin and Joey Logano feud escalates after last lap crash

Jeff Gross

Joey Logano and Denny Hamlin shared the headlines all week after what took place last weekend at Bristol Motor Speedway, so it's only fitting that the pair found themselves fighting for the lead late in Sunday's Sprint Cup race at Auto Club Speedway.

Hamlin had come back from 16th on the final restart, and on much fresher tires, chased down Logano for the top spot, exchanging the lead several times over the final five laps. The two raced side-by-side during the final lap in a battle that climaxed when their cars made contact in turn three, slowing their momentum and allowing a distant Kyle Busch to close and ultimately score the victory.

Hamlin and Logano continued to make contact coming out of turn four and resulted in Hamlin's car getting spun and darting violently into a section of the inside retaining wall unprotected by the SAFER barrier. Logano slid up against the outside retaining wall and finished third.

Logano was unapologetic after the incident and essentially said that Hamlin got what he deserved after what happened at Bristol, not knowing that Hamlin would have to be airlifted to a local hospital.

"He probably shouldn't have done what he did last week, so that's what he gets," Logano told TV after the race. "And besides that, I think our Auto Club Ford was very strong all day. I was very happy with the car we had. We were super-fast, led a lot of laps.

"Nothing to hang our head down about, that's for sure -- we were very proud of that."

Hamlin had made contact with Logano during a previous restart and the two raced near each other all day. Hamlin had started second with Logano lining up just two rows behind - they never really had a chance to separate.

Hamlin finished 25th after slamming the wall and failing to complete the race. He was initially treated in the infield care center but helicoptered out to a nearby hospital for further evaluation.

Today's incident comes one week after Hamlin spun Logano in the closing laps of last week's Sprint Cup Series race at Bristol. The drivers were racing for second and Hamlin turned Logano into the wall. The pair exchanged words in the garage and the drivers had to be separated by their respective crews.

The Sprint Cup Series will take a week off before heading to Martinsville on April 7. With the flat-banked half-mile being one of Hamlin's best circuits and Logano starting to show consistent speed, this feud could be far from over.

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