Things may not be as rosy between Danica Patrick and Joey Logano as Logano believes.
Logano said earlier this week he had smoothed things over with Patrick and did not expect retaliation over an incident earlier this month between the two at Charlotte. Patrick cautioned Saturday she will not be pushed around by Logano or anyone else on the race track.
“If he keeps proving that he’s sorry, then everything will be fine,” Patrick said in a measured tone.
Logano spun Patrick during the Oct. 11 race at Charlotte and she was given permission over her team radio to retaliate. She later remarked that wrecking Logano would have no effect on his title chances because he’d already earned a spot in the third round of the Chase for the Sprint Cup championship.
But the points have now been reset and the third round of the Chase begins Sunday at Martinsville Speedway, where Logano starts second. He has three races to earn a spot in the group of final four drivers who will compete for the Sprint Cup title in the Nov. 16 finale at Homestead.
Martinsville, a 0.526-mile paper-clip-shaped track with tight corners, is often a track where payback is delivered. Bumping is often the only way for drivers to pass, tempers can boil over and revenge for past incidents can be made to look like a racing incident.
Logano didn’t seem concerned about Patrick looking for any vengeance on Tuesday, when he said he’d spoken to her about the Oct. 11 race at Charlotte and taken responsibility for spinning her.
“It was one of those points that we were both being very aggressive,” he said. “She was going to, obviously, try to take the spot and come down across me, and I probably should have gave at that point and I didn’t. I told her, really in all honesty, I probably should have backed out in that situation.
“I think we came to a good conclusion of what happened — that’s in the past, that’s in the mirror, and we’ll move forward.”
Patrick said Logano was contrite, but didn’t sound Saturday as if that was enough.
“When we talked, he wanted to say sorry for a few things and he said ‘I don’t expect you to do anything different but I just wanted to let you know that I was sorry,'” she said. “And I said ‘Ok.’ Look, it’s not my style to want to start a fight, but I have to stand up for myself at some point in time.”
Patrick also gave Logano a message that she believed he heard loud and clear based on how he treated her in Saturday’s practice.
“I told him ‘If you see me in your mirrors, you can get me out of your mirrors or you can leave me there and one is more dangerous than the others,'” she said. “That’s what I told him. So he pointed me by in practice before it was too late today. That was a good start.”
Several Chase drivers noted earlier this week there could be high drama on Sunday because of the nature of Martinsville and the stakes for eight drivers in the field.
“Part of the risk you take when you do somebody wrong on purpose is that someday you might get that back,” Matt Kenseth said. “Obviously if you make somebody mad enough, they’re probably going to try to figure out how to do that when it hurts the most. That’s kind of human nature.”