NASCAR race ends in heated feud between Logano and Harvick

Convinced that one of his rivals carelessly wrecked him just as the race neared its end, a furious NASCAR driver parked his car next to his rival's when the race was over, climbed out and launched a verbal attack on his foe as crew members and officials strained to keep the two apart.

Joey Logano on Sunday? Yes. But also Kevin Harvick seven years ago.

Logano is the rising star at Joe Gibbs Racing who, at 20, is in his second year in NASCAR's Sprint Cup Series. He's already won one Cup race and yet, until Sunday, also had a reputation for turning the other cheek when rivals bumped him around.

So how pertinent it was that when Logano finally decided he'd had enough, it would be Harvick, 34, on the receiving end at Pocono Raceway after the race won by Denny Hamlin.

After all, it was a 27-year-old Harvick who similarly went after Ricky Rudd at the end of a 2003 Cup race in Richmond, Va., after Rudd put his bumper into the back of Harvick's car.

There was one difference Sunday: Logano's father, Tom, was right there next to his son's No. 20 Toyota, and by all appearances was urging the younger Logano to give Harvick a piece of his mind.

After their cars touched, Logano went into a spin and was left in 13th place. Harvick, who leads the Cup standings, finished fourth.

Perhaps Tom Logano knows Harvick's history, or at least checks out clips of past NASCAR skirmishes on YouTube.com, where one can watch how Harvick himself over the years has demonstrably demanded from Rudd and other drivers that he be respected on the track.

In a post-race TV interview Sunday, Joey Logano went so far as to take a swipe at Harvick's wife, DeLana, who typically wears a racing suit similar to the one worn by her husband while she watches him drive the No. 29 Chevrolet from atop Harvick's pit box.

"I don't know what [Harvick's] problem is with me but it's probably not his fault," Logano said. "His wife wears the fire suit in the family and tells him what to do."

Harvick later was asked if he would talk to Logano about the incident, and Harvick reportedly dismissed the notion by saying, "You can't talk to him, he's 20." And later Sunday, DeLana Harvick wrote on her Twitter page that "with age comes wisdom and respect. Enough said."

But perhaps that's not enough said, because Kevin Harvick himself has shown age has little to do with NASCAR drivers staking their ground and losing their tempers.

Harvick was seven years older than Logano when the Bakersfield native felt it was necessary to go after Rudd. The year before that, an angry Harvick also had a post-race skirmish with Greg Biffle in Bristol, Tenn.

In 2007, there was Harvick — then age 31— in a shoving match with Juan Pablo Montoya after they collided at Watkins Glen, N.Y. The next year, Harvick and Carl Edwards got into a heated argument in another NASCAR garage.

Only a week ago, Jeff Burton lashed out at Kyle Busch after the Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte, N.C., and Burton not only is 42 but is considered a voice of reason among NASCAR drivers.

Driver rivalries are part of NASCAR's fabric and age isn't a factor. Experience is.

On the TNT telecast of Sunday's Pocono race, analyst and former NASCAR racer Kyle Petty said, "Joey has to stand up for himself at some point in time. You're seeing Joey say, 'I'm not going to take this anymore, especially from Kevin Harvick,' because he and Kevin just seem to find the same place on the race track all the time."

We'll see if they find each other again Sunday at Michigan International Speedway and in two weeks at Infineon Raceway in Sonoma, Calif., a 10-turn road course where Cup drivers spend the whole race rubbing fenders.

Infineon is the type of track where Harvick, Logano and some other drivers might end up having another heated exchange — in no uncertain terms and no matter their age.

james.peltz@latimes.com

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