LAS VEGAS â Joey Logano knows the contact with Daniel Suarez wasnât malicious, but that doesnât make him feel any better.
Loganoâs night took a turn Sunday in Stage 2 when contact with Suarez in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs opener at Las Vegas Motor Speedway caused significant damage to the right side and front bumper of his No. 22 Team Penske Ford.
âHe crashed me,â Logano said. âI wasnât too excited about it. It wasnât on purpose; he just made a mistake. Itâs unfortunate that we were the ones that paid the penalty for his mistake.â
Prior to the incident, Logano rocketed from a 22nd-place starting spot to lead in time to win Stage 1. In all, he led a race-high 105 laps during the 267-lap event.
After the contact with Suarez, Loganoâs No. 22 team made repairs under caution from a Lap 189 incident involving playoff driver Kurt Busch. That allowed Logano to rally back for a ninth-place finish and helped him to keep his fifth-place position in the playoff standings.
âWe were really good,â Logano said. âWe had a car that drove all the way to the lead and led a bunch of laps. We need to be proud of that. Weâre not going to let our heads get down on that.â
Although initially hesitant to point fingers, Suarez indicated he had no knowledge Logano was in his vicinity leading to the contact.
âI hate to blame people, but that was my spotter, just didnât say anything,â Suarez said. âAnd I apologized to Joey. Heâs one of the last guys Iâd really want to be in his way. But I donât know. Itâs my bad, though.â
Logano also showed his frustration in-race immediately after the contact, displaying the middle finger to Suarez and forcing the No. 41 car down onto the apron in Turns 1 and 2. The Stewart-Haas Racing driver took no offense to the actions.
âI know Iâve got one from him and heâs going to be good, but I donât blame him,â Suarez said. âI would do the same thing.â