Joey Logano moves on from incident
Stewart, who was so upset over Logano blocking him on the final restart at Auto Club Speedway two weeks ago that he physically attacked the 22-year-old Penske Racing driver and threatened to "bust his ass," appears to have moved on from the incident.
I'm not going to change the way I drive. I don't feel like I do anything that's really disrespectful to other drivers out there. I race really hard. I'm fine with being known as a hard racer.” -- Joey Logano
Asked if he planned to teach Logano a lesson in Sunday's Sprint Cup race at Martinsville, Stewart said, "That was two weeks ago. I'm on Martinsville this weekend. We're trying to figure out what we've got to do to make our race cars go fast this week."
Logano and Stewart still haven't spoken, and neither indicated that would happen.
"We have not talked to each other, but we had an off weekend and time to relax a little bit and cool off, so I feel like that's over," Logano said. "I feel like we're moving on.
"I feel we're both out there trying to improve on what we've got already."
Logano said he doesn't plan to change the way he drives because of what happened with Stewart or former Joe Gibbs Racing teammate Denny Hamlin.
Hamlin is expected to miss up to five races with a compression fracture in his lower back suffered on a last-lap crash with Logano at ACS. He is being replaced by Mark Martin at Martinsville, then Brian Vickers the following week at Texas.
"I'm not going to change the way I drive," Logano said. "I don't feel like I do anything that's really disrespectful to other drivers out there. I race really hard. I'm fine with being known as a hard racer."
Logano said he will race Stewart the same way he would expect Stewart to race him on Sunday.
"Late in the race, I would probably do the same thing if it's the right move at the time," Logano said. "Early in the race, I wouldn't. It's 500 laps here at Martinsville, so there has to be give-and-take.
"This is one of the toughest tracks to get around and passing cars is hard, so patience runs low here. It's a give-and-take race, for sure."
I don't like blocking. I never have. I never will. It's our jobs as drivers to go out there and try to pass people. That's what racing is about.” -- Tony Stewart
Stewart and Logano both maintained their stance on blocking. Stewart is against it; Logano believes it has a place in the sport.
"Every driver is going to have their own opinion," Logano said. "Late in the race, you're going to see that a lot. You're going to see it here. A lot of people are going to do it, and as a driver you have to be ready for that.
"But early in the race it isn't acceptable for a lot of people, and I don't blame them."
Stewart, 22nd in points, doesn't consider it acceptable anywhere but a restrictor plate race -- and he doesn't like it there, either. He was so upset that Logano blocked him at ACS that he cut off Logano's car on pit road, approached him and then shoved him in the chest. A scuffle erupted between the drivers and team members.
Stewart followed that with a verbal assault.
"Dumb little son-of-a-b---- runs us clear down to the infield," Stewart said in a taped interview shown on Fox's live broadcast with the profanities bleeped out. "He wants to b---- about everybody else and he's the one who drives like a little b----. I'm going to bust his ass."
Stewart spent most of his media availability Friday discussing the ethics of blocking and how his block on the final lap at Talladega in the fall, which caused a 25-car pileup, was different than what Logano did to him.
He said there are no options at plate tracks where drivers need the push of another car or pack of cars to make a move.
"I know the last two weeks everybody has tried to make a comparison to the Talladega deal," Stewart said. "Talladega is a little different deal than the rest of it. I don't like it at Dayton and Talladega, either. It's the position we're put in there. What happened at California is a different deal.
"There is a huge difference between the two. I don't like blocking. I never have. I never will. It's our jobs as drivers to go out there and try to pass people. That's what racing is about. We didn't have blocking 10 years ago. I don't know where all of a sudden it became a common deal and some people think it's all right to do now and think it's just common practice.
"I don't believe it should be common practice."
NASCAR doesn't have a rule against blocking, not does it plan to implement one. Officials say it is something that drivers will self-police as they always have.
Stewart says it's "getting increasingly worse," and the fact that drivers are split on whether it's acceptable doesn't help.
Mark Garrow has reaction to ESPN's exclusive interview with Joey Logano over the last-lap California wreck that injured Denny Hamlin.
"Somebody has got to tell us, 'Yeah, that's what we're supposed to do,' or, 'No, we're not supposed to do it,' " he said. "People are kind of split on it. Joey thinks that's all right. That's his opinion on it. I don't think it's right. Obviously, there's drivers that are divided.
"At some point it would be kind of nice to know what the etiquette is. The drivers have always set it. But when we're all divided on it, it's kind of confusing to know what we should be doing or shouldn't be doing."
Stewart's teammate, Ryan Newman, calls blocking "chicken driving." Five-time champion Jimmie Johnson, four-time champion Jeff Gordon, Jeff Burton, point leader Dale Earnhardt Jr. and others say blocking is a part of the sport and acceptable in certain situations.
"To me blocking has always been wide-open and accepted," Gordon said.
Added Stewart: "If that's the case, and that's acceptable, why wouldn't drivers just do it the whole race? If track position is so important, why would you ever give up a spot, whether it's 15 laps to go or 150 laps to go?
"That's where we as drivers have to figure out what's acceptable and what is not. We have to all get on the same page on it or you're going to have more scenarios and more situations where drivers are disagreeing."
Stewart did say he didn't blame Logano for what happened to Hamlin, although Hamlin said Logano intentionally got into him earlier in the week.
"They were racing and that is why they call accidents, accidents," Stewart said. "What happened to Denny, the accident itself was just part of racing. Nobody would do that to anybody intentionally, whether you dislike them, hate them ... it doesn't matter."
Stewart said it was good to get away last week without a television, cell phone or any contact with the media. He didn't expect a call from Logano.
Asked if he thought Logano learned a lesson from what happened, Stewart said, "We won't know until we see how he reacts in that same situation the next time."