May 31, 2019 | By Lee Spencer

Alex Bowman likes Joey Logano--just not the way he races

Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images

Could this be the start of a beautiful rivalry?

Alex Bowman took umbrage at the way Joey Logano raced him in the Coca-Cola 600. To be exact, Bowman’s displeasure with the defending NASCAR Cup champion was triggered earlier in the weekend during practice.

On Friday at Pocono, Bowman recounted the incidents.

“He about crashed us in practice,” Bowman said. “Then he drove into Turn 1 and tried to turn us. I don't know. I like Joey a lot. It is what it is. We’re all racing hard. I’m not super mad about it. I just thought it was dumb, that’s all.”

Bowman was running fifth at Charlotte Motor Speedway when Logano challenged him during the final stage. He ended up seventh. Logano, who went on to finish second, had no regrets.

“I race everyone hard,” Logano said after the race. “That’s my job. I race hard. I expect it back. We just race. I was underneath him. It was pretty close. I had my nose there, he was coming down and I just decided not to lift.

“I call it racing. It’s tight. He was trying to keep the position. I was trying to get the position and get underneath him. Once he got to that pocket of air, once he came across my nose then my nose was going to start coming up, and we ended up getting pretty close to each other. I don’t think we ever hit, but we got really close. That’s just hard racing. It’s the Coca-Cola 600. We’re not trying to win a Late Model race. This is a big deal.”

And when Bowman flipped off the driver in the No. 22 Shell/Pennzoil Ford after the incident, Logano likely will remember the insult.

“It was intense out there,” Logano said. “I actually had fun. As much as we were struggling on those restarts and being in the right lane, trying to make the right moves, pushing and shoving. Boy, this rules package is crazy. It’s so intense. There’s crazy stuff happening. It’s a lot of fun.

“It’s nuts. You’re trying to find the right lane in the corners and keep the momentum in the exits. One mistake, you lose so much momentum, you’ll loose four or five spots. It’s intense, but it’s the right stuff for the mile-and-a-half tracks right now. Having the 550 (horsepower) with the drag is putting on a good race so kudos to NASCAR.”

Bowman is one of several Cup drivers who have quickly acclimated to the lower-horsepower, high-downforce package NASCAR introduced this season. After his fourth consecutive top-10 finish last Sunday at Charlotte, Bowman is in the top 10 in the standings for the first time since the Daytona 500 and just the second time in his four full seasons in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series. His three top fives in the first 13 races equal the 26-year-old Tucson native’s career totals in that category.

With his newfound success in the Cup series, Bowman isn’t backing down.

“Everybody has to race everybody hard with this package, right? There’s not a lot of room for give and take,” Bowman added. “But there was a good chunk of the race left. It was pretty unnecessary. I probably wouldn’t have been as mad as I was about it if he hadn’t about crashed us in practice—which was really unnecessary. But it’s all good. He’ll get his, for sure.”

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