Luckily for Joey Logano and his fellow NASCAR drivers, they have a break next weekend to relax over Easter.
They’re going to need it.
In a finish that was wild and chaotic even by NASCAR standards, Kyle Busch swept past a crashing Logano and Denny Hamlin on the final lap Sunday to win the Auto Club 400 in Fontana, Calif.
But the dramatics at Auto Club Speedway were just getting started.
After Busch drove under the checkered flag, Hamlin — who slammed the inside wall head-on after his collision with Logano — slumped after climbing from his car and had to be placed in an ambulance.
Almost simultaneously, Tony Stewart — irate at how Logano had blocked him on the final restart with 11 laps to go — stormed over to Logano on pit road and started a shoving match that forced the drivers’ crews to pull them apart.
Stewart said Logano threw a water bottle at him “like a little girl” and that “it’s time (Logano) learns a lesson.”
And that came one week after Hamlin spun Logano in the closing laps of the race in Bristol, Tenn., prompting Logano to yell at Hamlin after that race and sparking a further war of words between them on Twitter.
Hamlin, who started the Fontana race on the pole, was taken to a nearby hospital for further evaluation.
NASCAR didn’t immediately have an update on his condition. Hamlin’s girlfriend, Jordan Fish, tweeted that Hamlin was “alert
• awake, main concern is his back.”
Busch’s victory was his first Sprint Cup win of the season and the first Cup victory at Auto Club Speedway for his team, Joe Gibbs Racing, whose other drivers include Hamlin.
“I did win the race today. By the way, that might be a story,” Busch said sarcastically.
Logano and Hamlin “were so focused on one another they left the door open,” Busch said. “Sometimes you’ve got to have a little luck on your side.”
Busch also won the Nationwide Series race at Fontana on Saturday.
Vancouver, Wash., native Greg Biffle finished sixth on Sunday, and Enumclaw’s Kasey Kahne took ninth. They are fifth and seventh, respectively, in the driver standings.
James Hinchcliffe passed Helio Castroneves on the final restart to pick up his first career IndyCar Series victory in the season-opening Honda Grand Prix of St. Petersburg (Fla.). … Sebastian Vettel held off Red Bull teammate Mark Webber in a scintillating Formula One battle to win the Malaysian Grand Prix.