IN THE DRAFT: Adding fuel to the feud

Mar. 27, 2013 @ 05:00 AM

A few years ago when I was umpiring baseball, I was asked to umpire an adult game and I knew most of the men playing. An old friend from high school was playing for the local team. I hadn't seen him in probably 20 to 25 years.

I received a very surprising greeting from him. After saying hello he immediately went into a rampage about how I hit him in the eye with a snowball during high school and he was still upset about it!

If the last two Sundays are any indication, we are going to have an exciting Sprint Cup season and it may not be on the track.

I felt Bristol was going to be a faded memory by the time Denny Hamlin and Joey Logano got to California. Logano didn't like the way Hamlin raced him at Bristol and expressed his displeasure in Hamlin's pit after the race.

I thought after everything Hamlin had gone through with NASCAR, he handled the situation well. I think he thought it was over.

Then they qualified close together at California. Hamlin was on the pole and Logano started sixth.

I didn't expect Logano to be as good as he has been thus far in 2013. Although Logano had good equipment while at Joe Gibbs Racing, evidently he has something he doesn't know how to deal with - a consistently fast race car. Anyway, he is in unknown territory challenging for wins.

So fast forward to the end of the race. Logano leads a lot of laps and the unthinkable happens, Joey and Denny are racing for the win. And do you think for one minute Joey has forgotten about last week? Nope, not a chance.

As they come around turn two for the last time they are banging on each other with neither giving an inch. Finally, between turns three and four, they wreck. Logano hits the outside wall and is able to continue to a third-place finish. Hamlin is not so lucky. He spins and hits the inside wall, with no safer barrier, hitting it so hard all four wheels come off the ground.

I was almost as surprised by Logano's reply to the wreck as I was when my old friend jumped me. He had no idea Hamlin was hurt, but he immediately said Hamlin had it coming to him. I was very surprised he carried that grudge all week and to the checkered flag. If anyone was going to fight over stuff like that it would have been Clint Bowyer and Jeff Gordon last year but they left it up to their crews, and as little as Joey is he might need to think about that. Now he not only has Hamlin upset, he got on Tony Stewart's bad side.

I am sure Stewart has never blocked another driver to maintain position on the race track. I am sure he would never do anything like that with the race on the line. Why did he think he had to settle something with Logano?

Stewart said something about Logano being a rich spoiled brat who only got into racing because of his money. Well, I'm sure Stewart didn't have any help along his journey! I am sure he was living week to week when he started racing.

I think he just wanted some of the spotlight. He has had a rough start to the year, so why not blame someone else? He has never been able to blame himself, only others.

And how did my friend remember me hitting him with a snowball? Even if I did, I am sure it really hurt!

Unlike Hamlin, Stewart or Logano, I apologized to my friend. What for? I don't know. I guess I admitted guilt to something to prevent further damage. In racing though, the damage may already be done.

Have a nice Easter and remember our risen Savior. See you next week!