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Stewart, Logano say feud cooling

Rocket run: Jimmie Johnson sets a track record in winning the pole at Martinsville Speedway.

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Rocket run: Jimmie Johnson sets a track record in winning the pole at Martinsville Speedway.

MARTINSVILLE, Va. — Tony Stewart and Joey Logano say their dustup is over. They just haven't said it to each other.

The drivers tangled two weeks ago at the end of the NASCAR Sprint Cup race in Fontana, Calif. Stewart thought Logano had blocked him in the closing laps. Stewart parked his car near Logano's and approached him. There was shoving, but crew members broke it up before punches were landed.

Stewart said Friday he spent the week off after the race on vacation in Georgia, away from cellphone service and TV. Logano said though he never made an effort to contact the three-time Cup champion, he thinks the break provided everyone with time to "relax a little bit and cool off."

That doesn't mean their feud can't fire up again. And if there's a track where close racing can lead to torn-up cars and injured feelings in a hurry, it's Sunday's venue, tiny Martinsville Speedway's tricky 0.526-mile oval.

Stewart, concerned after practice his team's three cars were not performing as well as he would have liked, said he wasn't sure if the lesson he tried to teach Logano after the last race had registered. "We won't know that until we see how he reacts in the same situation the next time," he said.

Logano isn't sure he would do anything differently, especially while going for a victory.

"For the last 10 laps I thought it was a great race and an awesome race," he said. "We were racing really hard, and we go in the corner, and I shoved up into him. I guess you can take some blame for that, but it's just hard racing."

Stewart and Jeff Burton said Logano is likely feeling pressure after moving from Joe Gibbs Racing to Roger Penske Racing this season. Burton said Logano would do well to listen more.

When confronted with an issue from something on the track, Burton said, "I don't think (Logano) handles it very well. He doesn't just step back and say, 'You know what, okay, let me listen to what you're saying.' … He tends to resist, as if (he thinks), 'I'm right, I'm right, I'm right.'

Johnson on pole: Jimmie Johnson, a seven-time winner at Martinsville Speedway, set a track record with a lap at 98.400 mph, leading six drivers who broke Stewart's record speed of 98.083 in qualifying for Sunday's Sprint Cup STP Gas Booster 500. It was Johnson's 30th career pole and third in 23 starts at Martinsville. Marcos Ambrose (98.364 mph) will start second.

Trucks: Jeb Burton (96.666 mph) earned the pole for today's Kroger 250 at Martinsville Speedway.

NHRA: Antron Brown (Top Fuel), Robert Hight (Funny Car) and Mike Edwards (Pro Stock) led the first day of qualifying at the Nationals in Las Vegas.

Stewart, Logano say feud cooling 04/05/13 [Last modified: Saturday, April 6, 2013 12:10am]
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