NASCAR chairman Brian France said Tuesday that the contact between Joey Logano and Denny Hamlin as they battled for the win at Fontana over the weekend was just the kind of throwback racing he expects out of his drivers.
"I have said repeatedly that contact, especially late in the race when you are going for a win, that's not only going to happen -- that's expected," France said in a telephone interview with The Associated Press. "Getting some contact, trying to race extra hard to win the race, that's what we're about."
Hamlin suffered a compressed fracture of the L1 vertebra in his lower back when he crashed on the final lap Sunday, and Joe Gibbs Racing said Tuesday that he will be out a minimum of six weeks.
France, who spoke to AP hours before JGR announced Hamlin would not require surgery but needed time to heal, did not think anything was done intentionally by Logano to harm Hamlin.
NASCAR said no penalties were warranted -- not against Tony Stewart for scuffling with Logano after the race, and series officials saw nothing to indicate Logano or Hamlin was trying to intentionally wreck the other. In addition, NASCAR officials have given no thought to policing blocking, which is what Logano did to Stewart on the final restart to trigger the post-race confrontation.
Stewart angrily approached Logano after Sunday's race at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana. There was some shoving, but crew members intervened before any punches landed. Logano threw a water bottle at Stewart.
"We're not going to allow a boxing match to take place," France said. "But we're not going to prevent the emotional exchanges that occur after a race."
The New York Yankees completed a trade with the Los Angeles Angels for outfielder Vernon Wells. New York dealt a pair of minor leaguers to the Angels, who will pay about $28.5 million of the $42 million Wells is owed over the final two seasons of his contract.