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So, is the ball now in Joey Logano's court...or Kevin Harvick's? Who has more at stake?

 Kevin Harvick: Making points with Joey Logano....but is Logano listening? (Photo: Getty Images for NASCAR)

   By Mike Mulhern

   BROOKLYN, Mich.
   So what will Joey Logano do now?
   That seems to be a big question here this weekend, after a second run-in between newcomer Logano and veteran Kevin Harvick...and in light of a couple of pointed run-ins between Logano and veteran Greg Biffle.
   Or should the question be what will Harvick do? He, after all, is the tour points leader, and thus has more to lose in any future encounters.
   Kyle Busch, who is Logano's teammate, and who has had run-ins of his own lately with teammate Denny Hamlin and with rival Jeff Burton the past few weeks (and Tony Stewart, going back a ways), has a clear-cut view of the Logano-Harvick-Pocono situation. And Busch says flatly that Logano's face-to-face with Harvick post-race on pit road didn't settle anything.
   "I don't think what he did shows anything," Kyle Busch says.
    "I think what will show is if he retaliates.
     "Driving up to somebody on pit road and running your mouth to him isn't a whole lot. That's not that difficult to do.  Everybody's got an opinion, and everybody can let one out."
     So will Logano dish one out to Harvick somewhere along the line before the end of the season?
    "I think Joey is a smarter race car driver than that," Busch says. "And he's not going to stoop to that level.
    "But time will tell...."


     Joey Logano (R) and teammate Kyle Busch: Does Logano drive too hard? (Photo: Getty Images for NASCAR)

    So what really went on down in that corner at Pocono, as Harvick tried to get around Logano for fifth at the end of the race?
    "Joey, I felt, had the right position on the track," Busch says. "Everybody says Joey turned down on him.
     "I'm going to stick up for Joey and say 'Yeah, you have to turn into the corner.' Harvick went straight. 
    "He (Logano) was trying to stay on the patch (good asphalt), and he's the bottom-lane car.  And you'd seen all day that the bottom-lane car shoots to the bottom of the track. 
     "Harvick did hold his line...but Harvick dumped him doing so."

   And then there is the larger picture...the 'big picture.' The championship.
    Is some of this 'boys, have at it' going to backfire on some title-contending drivers? Is some of the racing simply too hard right now, are some drivers simply too aggressive at times? Is some of the driving over-the-line and too, well, mean-spirited?
    Busch has faced criticism over his time in the sport. But he insists "I don't try to race dirty. 
    "I might race hard and might be difficult for some people. But I'm not out there to wreck anybody on purpose. 
    "I try to give the lane. If someone has the lane, then I give it to him....and try to make sure I don't make any enemies. 
    "I know about that: I know about the big picture...and I don't need enemies. 
    "So, to me, you have to make sure that you pick and choose your battles when you want to...and that you don’t make too many of them."
    In fact the number of bruising encounters so far this spring has been somewhat surprising. Interesting for fans to follow, certainly, but not really 'big picture' work.
     That may soon sink into some of these guys heads.
    When the full 36-race tour counted for the championship (before this 10-race chase), "you could throw away a couple races, if you really wanted to have a beef with a guy," Busch says.
   "But now, with the way the chase is -- when it comes down to the last 10 races, you ain't got time to mess with anybody. So you want to make your life as easy as possible in those final 10...so you don't have to race your guts out to try to get by one guy who's a lap down...who's just out there to make your life miserable." 

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