NASCAR Cup Series in Darlington winner: Joey Logano takes checkered flag after collision with William Byron

NASCAR Cup Series in Darlington winner: Joey Logano takes checkered flag after collision with William Byron

Throughout more than 70 years of NASCAR history in Darlington, there are a large number of races decided in the last few rounds that are still talked about. And chances are they’re talking about the time Joey Logano pushed William Byron out of the way to win Darlington for a long time.

After starting on the pole, Joey Logano knocked over William Byron on the closing laps and then took the lead with two laps to go, putting the bumper in front of Byron entering Turn 3 with two laps to go before pulling away and took his first win of 2022. Byron, who was looking for his third win of 2022, finished 13th after dropping a tire after contacting the wall.

Goodyear 400 unofficial results

  1. #22 – Joey Logano
  2. #8 – Tyler Reddick
  3. #31 – Justin Haley
  4. #4 – Kevin Harvick
  5. #9 – Chase Elliott
  6. #20 – Christopher Bell
  7. #34 – Michael McDowell
  8. #47 – Ricky Stenhouse Jr.
  9. #3 – Austin Dillon
  10. #99 – Daniel Suarez

On the final run, Logano felt like William Byron had run him into the wall as the two raced for the lead after a restart. And with that in mind, Logano decided to take up the gauntlet after driving Byron’s number 24 in the last 10 laps to put his Team Penske Ford — painted just like his first-ever quarter-midget race car — into Victory Lane.

“You’re not going to stick me in the wall and get nothing in return. That’s how it works,” Logano told Fox Sports. “… The coolest thing is getting this car in Victory Lane. This is the car where it all started for me in ’95 in a quarter midget. Really, honestly, all the young kids racing now, this one should you can be.”

Here’s more of the ramifications of the finish and an eventful day in Darlington in general.

The Bump and Run

On the other side of the race-deciding contact was Byron, who was left furious as he drove his battered car back to the pit lane. As he got out of his car, Byron was candid about his feelings about Logano — reporters picked up Byron who called Logano a “piece of s–t” that “can’t win unless he rides through everyone else” before making more job-safe comments to Fox Sports.

“We were really close to (turn) two, and I think it startled him and got him tight and he was right up against the wall and I got the lead,” Byron said. “He’s just an idiot. I mean, he does this all the time. I’ve seen it with other guys. He was going 10 miles an hour too fast there, and with these Next Gen cars, he hit me so hard it knocked the whole right side of the car and no way to make the turn.

“He’s just an idiot. He can’t win a race, so he does it that way.”

Byron might not have had a problem if he could have closed the gap he built on Logano, which was just over a second with 10 to go. But in the last few laps, Byron’s right rear tire that faded and a loose condition gave Logano the chance he needed.

Ironically, Byron came on the receiving end of the contact for the lead a day after he muscled short track speeder Stephen Nasse out of the way to win a super late model race at the Nashville Fairgrounds Speedway.

Treacherous Turn 2

After being re-surfaced for last year’s Southern 500, Turn 2 at Darlington has become a major problem area given the abrupt transition from relatively new tarmac to old and worn tarmac. Sure enough, Turn 2 turned out to be a disastrous turn all day, ensnaring a number of major accident contenders.

After leading 26 laps and winning stage 2, it looked like Ross Chastain could be battling for his third win of the season with less than 100 laps to go. But while racing for the lead on a restart on lap 194, Chastain lost it exiting Turn 2 and slammed into the inside wall, ending his day. When Martin Truex Jr. sideways under Ricky Stenhouse Jr. caused a nine-car collision on lap 260 that knocked a number of cars out of the Top 10, including Denny Hamlin, Kurt Busch, Bubba Wallace, Erik Jones and more.

Sunday’s race saw a severe level of attrition as only 23 of the 36 cars that started the race crossed the finish line – the least of all races this season.

Kyle’s Garage Entry Riddle

After finishing in the top five and leading 19 laps early, Kyle Busch’s day came to an early end when Brad Keselowski dropped a front right tire in Turn 2, leading to the continuation of a strange Darlington saga that started last September.

In last year’s Southern 500, Busch was fined $50,000 for unsafe driving after entering the garage at considerable speed through an opening in the pit wall, he was banned from entering, knocking over traffic cones and shattering bystanders. This time, with the front of his car broken and unable to steer, Busch chose to simply leave his car at the pit wall opening and walk back to his team’s trailer.

Rail workers had to tow Busch’s car before the pit lane could be opened, cautiously leaving the field a few laps longer than NASCAR would have cared for. Speaking to Fox Sports, Busch shrugged off by saying his car couldn’t turn.

“It’s frustrating to have a good M&M’s Camry. It was fun to be in the top five and lead a few laps there,” said Busch. “It just felt like we were trying to fine-tune the setup: short term versus long term, and where we wanted to be good and what would pay dividends at the end of the day. Oh well.”

From the finishing job

  • With his 28th career win, Joey Logano is now tied with Hall of Famer Rex White and Carl Edwards for 29th on the all-time win list. With two more wins, he becomes just the 29th driver in NASCAR history to have 30 or more Cup wins.
  • Tyler Reddick remains a perpetual bridesmaid as Sunday marked the fifth time he finished second in his Cup career. That’s frustrating, but hardly unprecedented — previously Harry Gant finished runner-up ten times before finally winning, and Bill Elliott was second eight times before finally breaking through at Riverside. More recently, Chase Elliott finished runner-up eight times for his first win in 2018.
  • Justin Haley came out late in the race and rode into the top five on the final restart before finishing third. If you factor in his 2019 Daytona win – where Haley’s crew kept him on the track while the leaders made pit stops, successfully betting that an impending thunderstorm would end the race – that’s by far the best finish to his cup career .
  • Chase Elliott had a strong run after crashing in practice on Saturday, taking a backup car and crossing the field multiple times to finish fifth. Elliott performed a throwback paint scheme to longtime independent driver Jimmy Means, who finished best in seventh in a Cup career that lasted from 1976 to 1993.
  • The level of exhaustion helped several drivers who rode in the middle of the pack all day to a strong finish. Michael McDowell (7th) scored his third top 10 in the last four races, Ricky Stenhouse Jr. (8th) scored his second top 10 in a row and Ty Dillon (12th) took his fourth top 15 finish of the year.
  • Harrison Burton was the best finishing rookie in 14th place beating Todd Gilliland who finished 15th. Both drivers scored their best career finishes.
  • An attaboy for Cody Ware, who took 19th place in a return of Mike Stefanik. That’s the best finish ever for Ware on a non-superspeedway.
  • Kyle Larson was the first car to emerge from the race, finishing 36th after suffering engine failure in 112 laps. After finishing only twice in his championship season a year ago, Larson now has four DNFs in 12 races.

Next race

The NASCAR Cup Series heads west to the plains of Kansas Speedway for the AdventHealth 400, next Sunday at 3 p.m. ET on FS1.