Joey Logano bumps William Byron to win at Darlington

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I felt like a kid, again, as I watched William Byron run his throwback scheme in the lead at Darlington Raceway.

Driving an homage to Jeff Gordon’s DuPont flames car, Sunday, Byron edged out Joey Logano on the final restart, and put him in the wall in Turn 2.

“We were really close off of (Turn) 2 and I think it spooked him and got him tight, and he was right against the wall and I got the lead,” Byron said.”

He was a lap-and-a-half from scoring his third victory of the 2022 NASCAR Cup Series season.

But then came Logano with the chrome horn.

DARLINGTON, S.C. – MAY 8: Joey Logano, driver of the #22 Shell Pennzoil Ford, and William Byron, driver of the #24 Axalta Chevrolet, race during the NASCAR Cup Series Goodyear 400 at Darlington Raceway on May 8, 2022, in Darlington, South Carolina. Photo: James Gilbert/Getty Images

“Yeah, you’re not going to put me in the wall and not get anything back,” Logano said. “That’s how that works.”

Though he noted in his post-race press conference that he “probably wouldn’t have gone straight to the bump-n-run, if (Byron) didn’t get the lead the way he did.”

Entering Turn 3, he bumped Byron out of the groove and into the wall, and scored his 28th career victory.

“So proud of this race team,” he said. “Great execution all day long. I’ll tell you what, the coolest thing is getting this car into Victory Lane. This is the car where it all started for me back in ’95 in a Quarter Midget. Really honestly all the young kids racing out there right now, this could be you. I’ve got Silver City Quarter Midget Club on the back, all the cool things that went along with this car, and we got it into Victory Lane. It just means so much to me, and I can’t thank Shell enough for letting us do that and Ford, and oh, man, everybody that was along with us.”

It’s his first points-paying win of the season and first on asphalt since Kansas in 2020, a stretch of 49 races.

Tyler Reddick, who sat in the catbird seat in the waning laps, before a caution flew, finished second, while Justin Haley rounded out the podium.

“I was hoping (Byron and Logano) were going to blow their momentum a little bit more than they did, but it didn’t turn out that way,” Reddick said.

“All-in-all, it was a good rebound for our No. 8 3CHI Chevrolet team. We pitted for a vibration pretty early in the race that could have derailed our whole day, but we were able to bounce back from it.”

“This isn’t the best car we’ve brought to the race track unloading after practice,” Haley said. “But we just kept after it all day. Some great strategy from this No. 31 LeafFilter Gutter Protection Chevy team. We had a good restart there at the end and we just kind of hung on. We didn’t have a fourth-place car (SIC), but it’s a great finish. This was my best Cup finish besides that win. To do it here at Darlington (Raceway), to get a fourth, it’s pretty special.

“It was a good run. We’ll take this to next week and see what we can do at Kansas (Speedway).”

Kevin Harvick and Chase Elliott rounded out the top-five

Christopher BellMichael McDowellRicky Stenhouse Jr.Austin Dillon and Daniel Suarez rounded out the top-10.

Byron limped home to a 13th-place finish.

“He’s just an idiot,” he said. “He does this stuff all the time. I’ve seen it with other guys.

“He drove in there 10 miles an hour too fast, and with these Next-Gen cars, he slammed me so hard it knocked the whole right side off the car and no way to make the corner.

“Yeah, he’s just a moron. He can’t win a race so it does it that way. I don’t know, we’ll — yeah, it was close racing on the restart. We were faster than him. Obviously at the end the right rear started to go away, and yeah, he didn’t even make it a contest.

Joey Logano bumps William Byron to win at Darlington

Race summary

Stage 1

DARLINGTON, S.C. – MAY 8: NASCAR Hall of Famer Richard Petty waves the green flag to start the NASCAR Cup Series Goodyear 400 at Darlington Raceway on May 8, 2022, in Darlington, South Carolina. Photo: Emilee Chinn/Getty Images

Logano led the field to green at 3:42 p.m., but Kyle Larson beat him to the line to lead the first lap. He pulled away from Logano and out-ran the field, until the competition caution flew on Lap 31. Logano exited pit road with the race lead and led the field back to green on Lap 36.

Unlike the previous run, Larson reeled in Logano shortly after the restart. He pulled to Logano’s inside through Turns 1 and 2, but lifted off the throttle exiting Turn 2. Which let Busch pull up and overtake him down the backstretch for second on Lap 46. Busch powered by Logano down the frontstretch, and put him in the wall in the process, to take the lead on Lap 63.

After a short stint, Logano reeled in Busch and passed him down the backstretch to retake the lead on Lap 81 and drove on to win the first stage.

During the stage break, Dillon gets busted for speeding on pit road and drops to the rear of the field on the ensuing restart.

Stage 2

DARLINGTON, S.C. – MAY 8: Joey Logano, driver of the #22 Shell Pennzoil Ford, drives during the NASCAR Cup Series Goodyear 400 at Darlington Raceway on May 8, 2022, in Darlington, South Carolina. Photo: James Gilbert/Getty Images

Back to green on Lap 97, Logano led the way, but surrendered the lead to pit on Lap 136. Busch, Erik Jones and Harvick led a lap during the green flag cycle, while Martin Truex Jr. cycled to the lead. Ross Chastain powered by Truex down the backstretch to take the lead on Lap 167 and drove on to win the second stage.

Denny Hamlin exited pit road with the race lead, during the second stage break.

Joey Logano bumps William Byron to win at Darlington

The rest of the race

Following Chastain’s wreck off Turn 2, Logano beat Hamlin on the Lap 201 restart to retake the lead. A few laps later (210), Hamlin edged him at the line to retake it. He maintained it, until he backed off the throttle in Turns 1 and 2 to prepare to duck onto pit road on Lap 243.

Truex drove past him to inherit the lead. Then pitted on Lap 245. Bell led for three laps, before pitting on Lap 248.

Reddick cycled out to the lead, before Alex Bowman pounded the wall in Turn 2 on Lap 261 to set up the run to the finish.

Joey Logano bumps William Byron to win at Darlington

What else happened

Truex got loose off Turn 2 on the restart with 32 laps to go and triggered a nine-car incident.

“Just checked up in front of me and didn’t have enough time,” Bubba Wallace said. “You’re in the wood off of (Turn) 2 there. Just trying to figure out what I did to piss off the racing gods. Another great car and another great finish that was going to be there and a disappointing result. Just frustrating.”

On Lap 55, Larson dove deep into Turn 3 to overtake Busch, but got loose and spun out.

On Lap 113, he made an unscheduled stop with engine issues and retired from the race.

Exiting Turn 2 on Lap 167, Brad Keselowski blew a tire and pounded the wall. He made contact with Kyle Busch, which botched the tow on his car.

“I had nowhere to go and just got collected up in something not of our doing,” Busch said. “It’s frustrating. We had a good M&M’s Camry and it was nice to be able to run in the top-five and lead some laps there. Just felt like we were trying to debate on the setup there between the short run versus the long run and where we wanted to be good and what all was going to pay dividends at the end of the day.”

Busch parked the car at the turn-in to the garage, hopped out and walked back to his hauler.

As to why he parked it where he did?

“I just couldn’t make it turn.”

It should be noted that his left-front tire was bent outward at a severe angle.

Joey Logano bumps William Byron to win at Darlington

Nuts and bolts

The race lasted three hours, 21 minutes and 32 seconds, at an average speed of 119.158 mph. There were 24 lead changes among 13 different drivers and nine cautions for 47 laps.

Elliott leaves Darlington with a 50-point lead.

TOP IMAGE: James Gilbert/Getty Images