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Logano Removes Gloves, Beats on Byron in Darlington

| Senior Writer, RacinToday.com Monday, May 9 2022

Joey Logano took down William Byron to get Sunday’s win at Darlington. (Photo by James Gilbert/Getty Images)

By Deb Williams | Senior Writer
RacinToday.com

DARLINGTON, S.C. – William Byron normally is even tempered, but shortly after the checkered flag waved on Sunday’s Goodyear 400 at Darlington Raceway the 24-year-old driver unleashed unabated anger on Joey Logano for the tactic the Penske driver used on him with slightly more than a lap remaining to claim the victory.

“I don’t know why he goes in so hard and knocks the shit out of you,” Byron said as he stormed off to his motor coach with media in tow, a scene reminiscent of the Dale Earnhardt days. “It makes no sense.

“We barely touched off (Turn) Two. We had a good clean restart. Everybody on the bottom all day couldn’t get through that bump very good. It was tight. There’s no reason for him to say retaliation. That’s stupid. He does that stuff all the time.”

However, Logano disagreed after snapping a 40-race winless streak with his first victory at the 1.366-mile Darlington track.

“He came off of Turn Two and drove me right into the wall,” said Logano, who led eight times for 107 laps, the most of anyone. “I felt the wall and his car all at the same time as I was sandwiched into the fence. At that point, I’m lucky my car isn’t broken. I’m a very angry driver, and I think anyone in the field would probably agree, if someone is going to be willing to do that to you well, the gloves are off at that point. I knew if I got back there what I was going to do and what I had to do.

“I probably would have gone straight to the bump-and-run if it wasn’t for how he got the lead. He checked up into the corner pretty early, so he obviously knew it was coming. We’re equal (now). I don’t think he meant to run me into the wall. The facts are he did. It’s racing … you’re going to have to do what you have to do to get the lead back in the same manner he got it, so that’s kind of how that works.”

The turn two incident over which the two drivers disagreed occurred on lap 268 when the 293-lap race restarted following the ninth and final caution period. It gave Byron the lead for the first and only time.

“Anyone that got the lead was able to at least hold on for a while, and then eventually if your car doesn’t hold on the long run, then it’s going to be hard to fight him off,” crew chief Paul Wolfe said. “Fortunately, our car was good on the long run, and we were able to recover from losing the lead there.”

Logano said he could see Byron’s car getting “pretty tight” the last five or six laps. 

“I could see him … struggling through (turns) three and four in particular, but also a little bit in (turns) one and two,” Logano said. “If I’m going to have a shot at this thing, it was going to be close on the amount of laps and how quickly I can catch him.”

 With 10 laps remaining, Byron led Logano by 0.922 second and had stretched it to slightly more than a second with five to go. Then, as they headed to the white flag, Byron appeared to slow in turns three and four. Logano’s Ford centerpunched Byron’s Chevrolet in the rear, sending him up the track and into the wall. Byron’s Chevrolet sustained two flat tires but limped to a 13th-place finish while Logano snatched a 0.775-second victory over Tyler Reddick. Rounding out the top five, respectively, were Justin Haley, Kevin Harvick and Chase Elliott.

While Byron labeled Logano an “idiot” and a “moron” on FS1 during his post-race interview, the Connecticut native exited his car to a thunderous roar of boos from the fans. When Logano was asked during his post-race interview how he felt about being called a moron, Logano laughed and said, “I’ve been called a lot of things, a lot worse than moron, too.”

“I just witnessed a lot of it when I got out of the car, actually,” Logano continued. “That’s fine. Call me what you want.”

Logano’s victory made him the 10th different winner in 12 races this year. With the parity that exists with the Next Gen car, Wolfe said winning races would continue to be tough.

“We’re still trying to figure out setups, where we want to be,” Wolfe said. “I feel like that will tighten up as we get more opportunities at tracks and guys will start to figure it out when everyone will get closer, and I feel like for sure it will get harder and harder. 

“A lot of guys have speed right now, and I expect that just to get tougher as we go when everyone figures the car out.”

The Cup Series moves to Kansas next weekend with the race scheduled to begin at 3 p.m. ET.

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NASCAR Cup Series Race – 3rd Annual Goodyear 400

Darlington Raceway

Darlington, South Carolina

Sunday, May 8, 2022

  1. (1)  Joey Logano, Ford, 293.
  2. (10)  Tyler Reddick, Chevrolet, 293.
  3. (29)  Justin Haley, Chevrolet, 293.
  4. (35)  Kevin Harvick, Ford, 293.
  5. (34)  Chase Elliott, Chevrolet, 293.
  6. (3)  Christopher Bell, Toyota, 293.
  7. (16)  Michael McDowell, Ford, 293.
  8. (26)  Ricky Stenhouse Jr., Chevrolet, 293.
  9. (14)  Austin Dillon, Chevrolet, 293.
  10. (20)  Daniel Suarez, Chevrolet, 293.
  11. (12)  Aric Almirola, Ford, 293.
  12. (21)  Ty Dillon, Chevrolet, 293.
  13. (9)  William Byron, Chevrolet, 293.
  14. (25)  Harrison Burton #, Ford, 293.
  15. (27)  Todd Gilliland #, Ford, 293.
  16. (18)  Chris Buescher, Ford, 293.
  17. (7)  Ryan Blaney, Ford, 293.
  18. (19)  Austin Cindric #, Ford, 293.
  19. (31)  Cody Ware, Ford, 293.
  20. (13)  Chase Briscoe, Ford, 293.
  21. (22)  Denny Hamlin, Toyota, 292.
  22. (33)  Landon Cassill(i), Chevrolet, 292.
  23. (32)  JJ Yeley(i), Ford, 288.
  24. (4)  Martin Truex Jr., Toyota, Accident, 263.
  25. (11)  Erik Jones, Chevrolet, Accident, 262.
  26. (28)  Cole Custer, Ford, Accident, 260.
  27. (17)  Bubba Wallace, Toyota, Accident, 260.
  28. (6)  Kurt Busch, Toyota, Accident, 260.
  29. (15)  Alex Bowman, Chevrolet, Accident, 255.
  30. (8)  Ross Chastain, Chevrolet, Accident, 194.
  31. (24)  Daniel Hemric(i), Chevrolet, Engine, 188.
  32. (36)  BJ McLeod, Ford, Brakes, 184.
  33. (5)  Kyle Busch, Toyota, Accident, 167.
  34. (23)  Brad Keselowski, Ford, Accident, 166.
  35. (30)  Corey LaJoie, Chevrolet, Accident, 152.
  36. (2)  Kyle Larson, Chevrolet, Engine, 112.

 

Average Speed of Race Winner:  119.158 mph.

Time of Race:  3 Hrs, 21 Mins, 32 Secs. Margin of Victory:  .775 Seconds.

Caution Flags:  9 for 47 laps.

Lead Changes:  24 among 13 drivers.

Lap Leaders:   K. Larson 1-6;J. Logano 7;K. Larson 8-31;J. Logano 32;J. Yeley(i) 33;J. Logano 34-61;K. Busch 62-79;J. Logano 80-93;C. Ware 94;J. Logano 95-135;K. Busch 136;E. Jones 137;K. Harvick 138;M. Truex Jr. 139-165;R. Chastain 166-191;D. Hamlin 192-199;J. Logano 200-208;D. Hamlin 209-242;M. Truex Jr. 243;C. Bell 244-246;T. Reddick 247-256;J. Logano 257-267;W. Byron 268-291;J. Logano 292-293.

Leaders Summary (Driver, Times Lead, Laps Led):  Joey Logano 8 times for 107 laps; Denny Hamlin 2 times for 42 laps; Kyle Larson 2 times for 30 laps; Martin Truex Jr. 2 times for 28 laps; Ross Chastain 1 time for 26 laps; William Byron 1 time for 24 laps; Kyle Busch 2 times for 19 laps; Tyler Reddick 1 time for 10 laps; Christopher Bell 1 time for 3 laps; Cody Ware 1 time for 1 lap; JJ Yeley(i) 1 time for 1 lap; Kevin Harvick 1 time for 1 lap; Erik Jones 1 time for 1 lap.

Stage #1 Top Ten: 22,1,20,18,19,24,11,43,8,23

Stage #2 Top Ten: 1,19,22,11,24,43,20,9,10,99

| Senior Writer, RacinToday.com Monday, May 9 2022
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