Joey Logano used a bump-and-run on William Byron to take the lead with two laps to go and went on to win Sunday’s NASCAR Cup Series Goodyear 400 at Darlington Raceway.
Logano, who started from the pole, took 24 laps following a restart to track down Byron and challenge for the lead.
The Team Penske driver made contact with the rear bumper of Byron’s No. 24 Chevrolet as they entered Turn 3, sending Byron up the track where he made contact with the wall and fell back.
Logano took the checkered flag, his first points victory of the season, ahead of Tyler Reddick.
For Logano, who led 108 laps, it’s his first career win at the track “Too Tough To Tame.” His winning move was retaliation for a run-in with Byron on the final restart that saw Logano get pinched into the outside wall.
“You’re not going to put me in the wall and not get anything back, that’s how that works,” Logano said on the frontstretch afterward.
Logano later said that “There’s something to be said for an angry race car driver. I’m telling you there’s a little bit more speed in the tank when you tick me off a little bit.”
After leading those 24 laps, Byron right-side tires were cut down from the contact with the wall and he finished 13th.
Byron didn’t take kindly to Logano’s move.
“We were really close off of (Turn) 2 and I think it spooked (Logano) and got him tight, and he was right against the wall and I got the lead,” Byron said “He’s just an idiot. 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. … 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.”
Logano said he views him and Byron as “equal,” with his bump-and-run being proper retaliation .
“He came off a Turn 2 and drove me right into the wall,” Logano said. “At that point I’m lucky my car’s not broken and I’m a very angry driver. And I think anyone in the field would probably agree if someone’s gonna be willing to do that to you the gloves are off at that point. I knew if I got back there what I was gonna do and what I had to do. That was the way he wanted to race. So I said ‘let’s go.’ … He obviously knew is coming, he checked up into the corner pretty early.”
For Logano, it’s his first points win since the Bristol dirt race in 2021.
The 107 laps led are his most this year and the most since he led 143 laps at Phoenix in spring 2021.
Joey Logano's bump-n-run on William Byron at Darlington. pic.twitter.com/OJ4a9WY2iU— FOX: NASCAR (@NASCARONFOX) May 8, 2022
The top five was completed by Justin Haley, Kevin Harvick and Chase Elliott.
For Haley, it’s his second career top five in Cup. The first came when he won the rain-shortened summer race at Daytona in 2019.
Elliott’s result came after he wrecked in practice Saturday and had to start from the rear in a backup car.
The top 10 was rounded out by Christopher Bell, Michael McDowell, Ricky Stenhouse Jr., Austin Dillon and Daniel Suarez.
McDowell’s seventh-place finish is his fourth top 10 of the season and his third in the last four races.
The surprises in the top 10 are a result of a 293-lap race that saw many contenders eliminated in wrecks, including a nine-car pileup with on a restart with 30 laps to go. The number of DNFs in the race, 13, matched the total at Talladega earlier this year.
The nine-car started when Martin Truex Jr. bounced off Stenhouse as they exited Turn 2. The chain reaction eliminated out Truex, Kurt Busch and Bubba Wallace.
The incident also took Denny Hamlin out of contention after he led 42 laps.
Truex had led twice for 28 laps and finished in the top five of both stages before the wreck.
Ross Chastain led 26 laps and won the second stage, only to be taken out at the start of the final stage when he got loose racing underneath Truex and slid nose-first into the inside wall on the backstretch.
Kyle Larson, who led 30 laps, retired from the race after 112 laps when his No. 5 Chevrolet experienced an engine problem. It’s Larson’s fourth DNF of the season through 12 races.
And Kyle Busch, who led 19 laps, was knocked out when he was collected in a wreck. He was running behind Brad Keselowski when his No. 6 Ford cut a tire down, hit wall and then fishtailed into the left-front of Busch’s car.
The contact was enough to make Busch’s No. 18 undrivable. Busch took the damaged car to pit road and stopped it at an entrance to the garage. He got out and stalked to his team’s hauler in frustration.
“Had nowhere to go, just got collected up in something out of our doing,” Busch told Fox Sports 1. “It’s frustrating for having a good M&M’s Camry. It was nice to be running top five, make some laps there and just felt like we’re trying to hone in on the setup, 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.”
Keselowski was also eliminated from the race.