Joey Logano moves William Byron for Darlington victory
Joey Logano used the bumper at Darlington Raceway to snap a 40-race winless streak Sunday afternoon.
With two laps to go, Logano reeled in then-leader William Byron in Turn 3 and gave the No. 24 Chevrolet a shot to the left-rear bumper, sending Byron into the outside wall and allowing the No. 22 Ford to scoot through for the lead and eventual win. Logano was miffed after he felt Byron put him into the outside wall on an earlier restart while fighting for the lead.
“You’re not gonna put me in the wall and not get anything back; that’s how that works,” Logano told FOX Sports.
MORE: What drivers said
Logano, who led a race-high 107 laps Sunday, was the first to win a race in the Next Gen car, but that victory came in an exhibition race at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum back in February.
“Man, super proud of this Shell Pennzoil team,” Logano said. “Getting a victory here at Darlington ... I’ve never won here in a Cup race before, so proud of this race team. Great execution all day long.”
Byron, meanwhile, went on to finish 13th after significant damage to his car. Byron is tied with Ross Chastain for a series-high two wins this season and signed a three-year contract extension with Hendrick Motorsports earlier this week.
“I mean he runs everybody over, so I don’t see what’s different,” Byron told NBC Sports of Logano. “He does it to everybody and doesn’t even let us finish. He goes in there 10 mph faster. Stupid.”
Sunday’s race was one of attrition as 13 of the 36 entrants failed to finish. Eleven cars were caught up in a Lap 262 pileup following a restart. Martin Truex Jr. spun from fifth place at the exit of Turn 2, forcing others to check up. Most didn’t get the message in time, resulting in race-ending damage for Truex, Kurt Busch, Bubba Wallace, Erik Jones and Cole Custer.
Chastain, the Stage 2 winner, also spun on a Lap 194 restart while battling for the lead with Truex. Chastain got loose at the exit of Turn 2 and crashed into the inside wall, ending his day.
Defending champion Kyle Larson suffered an engine failure after completing 112 of 293 laps and finished 36th.
Completing the top five behind Logano were Tyler Reddick, Justin Haley, Kevin Harvick and Chase Elliott. Christopher Bell, Michael McDowell, Ricky Stenhouse Jr., Austin Dillon and Daniel Suarez rounded out the top 10.
There were no issues in post-race inspection, confirming Logano as the official race winner. The Nos. 2 and 31 cars of Austin Cindric and Justin Haley will be brought back to the NASCAR R&D Center for further teardown inspection.
Stage 1 winner: Joey Logano
Stage 2 winner: Ross Chastain
Who had a good race: In third place, Justin Haley scored his first top-five finish since winning at Daytona in July 2019. ... Kevin Harvick notched his 13th straight top-10 finish at Darlington, breaking a tie with Bill Elliott for the most consecutive top 10s at the track “Too Tough to Tame.” ... Ricky Stenhouse Jr. finished eighth for his third top 10 of the year, eclipsing his 2021 top-10 total (two) after finishing second at Dover last week.
Who had a bad race: 23XI Racing saw both of its cars, wheeled by Bubba Wallace and Kurt Busch, receive heavy damage in the Lap 262 melee. Wallace has failed to finish better than 13th since placing second in the Daytona 500, while Busch suffered his fifth result of 28th or worse in the past seven races. ... Brad Keselowski spun twice Sunday, first on Lap 4 by himself and again at Lap 168 after suffering a flat tire. The second incident ended his day after heavy contact both from the wall and Kyle Busch, who had nowhere to go but Keselowski’s right-front wheel. He finished 34th, a season-worst result and first DNF of 2022.
Notable: Kyle Larson finished 36th with an engine issue on Sunday for his fifth finish of 29th or worse this year in 12 races. He had four finishes of 29th or worse all of last season.
Next race: The series heads to Kansas Speedway on May 15 (3:30 p.m. ET on FS1).