Throughout more than 70 years of NASCAR history at Darlington, there are a great number of races that have been decided in the final few laps that are still being talked about today. And the chances are, they'll be talking about the time Joey Logano shoved William Byron out of the way to win Darlington for a long time to come.
After starting on the pole, Joey Logano ran down William Byron in the closing laps and then took the lead by force with two laps to go, laying the bumper to Byron entering Turn 3 with two laps to go before driving away and taking his first win of 2022. Byron, who had been seeking his third win of 2022, ended up 13th after cutting down a tire following contact with the wall.
Goodyear 400 unofficial results
- #22 - Joey Logano
- #8 - Tyler Reddick
- #31 - Justin Haley
- #4 - Kevin Harvick
- #9 - Chase Elliott
- #20 - Christopher Bell
- #34 - Michael McDowell
- #47 - Ricky Stenhouse Jr.
- #3 - Austin Dillon
- #99 - Daniel Suarez
On the final run, Logano felt that William Byron had run him up and into the wall as the two raced for the lead after a restart. And with that in mind, Logano decided to lay down the gauntlet after running Byron's No. 24 over the final 10 laps to put his Team Penske Ford -- painted just like his very first quarter-midget race car -- in Victory Lane.
"You're not gonna put me in the wall and not get anything back. That's how that works," Logano told Fox Sports. "... 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 out there racing right now, this could be you."
Here's more from the fallout from the finish, and an eventful day at Darlington overall.
The Bump and Run
On the other side of the race-deciding contact was Byron, who was left fuming as he drove his battered car back to pit road. Upon exiting his car, Byron was frank about his feelings on Logano -- reporters picked up Byron calling Logano a "piece of s--t" who "can't f--king win unless he drives through everyone" before making more worksafe comments to Fox Sports.
"We were really close off of (turn) two, 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's just an idiot. I mean, 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.
"He's just a moron. He can't win a race, so he does it that way."
Byron may have not had a problem had he been able to hold the gap he had built on Logano, which was just over a second with 10 to go. But over the final few laps, Byron's right rear tire fading and causing a loose condition gave Logano the chance he needed.
Ironically enough, Byron being on the receiving end of contact for the lead came one day after he muscled short tracker Stephen Nasse out of the way to win a super late model race at Nashville Fairgrounds Speedway.
Treacherous Turn 2
After being repaved ahead of last year's Southern 500, Turn 2 at Darlington has become a major problem spot given the abrupt transition from relatively new asphalt to old and worn-out asphalt. Sure enough, Turn 2 proved to be calamity corner throughout the day, ensnaring a number of contenders in major accidents.
After leading 26 laps and winning Stage 2, Ross Chastain looked like he might contend for his third win of the season with under 100 laps to go. But racing for the lead on a Lap 194 restart, Chastain lost it on the exit of Turn 2 and slammed the inside wall, ending his day. Then, Martin Truex Jr. getting sideways under Ricky Stenhouse Jr. triggered a nine-car pileup on Lap 260 that took out a number of cars that had been running in the Top 10, including Denny Hamlin, Kurt Busch, Bubba Wallace, Erik Jones and more.
Sunday's race featured a heavy level of attrition, as just 23 of the 36 cars that started the race were running at the finish -- the fewest of any race this season.
Kyle's garage entry conundrum
After running in the top five and leading 19 laps early, Kyle Busch's day came to an early end when Brad Keselowski had a right front tire go down in front of him off 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 he pulled into the garage area at considerable speed through a pit wall opening he was not supposed to enter, knocking over traffic cones and scattering bystanders. This time around, with the front end of his car broken and unable to steer, Busch opted to simply leave his car at the opening in the pit wall and walk back to his team's hauler.
Track workers had to tow Busch's car away before pit road could be opened, leading to the field running under caution a few laps longer than NASCAR would have cared for. Speaking to Fox Sports, Busch shrugged the matter off by saying his car couldn't corner.
"It's frustrating for having a good M&M's Camry. It was nice to be running top five, lead some laps there," Busch said. "Just felt like we were trying to hone in on the setup: The short run versus the long run, and where we wanted to be good and what was gonna pay dividends at the end of the day. Oh well."
From the finishing order
- 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 wins list. With two more wins, he will become just the 29th driver in NASCAR history to have scored 30 or more Cup wins.
- Tyler Reddick continues to be a perpetual bridesmaid, as Sunday marked the fifth time that he has finished second in his Cup career. That's frustrating, but hardly unprecedented -- back in the day, Harry Gant finished second 10 times before finally winning, and Bill Elliott was runner-up eight times before he finally broke through at Riverside. More recently, Chase Elliott finished second eight times before his first win in 2018.
- Justin Haley made his way to the front late in the race, driving up into the top five on the final restart before finishing third. If you exclude his Daytona win in 2019 -- where Haley's crew kept him on the racetrack while the leaders pitted, successfully gambling that an imminent lightning storm would end the race -- that's by far the best finish of his Cup career.
- Chase Elliott had a strong run after crashing in practice on Saturday, taking a backup car and driving all the way through the field multiple times to finish fifth. Elliott was running a throwback paint scheme to longtime independent driver Jimmy Means, who had a best finish of seventh in a Cup career that lasted from 1976 to 1993.
- The attrition level aided several drivers who has run in mid-pack throughout the day to strong finishes. 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) got his fourth top 15 finish of the year.
- Harrison Burton was the highest-finishing rookie in 14th, besting Todd Gilliland who ran 15th. Both drivers scored their best-career finish.
- An attaboy to Cody Ware, who scored a 19th place finish driving a Mike Stefanik throwback. That's the best finish ever for Ware on a non-superspeedway.
- Kyle Larson was the first car out of the race, finishing 36th after suffering engine failure 112 laps in. After failing to finish just twice in all of his championship season a year ago, Larson now has four DNFs in 12 races.
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.