Logano bumped into the No. 24 just prior to taking the white flag of the Goodyear 400 Sunday evening (May 8), sending Byron into the outside wall. Byron went from leading to race to finishing 13th, his fourth straight finish outside the top 10.
Joey Logano's bump-n-run on William Byron at Darlington. pic.twitter.com/OJ4a9WY2iU
— FOX: NASCAR (@NASCARONFOX) May 8, 2022
“He’s just an idiot. I mean he does this stuff all the time,” Byron told FOX Sports 1. “I’ve seen it with other guys. He drove in there 10 miles an hour too fast. With the Next Gen cars, he slammed me so hard, it knocked the whole right side off the car. No way to make the corner.
“He’s just a moron. He can’t win a race, so he does it that way.”
Byron took the lead for the first time of the day on the restart with just 26 laps to go in the race. To take the top spot, he squeezed Logano into the outside wall.
“We were really close off of [turn] 2, and I think it spooked him and got him tight,” Byron said. “He was right against the wall, and I got the lead. It was close racing on the restart. We were faster than him, obviously.”
Byron had checked out to over a one-second lead, but Logano tracked him back down in the closing laps. And as soon as Logano caught the No. 24, he moved him out of the way.
Logano noted after the race that he used the bumper immediately because of the way Byron took the lead.
“At the end, the right rear started to go away,” Byron said. “Yeah, he didn’t even make it a contest.”
Rudy Fugle, Byron’s crew chief, took issue with Logano not trying to pass Byron clean before using the bumper.
“I wish we would’ve had a shot to race him clean there for a lap and a quarter when he got to us, but he took a shot at the back of us, and that’s what happened.” Fugle told Frontstretch. “… You’re coming to the white, so I would’ve loved a shot of him throwing it in on the bottom.
“We were obviously struggling there for the last couple laps. I think it looked like we got really loose. So just trying to get to the finish. It would’ve been great if he had just drove it in on the bottom. I don’t think we tried to block. I think we were trying to do our thing and try to get a run off the top and go race him for a final lap. Everybody wants to be raced at least first, and then things happen. Oh well, we’ll move forward.”
Jeff Gordon, the vice chairman at Hendrick Motorsports and the former driver who Byron’s throwback scheme was honoring, echoed Fugle’s point that Logano could’ve still won by racing clean.
“It’s unfortunate to see a win get taken away from you on the last lap like that,” Gordon said. “Logano’s aggressive, and William’s car was getting really, really loose. So Logano had a shot at him to do it clean and chose to do it a different way.
“I wasn’t in the car. I’m not driving. Those guys have to settle it out there. I would’ve liked to have seen it done different. I’m sure Joey’s going to justify it, and William’s got a payback to Joey at some point. That’s the way it works.”
Sunday wasn’t the first time Logano hit Byron while going for the win. Earlier this season, Logano took a shot at the No. 24 in the closing laps at Martinsville Speedway but Byron was able to hang onto the car and win the race.
As for what’s next in this feud, Fugle won’t tell his young driver what to do.
“I don’t got to tell him anything. He knows what this is about,” Fugle said about Byron. “He’s been doing this for long enough, and so have I. We are all about the process and how to continue to race for the wins like this. That’s what we do is just try to communicate and handle these things well and move forward.
“The shoe may be on the other foot a different time, and you’ll feel different. So it’s just the way these things go, and move onto Kansas.”
A win at Darlington would’ve been Byron’s third on the year. His first two wins came in the first eight races of the season before his current top-10 skid. But despite finishing 13th Sunday, he moved into a tie for second in points, the highest points position he has had all season.
“We’ll move on. We had a good execution all day long,” Fugle said. “Struggled in Dover, wrecked in Dover, and really the strength of this team to show that we can race all day long at this level and this track. So William did great, pit crew did awesome all day long. Just proud of this team. At this point in the year, we just have to move forward and keep bringing fast cars to the track and keep running up front. More wins will come.”
About the author
Michael Massie is a writer for Frontstretch. Massie, a Richmond, Va. native, has been a NASCAR superfan since childhood, when he frequented races at Richmond International Raceway. Massie is a lover of short track racing and travels around to the ones in his region. Outside of motorsports, the Virginia Tech grad can be seen cheering on his beloved Hokies.