In the closing laps of last Sunday’s NASCAR Cup Series event at Darlington, things got heated between William Byron and Joey Logano while battling for the victory in the Goodyear 400.
On a late-race restart, Logano and Byron were side-by-side battlings for the lead exiting turn two, resulting in a tight squeeze and some minor wall contact for the Team Penske driver, contact that, in hindsight, he wasn’t very happy about.
As Logano regrouped and reeled in Byron, the race leader, it was fairly evident that the possibility existed for a full-contact finish at the 1.366-mile facility, a theory proved to be true as the field came to start the final lap.
Entering the third corner, in what Logano unambiguously describes as “retaliation”, the No. 22 hit the back of Byron’s Chevrolet, sending him up the track and into the outside wall, forced to limp around the track for a 13th-place result.
Byron, who was approaching a series-leading third win of 2022, was pretty upset about the move, thoughts he made known to Hendrick Vie Chairman, Jeff Gordon, as well as FOX Sports’ Jamie Little – although in a more suitable-for-TV manner.
After the 31-year-old’s move for the victory – dubbed as retaliation — are Logano and Byron on even ground moving forward? The answers vary, and it depends on who you ask.
Joey Logano, the winner of the Goodyear 400, seems to think that things are even between the two drivers, despite heavy criticism throughout the week for not attempting to make a clean pass on Byron, before shoving him into the wall.
“I think what happened last week… happened,” Logano told members of the media on Saturday at Kansas. “I got fenced – I stand by the same stuff I said last week. I got fenced, I retaliated, and I won the race. Like I said last week, that’s kind of how it works.”
“I won’t get pushed around,” Logano continued. “So in my book we’re back to even, we reset, and we go again.”
On the opposite end of things, is William Byron, who limped his Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet around Darlington Raceway for a 13th finish. The fifth-year driver feels the punishment forced upon him, doesn’t accurately the severity of the situation.
“I’ve watched it. I’ve watched a lot of angles, just trying to do our normal review, try to figure out what we can do to control our situation, and then what was done to us that was out of our control,” Byron said. “So, there were definitely things that… definitely caught my attention.”
Upon further review of the situation, the Charlotte, North Carolina-native says that the replays show the same thing that he felt in the car.
“He made a choice, in the middle of a corner got down on my door, and what do you do?” Byron exclaimed. “You either spin out, or it gets close, so it got close.”
As the NASCAR Cup Series moves into the second-third of the season, Byron and Logano aren’t in agreement about the next steps, when it comes to dealing with each other on-track, yet Logano made it very Saturday at Kansas, that he won’t back down, if things get heated again.
“If he wants to keep going back and forth, I’ll keep swinging,” Logano assured. “I don’t think that’s a good play for him in the long run. Like I said, I feel like we’re even, he was willing to take the lead that way and I was willing to take the lead back the same way.”
“So, he can keep going, but I can promise you I’ll keep going and I’ll go bigger every time.”