NASCAR

NASCAR Cup Darlington: Logano nudges Byron to grab victory

Joey Logano ran down William Byron and nudged him out of the way with one lap remaining at Darlington Speedway to claim his first NASCAR Cup Series win of 2022.

Byron had moved into the lead for the first time on Lap 268 of 293 but as the final laps ticked down, Logano was quickly gaining on the leader.

With one lap remaining, Logano pulled up right behind Byron’s #24 Chevrolet entering Turn 3, bumped him from behind and up the track to grab the lead.

Byron ended up hitting the wall on the final lap and Logano held off Tyler Reddick by 0.775 seconds to win Sunday’s race at Darlington, snapping a 40-race winless streak.

Having started on pole, Logano held off a late charge from Ross Chastain to take the Stage 1 win, his first stage victory of the 2022 season.

The Penske driver held that lead through the opening flurry of laps in the second stage, with Chastain still in pursuit, but dropped behind Martin Truex Jr and Tyler Reddick during a cycle of green-flag pitstops.

After Chastain then took advantage of a Brad Keselowski incident – in which the RFK Racing co-owner collected Kyle Busch to bring out a caution – to dip into the pits and cycle out in front to take the stage two win, the Trackhouse driver crashed out at the start of the third stage while racing with Denny Hamlin.

Hamlin had the lead through the caution, but on the restart Logano retook control of the race – albeit for nine laps as Hamlin then moved up to the front once more.

Denny Hamlin, Joe Gibbs Racing, FedEx Express Toyota Camry

Denny Hamlin, Joe Gibbs Racing, FedEx Express Toyota Camry

Photo by: John Harrelson / NKP / Motorsport Images

But once Hendrick’s Alex Bowman slammed into the Turn 2 wall on Lap 255 to bring out the eighth caution of the race, all lead-lap cars came in to pit – with Logano the first to get out of the pitlane.

On the following restart Truex checked up on the exit of Turn 2, which triggered a multi-car wreck – as Byron was in Logano’s wheeltracks for the return to green-flag running on lap 268.

Byron then powered to the lead out of Turn 2 after the restart as Logano dropped to second, and maintained about a half-second advantage with five laps left.

But Logano’s pass at the climax of the race secured him his first Cup win in over a year, his previous victory being the Bristol Dirt Race last March.

Kaulig Racing’s Justin Haley ended up third ahead of Kevin Harvick, while Dover winner Chase Elliott was fifth, after having to start the race from the rear of the field in his back-up car. Elliott retains his lead of the points standings.

Christopher Bell claimed sixth ahead of Michael McDowell, as Ricky Stenhouse, Austin Dillon and Daniel Suarez completed the top 10 – Suarez rescuing a solid result for Trackhouse after Chastain’s crash.

Byron was classified 13th after his last-lap contact with the wall, behind Aric Almirola and Ty Dillon.

NASCAR Cup Darlington race results – 293 laps

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