Joey Logano earned his first win of the 2022 Cup season in controversial fashion, bumping lead driver William Byron in the final laps to steal the checkered flag at Darlington Raceway.
Byron didn’t mince any words when commenting on the Team Penske driver’s actions.
“He’s just an idiot,” Byron said in the post-race interview.
“I mean he just does this stuff all the time. I’ve seen it with other guys. And, he drove in there ten miles an hour too fast. And, with these Next Gen cars, you know, he slammed me so hard it knock the whole right side off the car and no way to make the corner. Yeah, he’s just a moron. He can’t win a race, so he does it that way.”
Logano insisted that his bump-and-run was retaliation for Byron driving him into the wall earlier in the race (Byron says he barely touched him). It’s clear that Logano’s late-race act of desperation was more likely him doing whatever he could to win.
Wherever you fall in the Joey Logano vs. William Byron situation, their simmering feud does go to show Logano’s lack of popularity among other drivers when it comes to his style of racing. He’s been in a number of feuds over the years, but I can’t help but to think back to his incident with Denny Hamlin at Bristol Motor Speedway back in 2013.
Because in this scenario, the shoe was on the other foot.
Joey Logano vs. Denny Hamlin at Bristol
Denny Hamlin and Joey Logano straight-up do not like each other. Their dust-up at Martinsville Speedway in 2019 probably showcases their rivalry the best, after the ensuing fight on pit road ended in Hamlin infamous imitating Logano with his “that’s short track racing” quote.
One of their earliest run-ins, though, came back in 2013 at the Food City 500, after a bump executed by Hamlin got Logano all sorts of fired up.
On lap 349 of the Cup race, Hamlin made contact with Logano, which sent him spinning and ruined his chances of winning. Hamlin (just like Logano would later say of his bump-and-run on Byron) claimed that the move was retaliation for the way Logano raced him earlier that day.
After the race was over, Logano stormed over to Hamlin’s car and leaned into his cockpit to let him know just how steamed he was. This led to some pushing and shoving between Logano’s crew and Hamlin’s crew, before both sides eventually settled down.
As for what Logano said to Hamlin, the Joe Gibbs Racing driver briefly recounted it in a post-race interview.
“He said he was coming for me,” Hamlin said. “I usually don’t see him, so it’s not a factor.”
About a week after the incident, Hamlin later apologized for bumping Logano as well as criticizing his racing skills in their post-race scuffle. Given what we know about the heated history between these two, Hamlin’s apology definitely wasn’t any indication of letting bygones be bygones.