Revenge is a dish that is best served cold. This may not be the case with William Byron.
Driver number 24 put on an impressive regular season in this year’s NASCAR Cup Series. He earned the checkered flag twice (Atlanta, Martinsville), doubled his career win total.
Byron finished the regular season in fifth place, the best showing of his career.
But with these successes also came low points. It’s hard to find many more frustrating moments for a Hendrik Motorsport racer than in May in Darlington.
Byron led 24 laps and seemed to be in a prime position to claim his third win of the season. But with just over a roll, Penske’s Joe Logano shocked Byron out of the lead. Byron would finish thirteenth while Lugano took an easy victory.
The 24-year-old was furious at Lugano’s antics, criticizing the last Cup Series champion for reckless driving.
“[Logano] “Everyone runs, so I don’t see what’s different,” Byron said. He goes there faster 10 miles per hour. Stupid.”
What better place for drivers to fire up beef than in Darlington, then? This time, the lights are a little brighter – it’s match time.
Lugano took center stage in Saturday’s qualifiers. Byron qualified third. It seems entirely possible that the two will see each other at the front of the pack early and often on Sundays.
Byron would only compete for Lugano for a chance of a victory that would automatically propel him to the next qualifying round. It will be interesting to see if there are fireworks added among the skilled racers.
Sporting News tracks live updates from the Southern 500 on Sunday at Darlington Raceway. Tune in to see all the action unfold in the opening race of the 2022 NASCAR Cup Series season.
NASCAR in Darlington Live Updates, Highlights from the Goodyear 400
(All times Eastern.)
7:38 pm: Byron takes the green flag! This is his first stage win since April.
7:36 pm: Flag warning sign! Apparently Chase Elliott hit the wall after settling into a corner. He eventually caught up with a Briscoe chase, but Elliot suffered the brunt of the damage.
His crew has ten minutes to figure out what went wrong and make the necessary changes.
7:33 pm: Our Penske teammates Joey Logano and Ryan Blaney became very conflicted with each other in the first turn. It looks like Logano gave Blaney a bit of a shock and Blaney didn’t budge. Blaney made a pass, moving up to ninth in the process. Lugano outside the top ten.
It really is match time, isn’t it?
7:28 pm: With 15 laps left in the first stage, here’s how the top five line up:
- William Byron
- Kyle Bush
- Denny Hamlin
- Christopher Bell
- Ross Chastain
Martin Truex Jr., who missed the playoffs by a few points, is sixth.
7:25 pm: Larson tells his team that his car is now running smoothly. It is currently at number 35.
7:17 pm: Kyle Larson’s engine is having real problems. He told his crew on the radio that he could hardly see anything. He had to go down the pit path. It looks like his team is pushing him to finish the stage first. But huge problems mount for the Cup Series champion.
7:10 pm: Byron takes the lead! Very easy pass by Hendrick Motorsports driver. Some concerned about Lugano, whose car was off its pace after being fairly comfortable for most of the first 60 laps or so. With the green flag hole looming, it will be necessary for the Lugano crew to fix any problems it encounters.
7:07 pm: With 61 laps, Joey Logano and William Byron put a small distance between themselves and the rest of the field. Third place Christopher Bell is more than two seconds behind Byron, who is sitting in second.
7:02 pm: Kevin Harvick dropped to 34th after he struggled during his pit stop. However, crew chief Rodney Childers doesn’t seem too concerned. It’s a long race after all.
Some trouble at station #4. Harvick now scored 34th.
– Zack Albert (@zack_albert) 4 September 2022
6:56 pm: Kyle Busch lost five points on a pit road because a nut came off his right front tire. He is now sitting in ninth place.
6:52 pm: The warning flag was waved on lap 37. Drivers walk down a pit road to get the adjustments needed to keep going.
6:48 pm: We’re about three laps away from the competition, cautioned not to wave the competition flag. That should help more than a few drivers.
Competition warning now lap 35
Bob Bocrass (@bobpockrass) 4 September 2022
6:45 pm: Austin Dillon secured a place in the playoff with a massive win last week. However, it is not going well so far. Dillon is in 25th place. I’m not too happy with the tightness of his car.
Austin Dillon says he runs like “a** dog.”
– Jordan Bianchi (@Jordan_Bianchi) 4 September 2022
6:41 pm: The green flag was waved and the race was back. Lugano remains firmly in center stage.
6:30 pm: Kevin Harvick tells the pit crew that he’s having some problems with his helmet. It doesn’t seem to cool it properly. That’s not what you want here 11 laps in a 500 mile race.
6:25 pm: Wave the first warning flag! There is a light drizzle on the track. Things shouldn’t be delayed too long, but NASCAR is choosing caution. This is a real redemption for Daniel Suarez, who received a one-lap penalty for failing to inspect.
6:24 pm: Christopher Bell and Joey Logano are cruising back and forth trying to fight for first place. What a start!
6:23 pm: We are far away! Southern 500 underway!
What time does the NASCAR race start?
- a race: south 500
- Date: Sunday 4 September
- start time: 6 p.m. Eastern time
The Southern 500 is listed to start at 6 p.m. ET, although the green flag is scheduled to be waved at 6:19 p.m. ET.