Byron, Logano agree to disagree on whether Darlington score is even

Byron, Logano agree to disagree on whether Darlington score is even
HHP/ChrisOwens

Nearly one week since Joey Logano punted William Byron to take the lead--and the win--at Darlington Raceway, not much has changed between the two drivers.

Logano is unapologetic. The 14-year Cup veteran’s take-no-prisoners philosophy is firm.

If Byron wants to give it a go, Logano says bring it.

“I got fenced, I retaliated, I won the race,” Logano said. “Like I said last week, that’s how it works. I won’t be pushed around. So in my book, we’re back to even. Reset and go again.

“Honestly, if he wants to keep going back and forth, I’ll keep swinging. I don’t think that’s a good play for him in the long run. I feel like we’re even. He was willing to take the lead that way. I was willing to take the lead back the same way. He can keep going. But I can promise you I’ll keep going and I’ll go bigger every time.”

Byron doesn’t believe the drivers are even on the tit-for-tat scale. Not even close. He’s watched a lot of different angles of the laps leading up to the dump-and-run and still sees no justification for Logano’s move.

“It’s the same as what I felt in the race car,” Byron said. “He made a choice in the middle of the corner and got down on my door. What do you do? You either spin out, or it gets close. And it got close.”

Does Logano have one coming?

“No,” Byron said. “I just said it wasn’t even.”

Logano disagrees.

“I haven’t heard from him, wouldn’t expect to,” Logano said with a laugh. “I feel like we went back and forth and now we’re back to zero. If you ask me, we’re good to go. I think to move on would be the smartest move for him as well. I think he’ll think twice before he pinches me on the exit again.”

It’s been a while since Byron has had a rivalry in racing. With the changing complexion of who is running up front, competition becomes a moving target. When it comes to dealing with Logano, Byron has a large support group to help him navigate the situation. As for reaching out to Logano for an explanation or simply diffuse the situation, the Hendrick Motorsports driver feels it’s best to let the racing do the talking.

Still, Byron was understandably hot when he climbed out of the No. 24 Chevrolet last weekend. For the mild-mannered 24-year-old, the name-calling was uncharacteristic. In the heat of the moment, however, Byron’s words were not unexpected.

“It’s just natural,” Byron said. “I just go with my gut. Probably since maybe Super Late Models, Legends Cars, for sure, nobody one has seen me in that position. I haven’t gotten wrecked—well, besides Brad (Keselowski) that one time at Daytona—but that’s just a natural reaction.

“I act a certain way when things go well and act a certain way when they don’t.”

Generally, Byron doesn’t feel the need to be on defense outside of the normal back-and-forth of racing. In his seven seasons in NASCAR, he hasn’t earned the reputation of an overly aggressive driver. Until this year in Cup, Byron wasn’t racing against the elite drivers at the front of the field on a weekly basis. But after winning two races and sitting second in the standings, the tide is starting to change.

Will the time come when Byron needs to stand up for himself on and off of the race track?

“Yeah. The guys on the race track know what I put up with and what I don’t,” Byron said. “I don’t feel taken advantage of. Last week, I felt a little bit different but it’s all situational. I haven’t felt that way in my racing career at this point.

“I race well with a lot of the veteran guys, a lot of the younger guys. If I feel wronged, then I handle it the way I see fit.”

Byron said he was over the incident the moment he pulled into Kansas Speedway. It was best to focus on the task at hand, not the unpleasantry of Darlington.

“But you don’t forget how people race,” Byron added.

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