William Byron

NEWS

Race Report | Atlanta

Race Report | Atlanta

March 21, 2022

WILLIAM BYRON
NO. 24 LIBERTY UNIVERSITY CHEVROLET CAMARO ZL1
RACE REPORT
 
DATE: MARCH 20, 2022
TRACK: ATLANTA MOTOR SPEEDWAY
SPECS: 3.41-MILE ROAD COURSE
START: 12th
FINISH: 1st
RANK: 4th (-21 POINTS)
 

SPEED READ

  • With rain washing out on-track activity Friday at Atlanta Motor Speedway, William Byron started Sunday’s race from the 12th position due to the qualifying metric in the No. 24 Liberty University Chevrolet Camaro ZL1. 
  • Taking charge early on in the 325-lap race, Byron captured the win in stage one for the second consecutive race. He went on to avoid multiple on-track incidents in stage two, crossing the line in ninth. Controlling the field once again in the closing stretch, Byron held off the field for the remaining nine laps to score the victory at Atlanta Motor Speedway.
  • This is Byron’s third career NASCAR Cup Series win and his first at Atlanta Motor Speedway. 
  • With his win Sunday, Byron propelled himself up to the fourth position in the driver point standings, now only 21 points behind the leader. 

RECAPPING THE RACE

With rain forcing on-track activity to be canceled Friday at Atlanta Motor Speedway, qualifying was cancelled, and William Byron lined up in the 12th position in the No. 24 Liberty University Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 due to the qualifying metric. Within the opening laps, Byron radioed that he though his car was handling much better than it had previously during the lone 50-minute practice session on Saturday. Making his way to the front, the Charlotte, North Carolina, native reached the fourth position by the time the first caution of the race came out on lap 24. With the competition caution coming up on lap 45, crew chief Rudy Fugle made the call to keep his driver on track, allowing him to restart in the third position. Byron quickly jumped to the lead before being shuffled to third when the competition caution occurred. Fighting a Chevy that was a little loose over the run, Byron came down pit road for two right side tires, fuel and an air pressure adjustment. Lining up third when the field went back green, Byron maintained his position before narrowly avoiding the leader spinning on lap 96, which brought out the caution once again. Staying out on track, Byron restarted from the front row for the five-lap dash to the stage end. Byron once again took charge of the lead until the caution came out on lap 102, signaling the end of stage one, and Byron’s second consecutive stage one win of the season. Under the stage break, Byron came down pit road to the attention of his team for four tires and fuel before returning to the track and lining up 20th for the start of the second stage after varying pit strategy played out. 
 
Once the field went green, Byron muscled his way through traffic with ease, reaching the top-five running order by lap 130 before ultimately taking over the lead again, this time on lap 140. Just six laps later, the caution came out and Fugle made the call for his driver to pit for two right side tires and as much fuel as possible. Once again lining up on the front row for the restart Byron wanted the lead and took it on lap 162. As the second stage came to a close, Byron lost his drafting help and the No. 24 Liberty University Chevy was shuffled back to as low as the 13th position before the caution came out on lap 201. Still happy with the handling of his car, Byron came down pit road for four tires and fuel before returning to the field in 12th. With three laps left in the second stage, Byron was able to narrowly miss a spinning car, allowing him to move up to ninth for the stage end. Fugle once again called Byron down pit road, this time for fuel only before returning to the track. 
 
Able to line up on the front row, Byron unfortunately lost his drafting help on the start of the final stage but was able to work himself back inside the top five by the time the caution flag came out on lap 253. Hitting pit road for two right side tires and fuel, Byron quickly turned his attention to taking over the lead again - which he did. With fuel strategy starting to become a factor, most of the Cup Series field began to save fuel, allowing Byron to continue to pace the field until the caution came out on lap 302 and then again on lap 309. Both times, Fugle made the call for Byron to remain on track and keep his track position, pacing the field in the closing laps of the 500-mile event. Byron continued his dominance of the day moving back into the lead on the restart, and despite those trying to de-thrown him, Byron took the lead and never looked back for the final nine laps, scoring his first victory of the 2022 season – and his first at Atlanta Motor Speedway.
 
Byron scored the victory Sunday, leading his Hendrick Motorsports teammates to the checkered flag. Chase Elliott, survived an on-track incident to score a sixth-place finish while Alex Bowman rounded out the top 10, crossing the finish line in 10th. Unfortunately, Kyle Larson was caught up in an on-track incident that relinquished him to a 30th-place finish. 
 
QUOTING WILLIAM BYRON
 
WILLIAM BYRON BRINGS IT HOME FOR HIS THIRD CAREER WIN. YOU JUST GOT OUT OF THE CAR AND SAID “THAT WAS FUN.” YOU HAVE A SUPERSPEEDWAY CAR, AN INTERMEDIATE SET UP - WHAT WAS THIS DAY LIKE IN THE END?
“It was so different. You know honestly the last few laps there, just trying to manage the gap to Bubba (Wallace) and trying to not get too far out front. My spotter Brandon (Lines), it’s his first win so congrats to him and just thanks to this whole team. They’ve done a great job this year. There’s a lot of changes with the Next Gen car. 
“The Liberty University Chevrolet was awesome there. We had a pretty rough practice; worked hard on it and got it handling well. Like I told you, it was kind of an intermediate style with a little bit of superspeedway to it, so it was lot of fun. Thanks to everyone at Hendrick Motorsports. Super exciting.”
 
HOW ABOUT THIS CROWD? PACKED STANDS HERE TO SEE AN ATLANTA RACE LIKE WE’VE NEVER SEEN BEFORE.
“It’s so cool. I think these fans saw one heck of a race. It was certainly long from my seat. It was mentally taxing. Just thanks to all the fans for coming out. Been an awesome weekend. I got the win last night in the Late Model too, so it’s been a lot of fun.”
 
THE NEXT RACE
 
TRACK: CIRCUIT OF THE AMERICAS
DATE: SUNDAY, MARCH 27, 2022
TIME: 3:30 P.M. ET
TUNE-IN: FOX, SIRIUSXM, PRN