- With rain cancelling qualifying heat races, William Byron started the rain-postponed event at Bristol Motor Speedway from the eighth position.
- The driver of the No. 24 Liberty University Chevy scored stage points in the first stage with his second-place effort. He was poised to score stage points in Stage Two until contact on a late-stage caution relinquished him back to 11th by the time the green-checkered flag flew.
- Byron battled the ever-changing track conditions to cross the finish line in the sixth position for the first dirt race at Bristol Motor Speedway.
- With his sixth-place effort, Byron extended his current top-10 streak to five consecutive races.
- The 23-year-old driver is now sixth in the driver points standings, the highest he’s ever been in his Cup career.
RECAPPING THE RACE
After rain washed out qualifying heat races and postponed the Bristol Motor Speedway race to Monday, Byron started eighth for the dirt event. Running within the top-five for the majority of the first two stages, contact near the end of Stage Two relinquished Byron to just outside the top-10 running order. Showing speed in his No. 24 Liberty University Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 1LE in the closing laps, Byron powered his way from 11th to score a sixth-place finish – his fifth consecutive top-10 finish.
Showing speed in Friday’s practice sessions, Byron and the rest of the NASCAR Cup Series field had to wait until Monday to get back on track after rain cancelled Saturday’s qualifying heat races and pushed back the start of the 250-lap dirt race. However, once the green flag dropped Monday afternoon, Byron quickly worked his way to inside the top-five running order in less than 20 laps. Running third when the first caution of the race came out on Lap 42, Byron reported that he needed more drive off in the corners in his Liberty University Chevy. Continuing his run in the top five, Byron was scored in the fifth position when the competition caution came out on Lap 50. Allowing teams three minutes to make pit stops for the unique event, the Charlotte, North Carolina, native came down pit road to the attention of his team for four tires, fuel, a chassis adjustment and to clean mud off the nose of the No. 24. Retaining his position after the pit stop, Byron restarted fifth but dropped to sixth as the caution came back out almost immediately. Lining up sixth for the ensuing restart, Byron jumped up to third and eventually reached second by the conclusion of Stage One. Once again with three minutes to work on cars, Byron hit pit road under the stage break for four tires, fuel, a chassis adjustment and to clean the nose once again.
Starting the second stage from the second position, Byron settled into third but regained his runner up position by the time the competition caution came out on Lap 150. Still needing help with his drive off, Byron came down pit road during the three-minute break for four tires, fuel, and both a chassis and air pressure adjustment. Rejoining the field in second, a string of cautions on the ensuing restarts forced NASCAR to change further restarts to single-file only. Lining up fourth when the field went back green with 31 laps left in Stage Two, Byron maintained inside the top-five running order until the yellow flag was displayed once again, this time with nine laps remaining in the stage. However, Byron received damage on the restart that hurt his momentum and he slipped back to the 11th position where he ultimately ended Stage Two. Wanting more side bite from the No. 24 Liberty University Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 1LE, Byron came down pit road for four tires, fuel and for the team to make damage repairs from the earlier contact.
Starting the final stage of the dirt event from 11th, Byron quickly began his march back to the front of the field reaching the eighth position by the time the caution came out with four laps to go. Now heading into overtime, Byron lined up eighth when the field went back green, and battled his way to pick up two more positions by the time the checkered flag was displayed – scoring a sixth-place result at the inaugural dirt race at Bristol Motor Speedway.
QUOTING WILLIAM BYRON
“We had a lot of fun today. I felt like we were really good in Stage 1 and 2, and then I got too loose. The car just didn’t have enough to lean on and we struggled on the restarts because of that. We got it really good by the end and came back from eleventh to sixth. It was good; a lot better than I would have thought. We’ll move onto Martinsville and try to win that one.”
THE NEXT RACE
TRACK: MARTINSVILLE SPEEDWAY
DATE: SATURDAY, APRIL 10, 2021
TIME: 7:30 P.M. ET
TUNE-IN: FS1, SIRIUSXM, MRN RADIO