- After posting the third-fastest lap time in practice in the No. 24 Valvoline Chevrolet Camaro ZL1, William Byron went on to qualify second for Sunday’s race at the Charlotte Motor Speedway ROVAL.
- Electing to try maximize points, Byron finished stage one in the second position and stage two in the 11th position.
- With track position at a premium, Byron did his best to try work his way through traffic racing his way to just outside the top-15 before ultimately being spun. Able to keep going, Byron went on to score a 16th-place finish Sunday.
- Following the final race of the Round of 12, Byron scored enough points to advance on to the Round of 8 for the first time in his Cup Series career.
- With the points reset for the Round of 8, Byron is now tied for fifth in the playoff point standings, 3 points below the cutline.
RECAPPING THE RACE
On Saturday, William Byron was third fastest overall in practice at the Charlotte Motor Speedway ROVAL and went on to score a second place starting effort in the No. 24 Valvoline Chevrolet Camaro ZL1. When the field went green for Sunday’s race, Byron quickly settled into the second position and continued to run there as the stage went on. Liking the handling of his race car, the Charlotte, North Carolina remained within striking distance of the leader throughout the entire stage. Electing to go for stage points, Rudy Fugle made the call for his driver to remain on track while others pit with a handful of laps remaining in the stage. Byron went on to finish stage one in the second position, scoring crucial stage points. Under the stage break Byron came down pit road for four tires, fuel and an air pressure adjustment.
With the varying pit strategy, Byron lined up 26th for the start of the second stage. Byron was able to move up to 24th within the first couple laps but radioed that his No. 24 Valvoline Chevy lacked rear grip in traffic. The 24-year-old continued to run 24th until green-flag pit stops began with five laps to go in the second stage. Fugle once again had his driver remain on track instead of pitting before the stage break allowing him to gain track position, finishing stage two in the 11th position. When the caution came out for the stage break, Byron came down pit road for four tires, fuel and an air pressure adjustment.
With pit strategy once again playing out, Byron restarted 31st for the start of the final stage with 54 laps remaining in the race. With a big move once the field went back to green, Byron propelled himself up to the 20th position. As the run continued, Byron took over the 19th position before making a green-flag pit stop on lap 74 for four tires, fuel and an air pressure adjustment. With a possible long green-flag stint to the end of the race, Fugle reminded the driver of the No. 24 to take care of his equipment as best he could. Once green-flag pit stops fully cycled through, Byron was scored 18th with just under 30 laps remaining. As the run went on Byron methodically made up ground, reaching 16th with 10 laps to go. However, Byron lost two positions in the next two laps as he radioed that his tires were “pretty beat up.” But on lap 103 the caution flag was displayed for debris, allowing Byron to come down pit road for four fresh tires, fuel and an air pressure adjustment. Lining up 15th for the restart, Byron tried to avoid the chaos, but was ultimately turned in the backstretch chicane and able to keep rolling as the caution came out once again. Reporting that he ran over something on track, Byron came down pit road for four tires and fuel. Restarting 21st, Byron once again had to try his best to avoid those spinning around him in the final laps eventually crossing the finish line in the 16th position. However, his 16th-place finish was good enough to help lock Byron into the Round of 8 – the first time he has advanced on to that round of the playoffs in his Cup Series career.
QUOTING THE NO. 24 TEAM
“Give enough room, try to not barrel it into the chicane and get hooked in the left- or right-rear. Certainly, just not how you want to race there at the end, but it was just crazy racing with the green-white-checkered and the way that guys are able to get into each other, make contact, guys spin out and the track gets blocked. It just gets wild there at the end.
“But we did what we needed to do, which was to get some stage points and finish the race. We’ll move on and get ready for Las Vegas.”
THE NEXT RACE
TRACK: LAS VEGAS MOTOR SPEEDWAY
DATE: SUNDAY, OCTOBER 16, 2022
TIME: 2:30 P.M. ET
TUNE-IN: NBC, SIRIUSXM, PRN