NO. 24 LIBERTY UNIVERSITY CHEVROLET CAMARO ZL1 1LE
Date: September 6, 2020
Race #27: Darlington Raceway
Track Specs: 1.366-mile oval / 167 laps / 501.3 miles
Playoff Standings: 9th (+9)
RECAPPING THE RACE:
Rolling off third for the Southern 500 at Darlington Raceway, William Byron maintained his top-five position until he began to fight the handling of the No. 24 Liberty University Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 1LE. As the race continued on, the third year Cup driver made his way back through the field, crossing the finish line in the fifth position – his third consecutive top five and a series track-best finish.
Starting from the third position for Saturday night’s race, Byron settled into fourth by the time the competition caution came out on lap 25. Fighting a free No. 24 Liberty University Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 1LE, the Charlotte, North Carolina, native came down pit road for four tires, fuel and to add tape to the grille tape to the nose. Restarting fifth in the bottom lane, Byron continued to maintain his top-five running position until green-flag pit stops began. Coming to pit road for four tires, fuel and a trackbar adjustment, Byron maintained his position once pit stops cycled through. Shortly afterwards, the caution came out allowing Byron to come back down pit road for four fresh tires, fuel and an air pressure adjustment. Restarting eighth with under 30 laps to go in the stage, Byron held his ground and finished Stage One in the top 10. Fighting a now tight Liberty Chevy, crew chief Chad Knaus called the No. 24 down pit road for four tires, fuel and both a track bar and air pressure adjustment.
Restarting 12th for the start of Stage Two, Byron continued to battle with a tight No. 24 Liberty Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 1LE but raced his way into the top 10 running order before green-flag pit stops began. Giving up the ninth position to come down pit road, Byron got four tires, fuel and an air pressure adjustment. However, with the yellow flag coming out shortly afterwards, Byron came back down pit road for another four-tire pit stop. Restarting 12th as Stage Two drew to a close, the 22-year-old driver maintained his position when the green-checkered flag dropped. With the handling of the Liberty University Chevy now on the loose-side, Byron came down pit road under the stage break for four tires, fuel and a trackbar adjustment.
Lining up inside the top 15 for the final stage, Byron ultimately got shuffled back to the 19th position with the low lane at a disadvantage on the restarts. Battling to make his way back through the field, Byron made his way up to the 12th position by the time that green-flag pit stops began. Knaus called the driver of the No. 24 down pit road under green as well for four tires, fuel and an air pressure adjustment. Cycling back to 15th, Byron maneuvered his way back inside the top 10 with fresh tires. When the caution came out with under 60 laps to go, Byron came down pit road for four tires and fuel. Restarting eighth, Byron continued his march to the front, making it up to fifth with nine laps to go. With the race remaining green until the end, Byron crossed the finish line in the fifth position – a series track-best finish and his third consecutive top-five finish.
QUOTING WILLIAM BYRON:
“It was a good battle for us tonight. The middle part of the race was tough. We were fighting changing track conditions and didn’t really make the right adjustments. Luckily, we got it back at the end and got some rear grip back in the car. We were able to capitalize on some good pit calls too. Really, the last two runs the car was good and I thought we were closing in on a lot of guys there at the end. Just a combination of running out of time and hitting the wall at the end hindered us, but ending up with a fifth-place finish is good. We’ll take it. Darlington is a tough track and the Southern 500 is tough to finish all together. It’s nice to have another good finish and go on to Richmond.”