William Byron


Race Report | Daytona 500

Race Report | Daytona 500

February 20, 2023


  • William Byron qualified third during Wednesday night’s time trials at Daytona International Speedway.
  • However after his 10th-place finish in the first duel, Byron started Sunday’s DAYTONA 500 from 21st.
  • Working his way to the front of the field, Byron finished Stage One in the 12th position and collected stage points in the following stage, crossing the line in seventh.
  • After being collected in an on-track incident in the first attempt at overtime, Byron was credited with a 34th-place finish.

After finishing 10th in Thursday night’s first qualifying race, William Byron lined up in 21st in the RaptorTough.com Chevrolet ZL1 for Sunday’s DAYTONA 500. When the race went green, Byron bobbled between the high lane and low lane, but wasn’t able to make up much ground as the field ran two-by-two through the first 35 laps. As the race continued to go green, crew chief Rudy Fugle called his driver down pit road under green with his Chevrolet teammates on Lap 39 for two right side tires and fuel. Once green-flag pit stops had cycled through, Byron was scored just outside the top-10 running order. In the closing laps of the stage, the Charlotte, North Carolina, native ran in the low lane which lost momentum, but was able to rally to finish Stage One in the 12th position. Running a little tight as the run would go on, Byron came down pit road for four tires, fuel and an air pressure adjustment.
For the start of Stage Two, the 25-year-old driver restarted eighth but quickly maneuvered himself to the sixth position. As the run went on, Fugle asked for him to transition to the low lane to begin saving fuel in anticipation of upcoming pit stops. Just past the half way point, Byron reported that his No. 24 RaptorTough.com Chevy was a bit too loose in the low lane. Just a couple laps later, he was called to the attention of his pit crew for a fuel-only stop under green-flag conditions. Once green-flag stops had cycled through, Byron was scored in the seventh position. Maintaining a spot within the top 10 until the caution came out on Lap 118, Fugle called the No. 24 back down pit road for four tires, fuel and to pack the car full of fuel. After varying pit strategy and the choose, Byron restarted sixth with six laps to go in the second stage. Coming to the green-checkered flag, Byron crossed the stripe in seventh, collecting stage points. Utilizing strategy, Byron came back down pit road to top off on fuel, racing off pit road as the third car in line.
Coming to the green for the final stage, Byron chose to restart fourth but slipped back to seventh by the time the caution came out on Lap 139 for debris. Fugle made the call to top off on fuel before the field went back green. With 57 laps remaining, Byron restarted from 20th. With the field side-by-side and intensity picking up, Byron didn’t have anywhere to go despite weaving through the lanes to try make up ground. With 20 laps to go, the No. 24 came down pit road under green for fuel only. As the RaptorTough.com driver rejoined the field, the caution came out, scoring him in the third-place. Lining up in the same position with 13 laps to go, Byron initially was put in the middle of three-wide but was able to race his way back up to fifth as the laps wound down. However, with two laps to go, the caution came out, setting up the first attempt at overtime. Electing to restart third, the low lane lost momentum, stacking up line of cars causing a chain reaction that collected Byron in the on-track incident, relinquishing him to a 34th-place finish in the Great American Race. 
“I got into the No. 3 and we just got off center somehow. Once he got off center, I tried to back up but I had the No. 6 in the back of me trying to push as well. Yeah, (it’s) unfortunate because we were trying to put ourselves in the right position and we were in a really good spot there with about two to go and running third before that caution.  It seemed like when they did the teammate restart it really checked up the bottom lane and I had made my bed of trying to take that lane to have momentum off of turn two. That was unfortunate.”

TIME: 3:30 P.M. ET