For Sunday’s race at Dover International Speedway, William Byron rolled off from the third position in the No. 24 Axalta Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 1LE but quickly took over the lead in the opening laps. However, suffering brake issues early on, Byron and the No. 24 team spent the majority of the race working to overcome the issue. Still showing speed throughout the 400-lap event, Byron went on to capture a fourth-place finish and his 11th consecutive top-10 result.
Starting third for Sunday’s event at the “Monster Mile,” Byron rocketed his way to the front of the field, taking over the lead on Lap 16. The Charlotte, North Carolina, native continued to pace the field until the competition caution came out on Lap 35. Under the yellow, Byron came down pit road for four tires, fuel, an air pressure adjustment and for the team to take tape off the nose. Electing to restart in the low lane from the third position when the field went back to green, Byron immediately radioed to the No. 24 team that his brake pedal was going straight to the floor. Byron sustained the third position as Stage One continued, all while trying to pump his brakes throughout the run. Ultimately with 10 laps remaining in the stage, Byron fell back a few positions, collecting a sixth-place result in Stage One. Not only fighting a brake issue, Byron reported that his Axalta Chevy was a little on the snug side as well. Under the stage break, crew chief Rudy Fugle called his driver down pit road for four tires, fuel, an air pressure adjustment as well as to pull the rest of the brake tape off the nose.
After lengthy changes on the pit stop, Byron restarted in the 10th position but methodically began making his way back through the field reaching sixth-place by the time the caution came out on Lap 172. Still fighting handling woes, Byron came down pit road to the attention of his pit crew for four tires, fuel and another air pressure adjustment. Making up ground on pit road, the 23-year-old lined up third for the restart and maintained that position until the final 25 laps of Stage Two. Fighting a now loose No. 24 Axalta Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 1LE, Byron held on to finish Stage Two in the fourth position, once again scoring stage points. He then returned to pit road for four tires, fuel and an air pressure adjustment.
Lining up third for the start of the final stage, Byron continued to maintain his position until the caution flag was displayed on Lap 303. Lacking rear grip, Byron brought his No. 24 down pit road for four tires, fuel and a minor air pressure adjustment before returning to the track in third. However, getting trapped in the bottom lane on the restart, Byron slipped back to fifth when the caution came back out just seven laps later. With split pit strategy throughout the field, Fugle elected not to pit under this caution as well as under the ensuing caution that came out seven after that. Electing to take the low lane once again on the “choose” lap, Byron lined up third with 70 laps to go. Sliding into fourth after the initial couple laps back to green, the fourth-year Cup Series driver continued to keep up the pace. Maintaining his top-five running position for the remainder of the race, Byron crossed the finish line in fourth – tying his previous Cup Series best result at the one-mile concrete oval.
Alex Bowman led the Hendrick Motorsports charge to the finish line, capturing the win at Dover International Speedway. Kyle Larson scored a second-place result, followed by Chase Elliott in third and Byron crossing the finish line in fourth. This was the first time in organization history that all four cars have taken the top-four positions in a race.
QUOTING WILLIAM BYRON
“Yeah, that was awesome. For us to finish 1-2-3-4 is just a credit to a lot of great people at the shop, Chevrolet, Axalta, and all the people that support us to get us the resources; and then our teams, the crew chiefs, drivers and pit crews executing really good races. For us, it’s been going for a while. We’ve just got to get a little bit. It sucks to be fourth, but I think we’re close. We just have to work on some things on our car, get the right feels, but we’re getting really close. So, we keep chipping away. We’ve had two fourth-place finishes in a row. We’ll take it and move on.”
THE NEXT RACE
TRACK: CIRCUIT OF THE AMERICAS (COTA)
DATE: SUNDAY, MAY 23, 2021
TIME: 2:30 P.M. ET
TUNE-IN: FS1, SIRIUSXM, PRN RADIO