William Byron


Race Report | Fontana

Race Report | Fontana

February 27, 2023

FEBRUARY 26, 2023
START: 32nd   
FINISH: 25th
RANK: 29th (-67 POINTS)

  • Due to inclement weather at Auto Club Speedway on Saturday, NASCAR Cup Series practice and qualifying were cancelled. William Byron was credited with a 32nd starting position due to the qualifying metric. 
  • Despite having no on-track time prior to the race going green Sunday, Byron maneuvered his way through the field to finish stage one in the sixth position.
  • However, with the handling of his No. 24 RaptorTough.com Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 swinging to the extreme loose side, Byron finished the second stage in 14th.
  • Running in the top 10 but forced to pit under green late in the final stage, Byron thought he had a flat tire but it was later diagnosed as a mechanical issue, relegating him to a 25th-place finish.
  • After two races in the 2023 season, Byron sits 29th in the driver point standings, 67 points behind the leader.

Heading out for the first race of the West Coast swing, William Byron and the rest of the NASCAR Cup Series were unable to get on track at Auto Club Speedway until Sunday due to inclement weather. With no practice or qualifying, the starting lineup was set per the rule book, lining Byron up in the 32nd position. When the field went green, Byron made quick work making his way through traffic, reaching 16th by the time the competition caution came out on lap 15. Fighting a slightly snug No. 24 RaptorTough.com Chevrolet Camaro ZL1, crew chief Rudy Fugle called his driver down pit road for four tires, fuel and an air pressure adjustment during the yellow. After a fast pit stop by his crew, the Charlotte, North Carolina, native restarted ninth on lap 20. Byron once again began picking up positions until he scrubbed the wall on lap 35, dropping him back to ninth. With the caution coming out six laps later, Byron was able to come down pit road for an assessment of the damage as well as for four tires, fuel, and both an air pressure and chassis adjustment. Another fast pit stop allowed Byron to line up in fifth with 19 laps to go in the opening stage. Continuing to run within the top five, Byron ultimately slipped back to sixth by the time the green-checkered flag was displayed. Needing more right rear grip, Fugle called the No.24 down pit road for four tires, fuel and an air pressure adjustment.
Choosing to start in the high lane, Byron lined up in the fourth position for the start of stage two. The 25-year-old was able to take over third prior to the caution coming out on lap 74. Fugle once again called his driver down pit road for four tires and fuel before restarting 10th due to varying pit strategy. Knifing his way through traffic, Byron raced his way inside the top five, reaching fourth before the yellow flag was displayed again, this time on lap 87. Electing to not pit, Byron restarted within the top five and continued to maintain that position until the handling of his No. 24 RaptorTough.com Chevy swung to the extremely loose side with 15 laps remaining until the stage break. Forced to hold on as the rest of stage two went green, Byron managed to cross the line in the 14th position. Asking for a major adjustment, Byron came to the attention of his team for four tires, fuel and both an air pressure and chassis adjustment.
Once again picking up track position while on pit road, Byron started the final stage from 13th. With a narrow miss of an on-track incident, Byron radioed to his crew chief under the yellow that he felt better about the changes but still needed more. Utilizing pit strategy, Fugle made the call for his driver to come down pit road for four tires, fuel and a slight adjustment before going back green with 55 laps to go in 12th. Byron was able to work his way back inside the top 10 initially, but as the run went on, his handling swung back to the extremely loose side once again. Falling back to 16th, Fugle brought the No. 24 RaptorTough.com Chevy down pit road under green on lap 167 for four tires, fuel and a round of chassis and air pressure adjustments. Liking the changes made, Byron climbed the leaderboard as green-flag pit stops continued to cycle through. However, on lap 182, Byron radioed that he thought he had a tire going down, forcing him back down pit road under green. Returning to the track, the problem persisted for Byron, indicating a mechanical failure on board the No. 24. Despite the mechanical failure in the closing laps, Byron was able to finish the race, scoring a 25th-place result Sunday evening.


TIME: 3:30 P.M. ET