NO. 24 AXALTA FLAMES OF INDEPENDENCE CHEVROLET CAMARO ZL1
Date: November 17, 2019
Race #36: Homestead-Miami Speedway
Track Specs: 1.5-mile oval/ 267 laps / 400.5 miles
Standings (from leader): 11th (-2766)
RECAPPING THE RACE:
After weather on Friday shifted the weekend schedule at Homestead-Miami Speedway, William Byron and the rest of the NASCAR Cup Series was left with one lone practice session Saturday afternoon and the lineup being set per the NASCAR rule book. Starting ninth in the No. 24 Axalta Flames of Independence Chevrolet Camaro ZL1, due to his position in owner points, Byron was having a solid top-10 day until a mechanical issue with 50 laps remaining ended his race early, leaving him with a 39th-place finish.
Rolling off the grid from ninth at Homestead-Miami Speedway for the final race of the 2019 Cup Series season, Byron maintained his top-10 running position until the first round of green-flag pit stops began almost halfway through Stage One. Fighting a tight Axalta Chevy, Byron came down pit road on Lap 36 for four tires, fuel and a minor chassis adjustment. As green-flag pit stops cycled through, the sophomore driver found himself 10th but was able to climb to the eighth position by the end of Stage One. Still fighting the handling on the No. 24, Byron came down pit road under the stage break for four tires, fuel and another round of adjustments.
Restarting from the ninth position, Byron initially radioed that the last set of changes helped the handling on the No. 24 Axalta Chevy but as the run continued the handling swung back to the tight side causing him to lose a couple of positions. Slipping back to 11th, crew chief Chad Knaus called his driver down pit road for a green-flag pit stop on Lap 118 for four tires, fuel and a different set of adjustments to hopefully aid in the handling. Returning to the track and running 10th as the caution came out on Lap 138, Byron came back down pit road for four tires and fuel, but the No. 24 team made significant adjustments, leaving Byron 12th for the restart with 20 laps to go in the stage. However, the last set of adjustments made the No. 24 Axalta Flames of Independence Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 too loose for the run but Byron was able to hold on and maintain the 12th position at the conclusion of Stage Two. Coming back down pit road for four tires, fuel and another round of chassis adjustments, issues on the left front tire resulted in a lengthy stop for the Axalta team.
Lining up in 17th for the final stage of the race, the Charlotte, North Carolina, native began methodically working his way back through traffic, making his way up to the 10th position before the next round of green-flag pit stops began. Hitting pit road on Lap 209, the No. 24 crew went to work for a four tires pit stop with fuel and a minor chassis adjustment. However, just seven laps later, Byron radioed to the team that he was having an issue as the Axalta Chevy slowed on track. Coming back down pit road, it was determined that a mechanical issue would end Byron’s race early with 50 laps remaining, relinquishing Byron to a 39th-place finish.
Hendrick Motorsports teammate Alex Bowman led the four-car contingent to the checkered flag in Sunday’s race with a ninth-place finish. Jimmie Johnson crossed the finish line next in the 13th position followed by Chase Elliott in 15th. Unfortunately, Byron’s mechanical issues left him with a 39th-place finish in the season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway.
QUOTING WILLIAM BYRON:
“It’s been a really good season for the No. 24 team. Today’s race didn’t end the way we would have liked and it’s unfortunate that a mechanical failure is how our last race of the season would end. I’m still proud though of everything we have accomplished this year as a team, especially to be able to finish 11th in points. We’ll take the off season to keep building on the momentum we have had going over the last few months and be ready to come out even stronger in 2020.”