NO. 24 AXALTA CHEVROLET CAMARO ZL1 1LE
Date: June 14, 2020
Race #12: Homestead-Miami Speedway
Track Specs: 1.5-mile oval / 267 laps / 400.5 miles
Standings (from leader): 15th (-172)
RECAPPING THE RACE:
After weather delayed the beginning of Sunday’s NASCAR Cup Series race at Homestead-Miami Speedway, when the field was finally able to get racing William Byron rolled off from the 22nd position in the No. 24 Axalta Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 1LE. Making up ground on the track and on pit road, Byron found himself within the top 10 by the end of Stage One and running within the top five during Stage Two. Fighting a tight race car as the 267-lap race came to a close, Byron crossed the finish line in the ninth position, scoring a track-best finish at Homestead as well as his third top-10 finish in the last four races.
Starting from 22nd position after a random draw, Byron gained one position before the caution, and later the red flag, was displayed on Lap 5 for lightning in the area. After the lengthy weather-related delay, Chad Knaus called the No. 24 down pit road for chassis adjustments before the field went back green, preparing for what would now be a night race. Restarting 35th after the pit stop, Byron raced his way up to 26th by the time the yellow was displayed again, this time for the competition caution. Fighting an Axalta Chevy that was tight on entry but loose on exit, Byron came down pit road under the caution for four tires, fuel and an air pressure adjustment. Lining up 25th the Charlotte, North Carolina, native snagged four more positions before the caution was back out, as well as the red flag, once again for lightning in the area. Once the red flag was withdrawn, Byron came to the attention of his pit crew for four tires and fuel, making up 10 positions after avoiding a collision on pit road. Restarting 15th on Lap 37, Byron methodically worked his way through the field, making it up to the eighth position by the end of Stage One. Wanting more rear grip for a short run, Byron pitted for four tires, fuel and tape on the nose of his No. 24 Axalta Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 1LE.
Gaining two spots on pit road, Byron was scored sixth for the start of Stage Two on Lap 88. Showing speed when firing off on the restart, the third year Cup Series driver quickly moved inside the top five, ultimately taking over the fourth position. Maintaining the fourth position as a long green-flag run ensued, Knaus called his driver to pit road under green on Lap 121 for four tires, fuel and another air pressure adjustment. Once green-flag pit stops cycled through, Byron regained the fourth position before sliding back to fifth just before the end of Stage Two. Fighting a now loose Axalta Chevy, Byron came to pit road under the stage break for four tires, fuel and a chassis adjustment.
Restarting fifth for the final stage with just under 100 laps remaining, Byron grabbed the fourth position before the yellow was displayed just three laps later. Coming back down pit road for another four tire stop with fuel, Byron then lined up sixth but quickly moved back into the fourth position on the restart. However, the handling of the No. 24 Axalta Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 1LE swung to the tight side as the run continued forcing Byron back to the ninth position. With 50 laps to go and green-flag pit stops beginning to take place, Knaus called the No. 24 down pit road for four tires, fuel and both an air pressure adjustment as well as for tape to be added to the grille. Byron maintained the ninth position once green-flag pit stops cycled through but still fought a tight handling racecar. Continuing to fight until the end, Byron ultimately crossed the finish line in the ninth position at Homestead-Miami Speedway – a track-best finish as well as his third top-10 finish in the last four races.
QUOTING WILLIAM BYRON:
“We had a good and solid night and honestly it was nice to be able to run in the top five. We continued to adjust on the car as the race went along there. Hopefully we can continue to string runs together like we had tonight and be able make the right adjustments at the right point in the race to be in contention in the end. We’re getting close to that first win we just need to continue working on a couple things to get faster. On to Talladega.”