- William Byron captured his second pole award of the 2021 NASCAR Cup Series season during qualifying Sunday morning at the Indianapolis road course.
- Utilizing varying pit strategy during the Cup Series race, Byron finished Stage One in the 11th position and Stage Two in 13th.
- Running within the top-five for the majority of the 95-lap race, Byron unfortunately was collected in an on-track incident on Lap 79 that ended his race early, leaving him with a 33rd-place finish.
- Byron is now fourth in the driver points standings,163 points behind the leader.
RECAPPING THE RACE
During qualifying Sunday morning, William Byron captured his second pole award of the 2021 NASCAR Cup Series season in the No. 24 Axalta Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 1LE, this time for the inaugural race at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course. Leading the first lap, Byron dropped back to second and maintained that position for the majority of the opening stage. Crew chief Rudy Fugle made the call for Byron to come down pit road under green on Lap 14 for four tires, fuel and an air pressure adjustment. The 23-year-old driver rejoined the field and raced his way back to the 11th position by the end of Stage One.
Electing not to pit under the stage break, Byron restarted in the third position for the start of Stage Two. In a tight battle to try take the lead, Byron went off course, costing him a few positions on track. Settling into eighth, Byron went to work trying to regain track position, making his way back inside the top five with five laps left in the stage. Once again utilizing pit strategy, Fugle called the No. 24 down pit road on Lap 33 for four tires, fuel and an air pressure adjustment. With three laps remaining in Stage Two, Byron raced his way back to 13th by the time the green-checkered flag was displayed,
Once again electing not to pit under the stage break, Byron lined up fourth for the final stage of the race Sunday afternoon. Byron quickly picked up a position before the yellow flag was put back out just on lap later, lining him up in third for the ensuing restart. Byron once again picked up a position once the green-flagged was displayed, moving up to second just past the halfway point in the race. Fighting a tight Axalta Chevy, the Charlotte, North Carolina, native came down pit road under green on Lap 56 for four tires, fuel and an air pressure adjustment. Beginning his march back through the field with varying pit strategy taking place, Byron raced his way back to third with just under 20 laps to go. Byron maintained the third position until the caution flag was displayed on Lap 74. Electing to take fresh tires, Byron came down pit road for four tires, fuel and another minor air pressure adjustment before lining up in sixth with six laps to go. Byron quickly went to work maneuvering through traffic, moving up to fourth with five laps left. However, entering into Turn 6 on Lap 79, Byron was involved in an on-track incident that ultimately ended his race early and scored with a 33rd-place result.
QUOTING WILLIAM BYRON
“I’ve never had an experience like that before. It honestly felt like I hit a wall. I came through that corner the same way every single lap. We were running fourth there behind (Kyle) Larson and he hit the exact same spot. It looked like after he hit it, his right rear came up. As soon as I got there, I hit something and it threw me completely off line. It tore the front end right off of it. I thought I was safe when I went through there. I saw his right rear come up and I thought ‘let me try get a little more left’ and obviously I nailed something. It’s just a bummer. The Axalta Chevrolet was really fast. We weren’t as fast as the No. 5 car but we were a second-place car. I made a couple mistakes early that cost me some track position that we got back and I think we were poised to finish top five there. Definitely a bummer.”
THE NEXT RACE
TRACK: MICHIGAN INTERNATIONAL SPEEDWAY
DATE: SUNDAY, AUGUST 22, 2021
TIME: 3 P.M. ET
TUNE-IN: NBCSN, SIRIUSXM, MRN