RECAPPING THE RACE
Showing speed when they unloaded, William Byron secured a third-place qualifying effort for Sunday’s race in the No. 24 RaptorTough.com Chevrolet Camaro ZL1. Byron initially maintained his starting position in the opening laps of the stage. However, as the run went on, Byron radioed that his race car was on the tight side, dropping back to the eighth position before the halfway point in the stage. On lap 38, crew chief Rudy Fugle called his driver down pit road under green for four tires, fuel and both an air pressure and a chassis adjustment. Once green-flag pit stops fully cycled through, Byron was scored in the ninth position, still fighting the handling of his No. 24 RaptorTough.com Chevy. Trying to hang on, Byron remained in the top-10 running order as the laps wound down in the opening stage until the caution came out on lap 77. With the stage finishing under yellow, Byron was credited with a 10th-place effort, collecting a stage point. During the stage break, Byron came down pit road for four tires, fuel and an air pressure adjustment.
With a great pit stop, Byron restarted from the sixth position for the start of stage two. However, the Charlotte, North Carolina, native raced three-wide, dropping back to 10th by the time the caution came out again on lap 94. Still needing help with the handling of his No. 24 RaptorTough.com Chevrolet Camaro ZL1, Byron came down pit road for four tires, fuel and a chassis adjustment. Lining up in eighth for the restart, Byron re-entered the top-five running order by lap 123 of 267. As the run continued, Byron radioed that his right rear tire was “built up too much” hindering him from making up ground and eventually dropping back to sixth. Able to maintain his position just outside the top-five, Byron once again picked up stage points, crossing the line in sixth at the end of stage two. Under the stage break, Byron came down pit road to the attention of his team for four tires, fuel and an air pressure adjustment.
Restarting seventh for the final stage of the race, Byron quickly picked up a position on the initial restart and continued to maintain sixth until the caution came back out, this time on lap 194. Wanting a little more help with the handling of his No. 24 RaptorTough.com Chevy, Byron came down pit road for four tires, fuel and an air pressure adjustment. Another fast pit stop by the team allowed Byron to restart from the third position. Going back green with 68 laps to go, Byron got loose trying to make the pass for second, forcing him to roll out of the throttle and try regain his momentum after dropping back to just inside the top-10 running order. Running in seventh, Byron lost a couple more positions before the caution came out once again, this time on lap 228. Under the yellow, Byron came down pit road to the attention of his team for four tires, fuel and an air pressure adjustment. Coming off of pit road in the top-five, Byron restarted fourth with 35 laps remaining. With the caution coming back out almost immediately after going back green, Byron elected not to pit while a few other guys came down pit road for fresh tires. Restarting sixth with 22 laps to go, the 24-year-old driver got trapped in the middle lane, and had to try avoid an on-track incident, dropping Byron back to just outside the top-10. With the caution coming out a couple laps later, Byron radioed that he wanted to pit for his final set of tires. Coming to the attention of the No. 24 RaptorTough.com team, Byron got four fresh tires, fuel and an air pressure adjustment. Restarting 23rd with 16 laps to go, Byron put his fresh tires to the test, snaking his way through traffic. Continuing to pick up positions in the closing laps, Byron raced his way to a hard-fought 13th-place finish.
QUOTING WILLIAM BYRON
“We just struggled. We were kind of just bouncing all day and we could never really get our car to stop bouncing, so we just struggled with that. At times, we had the balance OK, but really could never get the right balance to get ourselves to be able to run up front. We just hoovered around the fifth- to eighth-spot all day. It was just unfortunate that we couldn’t really finish there.”
How frustrating is that when it’s the first race of this round?
“I thought Las Vegas (Motor Speedway) was going to be good for us, but unfortunately all day, we couldn’t really show that. We had some decent stage points, but never enough to really get up towards the front. Just a struggle all day”
THE NEXT RACE
TRACK: HOMESTEAD-MIAMI SPEEDWAY
DATE: SUNDAY, OCTOBER 23, 2022
TIME: 2:30 P.M. ET
TUNE-IN: NBC, SIRIUSXM, MRN