NO. 24 HENDRICK AUTOGUARD CHEVROLET CAMARO ZL1
Date: June 10, 2019
Race #15: Michigan International Speedway
Track Specs: 2-mile speedway/ 200 laps / 400 miles
Standings (from leader): 14th (-231)
RECAPPING THE RACE:
After rain postponed the NASCAR Cup Series race at Michigan International Speedway, the 400-mile event finally went green Monday afternoon. William Byron rolled off 21st for the race, and after some adjusting to the aero package as well as pit strategy, Byron was running 14th and was poised to finish in the top 15 before a late race restart relinquished him to an 18th-place finish.
Qualifying 21st, Byron spent the initial run of the race getting a feel for the handling his No. 24 Hendrick Autoguard Chevrolet Camaro ZL1. Making it up to the 19th position by the time of the competition caution on Lap 20, crew chief Chad Knaus called the sophomore driver down pit road to top off on fuel. Returning to the track in 15th, Byron got pinned in the inside lane for the ensuing restart, falling back as far as the 23rd position. However, as the run continued, Byron began to adapt to the aero package and methodically made his way back to the top 15, finishing Stage One in 15th-place. Coming to pit road under the stage break, the Hendrick Autoguard team completed a four tire stop with fuel with minor adjustments to aid Byron chattering in the front end of the car at the beginning of a run.
Restarting 14th for the start of Stage Two, Byron found himself within the top 10 when the caution was displayed again just four laps later. Knaus made the decision for Byron to pit under the caution for fuel-only, lining the No. 24 up in the 11th position for the upcoming restart. Losing momentum as the field went back green, Byron lost a handful of positions early but regained his composure and worked his way back inside the top 15 as green-flag pit stops began. As the laps in Stage Two dwindled and a few competitors pit for fuel to make it to the end of the stage, Byron crossed the stripe in the eighth position to pick up stage points in Stage Two. Under the yellow Byron radioed to his team that he had been fighting a tight Hendrick Autoguard Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 and came to pit road for four tires and fuel, losing a couple positions on track for the strategy call.
Despite lining up 12th for the start of the final stage, Byron made a couple critical moves on the opening lap, finding himself up to fifth as the caution came out on Lap 131. Maintaining that position for the restart, Byron ultimately lost track position as the field went back green due to restarting in the bottom lane. However, while battling to regain some of the lost positions, the No. 24 swung loose underneath the No. 3 but Byron was able to continue as the caution came out. Coming to pit road for four tires, fuel and to look over the nose of the car, Byron returned to the track in 27th with 59 laps remaining. Trying to make up as much track position as possible, Byron worked his way up to the 18th position with just under 30 laps left as the leaders began to make their final green-flag pit stops. As pit stops continued, Byron cycled to the lead before coming to pit road under green on Lap 184. Knaus made the call for fuel-only for the No. 24 Hendrick Autoguard Chevrolet allowing Byron to rejoin the field within the top-15 running order. Battling for the 13th position with four laps remaining, the caution came out setting the field up for overtime. Forced to restart in the bottom lane from 13th, Byron was shuffled back in the pack in the final laps, ultimately crossing the finish line with an 18th-place finish at Michigan.