- William Byron started Sunday’s race from the 18th position at Michigan International Speedway due to the qualifying metric.
- Racing his way to the front of the field on multiple occasions, Byron scored stage points in both stages, finishing Stage One in fifth and Stage Two in ninth.
- Showing speed throughout the entire 200-lap event, Byron cycled to the lead after the final round of pit stops and maintained that position until the final restart of the race. Byron tried to regain the top spot in the final laps, but ultimately crossed the finish line in second – a track-best result.
- Byron maintained the fourth position in the driver points standings,171 points behind the leader.
RECAPPING THE RACE
Rolling off from the 18th starting position for Sunday’s race due to the qualifying metric, William Byron showed speed in his No. 24 Axalta Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 1LE early on at Michigan International Speedway. Needing to pick up track position early on, the Charlotte North Carolina, native worked his way up to eighth by the time the competition caution came out on Lap 21. Under the yellow, crew chief Rudy Fugle made the call for his driver to come down pit road for fuel and two left side tires. Rejoining the field in 10th for the restart, Byron worked his way up to fifth just as the caution was displayed once again. Restarting eighth, Byron once again began to make up track position, reaching fifth by the end of Stage One. Fighting an Axalta Chevy that was a little too tight, Byron came down pit road for four tires, fuel and an air pressure adjustment. Unfortunately, Byron slid through his pit stall, and had to back up prior to the team servicing the vehicle, costing him positions on pit road.
After the incident on pit road, Byron restarted from the 17th position but quickly went to work making his way through traffic, reaching eighth by the halfway point in the 200-lap event. However, making contact with No. 11, Byron suffered minor left front fender damage that then swung the handling of his No. 24 Axalta Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 1LE to the extremely tight side. Continuing to fight handling woes as their pit window opened up, Fugle called the 23-year-old down pit road under green on Lap 106 for four tires, fuel, air pressure adjustment, and damage repairs. Once pit stops fully cycled through, Byron was scored in the ninth position, which he maintained until the conclusion of Stage Two.
Once again looking to pick up track position, Fugle made the call for Byron to remain on track under the stage break, lining him up third for the start of the final stage. As the field went back to green, Byron moved into second just behind his teammate Kyle Larson. With 46 laps to go in Sunday’s race, Fugle made the call for the driver of the No. 24 to hit pit road under green for four tires, fuel and a minor air pressure adjustment. Once the field fully cycled through green-flag pit stops, Byron took over the top spot on Lap 175 until the caution came out for incoming weather just six laps later. Once the rain subsided, the field went back to green, with Byron maintaining the lead until the yellow flag was displayed once again. Lining up as the control car, Byron chose the high line for the ensuing restart but as he went to block those behind him, he got too high and lost momentum, dropping him to third. Trying to regain his momentum, Byron regained the second position with two laps remaining but came up one position short of the win, scoring a track-best second-place finish.
Byron led his Hendrick Motorsports teammates to the finish line in Sunday’s race, scoring a runner-up result. Larson finished just behind him in the third positions while Chase Elliott scored a top 10 in eighth. Alex Bowman ended his day in 16th after suffering damage early on in the event.
QUOTING THE NO. 24 TEAM
WILLIAM, YOU PUT UP A MAJOR FIGHT THERE WITH LATE-RACE RESTARTS TRYING TO GET BY RYAN BLANEY. WHAT MORE DID YOU NEED TO MAKE THE PASS?
“Just the 11 (Denny Hamlin) to stay with us. He tried to shuck us into one. I had to stay with him to not sacrifice my right rear. Once you get put three-wide middle, it's game over. I gave up the lead trying to protect the top. Just didn't have the loyalty there to kind of push me to the lead.”
“Overall, really good car. The No. 24 Axalta Chevrolet was extremely fast. Definitely know we can bring that to the Playoffs. Stinks to finish second, but feel like we had a really good car to go to battle with.”
SAW YOU AND (KYLE) LARSON GET OUT OF THE CAR, BOTH SMILING, HIGH-FIVED A LITTLE BIT. WHAT WERE YOU DISCUSSING? DID YOU HAVE A LOT OF FUN IN THE LAST COUPLE OF LAPS?
“Yeah, it was fun; kind of like a speedway race. I was trying to back up to him about two to go. He kind of ran the bottom, so he didn't have any momentum to push me.”
“Yeah, I don't know what you do. You can only block so many lanes. I tried to block the top and cost myself first, but just part of it.”
THE NEXT RACE
TRACK: DAYTONA INTERNATIONAL SPEEDWAY
DATE: SATURDAY, AUGUST 28, 2021
TIME: 7 P.M. ET
TUNE-IN: NBC, SIRIUSXM, MRN