NO. 24 AXALTA CHEVROLET CAMARO ZL1 1LE
Date: June 27, 2020
Race #14: Pocono Raceway
Track Specs: 2.5-mile triangle speedway / 130 laps / 325 miles
RECAPPING THE RACE:
Rain once again playing a factor on race day for the first of two races at Pocono Raceway. Once the track was finally dry Saturday afternoon, William Byron rolled off 16th in the No. 24 Axalta Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 1LE. The 22-year-old driver was running within the top five by the halfway point, but an ill-timed restart before the end of Stage Two changed the No. 24 team’s strategy due to lost momentum. Starting deep in the field for the final stage, Byron methodically worked his way through traffic, crossing the finish line in the 14th position.
After a slight rain delay, Byron rolled off 16th due to a random draw. Fighting a tight No. 24 Axalta Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 1LE, he maintained his 16th position until the competition caution on Lap 12 when crew chief Chad Knaus could make adjustments. Coming to the attention of his Axalta crew under the yellow, Knaus made the call for two right side tires, fuel and an air pressure adjustment. Restarting 16th, Byron was able to pick up five positions in the final nine laps of Stage One, finishing 11th. Electing to keep track position, Byron remained on track under the stage break, lining up eighth for the next stage.
Despite still fighting a snug Axalta Chevy, Byron was able to make his way into the top-five running order and maintained that spot until green-flag pit stops began. On Lap 60, Knaus radioed for Byron to give up the fourth position to make his pit stop for four tires, fuel and both an air pressure and chassis adjustment. Rejoining the field in 24th with pit stops still needing to cycle through, the caution came out with just over 10 laps to go in Stage Two. Electing not to pit after only running two laps since his previous pit stop, Byron gained track position, moving up to the ninth position for the next restart. However, pinned in the bottom lane, Byron had trouble accelerating and lost momentum when the field went back green, dropping him to the 19th position by the time the yellow was displayed again on Lap 72. Needing help on the exit of the corners, Byron came down pit road under the caution for four tires, fuel, and a chassis adjustment. Restarting 25th for a two-lap dash to the stage finish, Byron maintained his running position and came back down pit road under the stage break for four tires and to top off on fuel.
Lining up 26th for the start of the final stage, Byron worked his way inside the top-20, reaching the 17th position before green-flag pit stops began taking place among the leaders. Looking to make up further track position, Knaus called Byron down pit road on Lap 91 for a splash of fuel only to make it to the end of the race. As the laps wound down and varying pit strategy continued throughout the field, the Charlotte, North Carolina, native worked his way back inside the top 15 with a handful of laps remaining. Coming to the checkered flag, Byron was able to grab one final position, scoring a 14th-place finish in Saturday’s race at Pocono Raceway.
Byron was the highest finishing Hendrick Motorsports car in Saturday afternoon’s race, racing to a 14th-place finish. Jimmie Johnson was the next highest teammate in 21st, followed by Chase Elliott in 25th. Alex Bowman crossed the stripe in the 27th position after suffering a flat tire late in the race.
QUOTING WILLIAM BYRON:
“We struggled today. We had a hard time making speed and tried to salvage what we could there at the end. We started gaining more speed as the car tightened up by the end of the race. We’ll make some changes for tomorrow and see what we can do then.”