Date: September 12, 2020
Race #28: Richmond Raceway
Track Specs: 0.75-mile oval / 400 laps / 300 miles
Playoff Standings: 13th (-3)
RECAPPING THE RACE:
Rolling off from the fifth position for Saturday night’s race at Richmond Raceway, William Byron showed speed early on but the handling of the No. 24 Liberty University Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 1LE swung to the extreme tight side during Stage One. Fighting to get the handling back during the 400-lap event, Byron ultimately crossed the finish line in the 21st position.
Starting fifth at Richmond Raceway, Byron fell back to the seventh position in the opening laps, but maintained that spot until the competition caution came out on lap 31. Fighting tight on entry to the corners, crew chief Chad Knaus made the call for four tires, fuel and a chassis adjustment to the No. 24 Liberty University Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 1LE under the yellow. Lining up seventh when the field went back green, the handling of Byron’s machine continued to swing to the tight side as the run went on before he ultimately fell back to the 16th position at the end of Stage One. Under the stage break, Byron came down pit road for four tires, fuel and both a chassis and air pressure adjustment to the Liberty University Chevy.
Due to lengthy adjustments during the last pit stop, Byron restarted in the 20th position for the start of Stage Two. The Charlotte, North Carolina, native raced his way up to the 14th position early on in the stage. However, as the run went on, the handling of the No. 24 Liberty University Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 1LE swung to the extreme tight side again. Falling back to 19th, and ultimately going one lap down to the leaders, Knaus elected to go with a one-pit-stop strategy for Stage Two. Staying out as long as possible while green-flag pit stops began, Byron made his way up to the fifth position hoping for a caution to come out and shake up the running order. With the stage remaining green, Knaus called the driver of the No.24 down pit road for four tires, fuel and both a chassis and air pressure adjustment on lap 164. Rejoining the field in 31st, two laps down, Byron utilized his fresher tires to gain one of his laps back and race his way to the 23rd position by the end of Stage Two. Under the stage break, the 22-year-old once again came down pit road for four tires, fuel and another chassis adjustment.
Lining up 21st for the final stage just past the halfway point in Saturday night’s race, Byron gained one position and then maintained 20th until his green-flag pit stop on lap 294. Coming to the attention of the Liberty University team, Byron got four tires and fuel before rejoining the field in 23rd. With varying pit strategy taking place throughout the final stage, Byron moved up to 21st before ultimately coming back down pit road on lap 345 for another routine four-tire pit stop. Once pit stops fully cycled through, Byron found himself 22nd. With the race going green until the end, Byron was able to pick up one more position before crossing the finish line in the 21st position.
QUOTING WILLIAM BYRON:
“We knew Richmond would be our biggest struggle of the Playoffs. I mean the first time I came here, it seemed like things were pretty good. Then last year we really struggled here and obviously we didn’t really improve this time. So it’s disappointing but we just have to put this one behind us and go to Bristol. I think we ran okay at Bristol with a top 10 in the spring and making the All-Star race. I think we just have to go there and hopefully have a good run.”