RECAPPING THE RACE
Starting fourth for Sunday’s race at Richmond Raceway, William Byron fought handling woes early on with his No. 24 Liberty University Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 1LE. However, the fourth-year Cup Series driver was able to score stage points in both stages before going on to capture his seventh consecutive top-10 finish with a seventh-place result.
Rolling off from the fourth position, Byron was shuffled back to ninth when the leader didn’t get a good initial launch. Needing more drive in the corners and a little loose on entry, Byron slipped back to 10th by the time the competition caution came out on Lap 30. Coming down pit road under the yellow, crew chief Rudy Fugle made the call for four tires, fuel and both an air pressure and chassis adjustment to aid in the handling of the No. 24 Liberty University Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 1LE. After picking up positions on pit road, Byron restarted from the sixth but quickly moved up to fourth on the restart. Maintaining his position but still fighting a loose Chevy, Byron ultimately scored stage points, finishing Stage One in the fourth position. Under the stage break the Charlotte, North Carolina, native came down pit road for four tires, fuel and another round of chassis and air pressure adjustments.
Electing to restart from third in the low lane for the start of the second stage, Byron got shuffled into the high lane once the field went back to green, falling back to seventh. As the run ensued, green-flag pit stops began with under 100 laps left in the stage. As pit stops began, Fugle made the call for the No. 24 to come down pit road on Lap 138 for four tires, fuel and another round of both air pressure and chassis adjustments. However, just as the Byron returned to the track, the caution came out before pit stops could fully cycle through, trapping Byron one lap down in 13th. To get his lap back, Byron took the “wave around” and began to maneuver his way through heavy traffic when the field went back to green. As Byron made his way back to 12th, Fugle called the driver of the No. 24 down pit road for a scheduled green-flag pit stop on Lap 183 for four tires, fuel and an air pressure adjustment. Returning to the track in 12th, one lap down, Byron was able to race his way back onto the lead lap and reached eighth place to finish Stage Two. Still fighting the handling of the Liberty University Chevy, Byron came to the attention of his team for four tires, fuel and another air pressure adjustment.
Picking up two positions on pit road, Byron started the final stage in fifth. However, on the opening laps of the stage, Byron slipped back to ninth while fighting the handling of his No. 24 Chevy. As the run ensued, the 23-year-old driver regained two of those positions before coming back down pit road under green for four tires, fuel and a chassis adjustment on Lap 291. Cycling back to sixth once green-flag pit stops were through, Byron maintained his position before dropping to seventh by the time green-flag pit stops happened again, this time with just over 60 laps remaining. Coming down pit road on Lap 341 for four tires, fuel and another round of chassis adjustments, Byron returned to the track in fifth. Still fighting to take off on fresh tires, Byron slipped back to eighth. However, the caution came out on Lap 382 allowing Byron to come down pit road one final time for four tires, fuel and an air pressure adjustment. Restarting sixth with 12 laps to go, Byron fought hard to maintain his position before ultimately crossing the finish line in seventh – a track-best finish for him at Richmond Raceway.
QUOTING WILLIAM BYRON
“It was a good day for us. We ran in the top-10 all day; sometimes top-five. Definitely were searching for more there at the end, but to come home seventh at a track that I’ve struggled at is good for us. We definitely know what we need to work on to get better. This is not a race that we had circled to do well, so it’s good to finish top-10 again and keep that streak alive.”
“Congrats to Alex (Bowman) and the No. 48 team. They did a great job there at the end of the race to get their car to take off. That was pretty awesome. We’ll go onto Talladega (Superspeedway) and try to win that one.”
THE NEXT RACE
TRACK: TALLADEGA SUPERSPEEDWAY
DATE: SUNDAY, APRIL 25, 2021
TIME: 2:00 P.M. ET
TUNE-IN: FOX, SIRIUSXM, MRN RADIO