- During Saturday’s qualifying session at Sonoma Raceway, William Byron qualified 20th in the No. 24 RaptorTough.com Chevrolet Camaro ZL1.
- During the opening stage, Byron was able to race his way to just outside the top-10 before pit strategy changed the tone of the race. Utilizing differing pit strategy in stage one and stage two, Byron captured the green-checkered flag in both stages from the 27th position.
- Going into the final stage back inside the top-15, Byron once again began his march to the front, racing his way to ninth in the closing laps, holding on to score a top-10 finish Sunday.
- Byron’s ninth-place result is a track-best finish for him at Sonoma Raceway in the NASCAR Cup Series.
- After the race at Sonoma Raceway, Byron moved up to the eighth position in the driver point standings, just 70 points behind the leader.
RECAPPING THE RACE
During Saturday’s practice and qualifying sessions, William Byron qualified 20th in the No. 24 RaptorTough.com Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 for Sunday’s NASCAR Cup Series road course race at Sonoma Raceway. Once the 110-lap event went green, Byron began methodically working his way through the field, reaching 13th by the time the first caution came out on lap 10. The 24-year-old driver reported under the yellow that he was just a little tight with front tires. Crew chief Rudy Fugle called him down pit road for four tires and fuel, but with only a handful of cars electing to pit, Byron restarted 26th. As he was working his way through traffic, Byron had to stop on track to avoid a spin in front of him, relegating him back to 28th. With the lost track position, Fugle changed the No. 24 team’s pit strategy, calling his driver down pit road under green two laps before the stage end for four tires and fuel. Rejoining the field after his pit stop, Byron finished stage one in the 27th position. However, during the stage break, Byron remained on track, electing not to pit.
Restarting 15th for the start of stage two, Byron lost positions on the opening laps of the run, fighting the handling of his No. 24 RaptorTough.com Chevy. Running just inside the top-20 for the majority of the stage, Byron was able to come down pit road three laps before the end of the stage for four tires, fuel and an air pressure adjustment. Returning to the track after his stop, Byron was scored 27th once again for the end of the stage. Under the stage break, Fugle let Byron know that his last set of tires had delaminated, causing the handling woes he faced on entire the last run. Once again, Byron remained on track during the stage break, in keeping with the No.24 team’s pit strategy.
Lining up 15th for the start of the final stage with 50 laps to go, Byron continued to maintain that position during the early part of the run. Just 16 laps later, green-flag pit stops began throughout the field allowing Byron to make up track position. The Charlotte, North Carolina, native reached 11th before Fugle called him down pit road under green on lap 81 for four tires, fuel and another air pressure adjustment. However, before pit stops could fully cycle through, the caution came out on lap 84. At the time of the yellow, Byron was scored 22nd but there were teams in front of him that still needed to come down pit road. Electing to remain on track under the yellow, Byron cycled back to the 14th position for the restart with 23 laps to go. Battling to fight his way through the field again, Byron raced his way within the top-10, as high as the eighth position with 11 laps to go. As tires began to wear out, Byron slipped back to ninth, but was able to hold on to that position in the closing laps until he crossed the finish line, scoring a track-best result for himself at the 1.99-mile road course at the Cup Series level.
QUOTING WILLIAM BYRON
“Ended up ninth here at Sonoma. Good run for our team. Fought hard all day and got the balance right and the second half of the race was good. Happy with that and going into the off week with some good momentum.”
THE NEXT RACE
TRACK: NASHVILLE SUPERSPEEDWAY
DATE: SUNDAY, JUNE 26, 2022
TIME: 5:00 P.M. ET
TUNE-IN: NBC, SIRIUSXM, MRN