After rain forced the race at Talladega Superspeedway to be run Monday afternoon, William Byron rolled off from the 10th position in the No. 24 Axalta Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 1LE when the field finally went green. With weather still playing a factor Monday though, intensity was high from the start. Byron utilized all three lanes early on to try work his way to the front of the field in the opening laps. However, on lap 20, Byron radioed to the team that his water temperature was too high running in the pack, and he dropped to the tail end of the field until the competition caution came out on lap 25. Under the yellow, crew chief Rudy Fugle called his driver down pit road for four tires, fuel and to pull tape off the nose of the Axalta Chevy to help cool it down. With varying pit strategy taking place, Byron lined up in 17th for the restart but was able to maneuver his way within the top-10 running order. With laps winding down in the opening stage, Byron was scored 13th when the caution came out on lap 57, ending Stage One under yellow. During the stage break, Byron came back down pit road, this time for four tires, fuel and a chassis adjustment.
Lining up 15th for the start of Stage Two, Byron made up one position before the caution flag was displayed again, this time on lap 67. Wanting to utilize strategy, Fugle called the No. 24 Axalta Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 1LE down pit road under the yellow to top off on fuel twice before a small rain shower forced the red flag to be displayed. Once the rain passed, and the track was dry, Fugle once again called the No. 24 down pit road to top off on fuel to make it to the end of Stage Two. Going back green on lap 77, Byron restarted 13th but the field quickly went back to racing three-wide with more weather looming. Byron jumped out to lead the top lane, and while he was making progress to the front, he collected debris on the front of his nose. Having to drop back in the pack to get the debris off, Byron nearly missed an on-track incident on lap 97, putting him 14th at the time of the caution. Electing not to pit under the yellow, Byron restarted 14th with 16 laps remaining in Stage Two. With weather drawing ever closer, Byron worked on battling his way to the front of the field but unfortunately couldn’t find much drafting help. Running in the high lane with three laps to go in the stage, Byron unfortunately had no where to go and was collected in an on-track incident on lap 117 that ended his race early in 37th.
QUOTING WILLIAM BYRON
INVOLVED IN THAT WRECK WITH THE NO. 37 OF RYAN PREECE. HE WAS COMING DOWN THE TRACK. DID YOU JUST HAVE NOWHERE TO GO?
“Yeah, I don’t know. He was just coming down the track and I was kind of trying to run a third lane. Just part of Talladega. We’ll go to the ROVAL, try to win that one and advance that way.”
YOU ALSO HAD YOUR TEAMMATE, ALEX BOWMAN, GET KNOCKED OUT THERE IN TURN THREE. YOU’RE BOTH NOW BASICALLY IN A MUST WIN POSITION. HOW DO YOU TACKLE NEXT WEEK? HOW DO YOU GO INTO THAT MENTALLY?
“Just like we did at Bristol. Try to do the best we can. We tried to win last week and it didn’t work out. We tried to win today and it didn’t work out. We’ll approach it like we do every week.”
“Thank you to Axalta, Chevrolet and everybody back at the shop. We’ll have a really fast car for the ROVAL, so we’ll just have to go and perform there.”
THE NEXT RACE
TRACK: CHARLOTTE MOTOR SPEEDWAY ROVAL
DATE: SUNDAY, OCTOBER 10, 2021
TIME: 1:00 P.M. ET
TUNE-IN: NBC, SIRIUSXM, PRN