RECAPPING THE RACE
With only qualifying on Saturday, William Byron secured a ninth-place starting position for Sunday’s race at Talladega Superspeedway in the No. 24 RaptorTough.com Chevrolet Camaro ZL1. When the race got underway Sunday, the field remained two-by-two until the caution came out on lap 8 for debris. At the time of the yellow, Byron was scored in the 16th position but crew chief Rudy Fugle made the call for his driver to come down pit road to top off on fuel. Restarting 15th, the field once again stayed two-by-two until the caution flag was displayed again, this time on lap 23. Under the yellow, Fugle once again called the No. 24 down pit road to top off on fuel to make it to the end of the stage. Lining up in the 12th position with 31 laps to go in the stage, Byron maneuvered his way to the front, eventually leading the low lane. Continuing to run up front as the stage wound down, Byron took over the lead but quickly lost his drafting help dropping him back in the pack. Trying to regain momentum and collect stage points in the closing two laps, Byron was able to make his way up to the 11th position, just shy of collecting additional points. Liking the handling of his No. 24 RaptorTough.com Chevy, Byron came down pit road under the stage break for four tires and fuel.
Lining up in 15th for the start of the second stage, the field started to get a bit dicey, shuffling Byron to the top lane. Wanting to avoid any ensuing issues, Byron decided to remain at the back of the pack, out of harms way. Running 20th, Byron made his way up to 16th at the halfway point in the stage just prior to green-flag pit stops beginning. On lap 101, Fugle called the No. 24 down pit road for fuel only. The field continued to run side-by-side after pit stops cycled through, and with points on the line, Byron tried to work his way back to the front but was unable to find help. Continuing to try make up ground, Byron swapped lanes in the final laps of the stage but was only able to make it up to 15th by the end. Under the stage break, Byron came down pit road for four tires and fuel and the RaptorTough.com team picked up six positions.
With the fast pit stop, Byron started sixth for the beginning of the final stage, going back green with 62 laps to go. Making moves early in the run, the Charlotte, North Carolina, native moved up to within the top-three running order in the low lane until momentum switched to the high lane. Eventually able to move up to the high lane, Byron ran there for a few laps before jumping back in the low lane, trying to build momentum. Byron continued to try make progress until green-flag pit stops began on lap 160. Fugle called his driver down pit road under green on lap 161 for two right side tires and enough fuel to get him to the end. Momentarily racing three-wide once pit stops cycled through, Byron once again found himself in the low lane still trying to get momentum on his side. With the laps winding down, Byron did all he could to try work his way to the front. With six laps to go, the caution came out with Byron scored in the 11th position. Electing not to pit, the 24-year-old driver lined up 11th with two laps to go. Needing more help to make it to the front, Byron did all he could, fighting to finish the race in the 12th position.
QUOTING WILLIAM BYRON
“I just struggled there to get to the front. When we would be up there, we would kind of maintain, but we just struggled to get towards the front and were just kind of boxed in there at the end. So, yeah, ended up where we did, and it was unfortunate because I felt good coming in here and felt like we had a good opportunity, and we just never could get the track position to stay up near the front.”
THE NEXT RACE
TRACK: CHARLOTTE MOTOR SPEEDWAY ROVAL
DATE: SUNDAY, OCTOBER 9, 2022
TIME: 2:00 P.M. ET
TUNE-IN: NBC, SIRIUSXM, PRN