RECAPPING THE RACE
Showing speed early on in practice on Saturday, William Byron went on to qualifying in the third position at Texas Motor Speedway in the RaptorTough.com Chevrolet Camaro ZL1. When the green flag flew for Sunday’s race, Byron continued to maintain his starting position until eventually taking over the second position just before the caution came out on lap 39. Liking the handling of his race car, crew chief Rudy Fugle called the driver of the No. 24 down pit road for four tires and fuel. The RaptorTough.com team picked up one position, giving Byron the lead when the race went back green. Experiencing a string of cautions back-to-back, Byron continued to maintain the lead each time. However, on the restart on lap 83, Byron got loose coming out of Turn 2, slowing his momentum and he slipped back to the fourth position. Continuing to fight a now loose Chevy, Byron lost a couple more positions, slipping back to sixth at the stage one end. Under the stage break, Byron came down pit road for four tires, fuel and both an air pressure and chassis adjustment.
With most electing not to pit under the stage break, Byron started stage two from the 27th position. With a good restart, he quickly began making up track position reaching 12th by the time the caution came out on lap 136. Under the yellow, Byron once again came down pit road, this time for four tires, fuel and an air pressure adjustment. Lining up in 11th for the restart, Byron quickly went to work picking up additional positions, reaching ninth by the time the caution came back out on lap 169. Fugle made the call to bring the No. 24 RaptorTough.com Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 down pit road for four tires and fuel before lining up 13th for the restart with 33 laps left in the stage. With another string of consecutive cautions, Byron methodically tried to work his way through traffic before ultimately finishing stage two in the third position. Under the stage break, Byron came to the attention of his pit crew for four tires, fuel and an air pressure adjustment.
With most once again electing not to pit during the stage break, Byron lined up 17th for the start of the final stage. However, before the field could go back green, rain began to fall and the race was put under red flag conditions for lighting in the area. After a brief red flag, drivers returned to cars and went back racing with 111 laps to go. Really liking the fire-off handling of his race car, Byron once again began working his way through traffic making it up to eighth by the time the caution came out on lap 242. Not within the fuel window yet, Fugle kept his driver on track, allowing Byron to make his way up to second. After back-to-back quick cautions again, Byron came down pit road once their fuel window opened up with just under 60 laps to go. Restarting 10th with 55 laps remaining, Byron continued to try pick up track position. Reaching as high as third, there were two more consecutive cautions before the field went back racing with 24 laps to go at Texas. Byron quickly settled into seventh and continued to maintain that position until the checkered flag came out. This was Byron’s fourth consecutive top-10 finish.
Byron led his Hendrick Motorsports teammates to the checkered flag Sunday night with his seventh-place finish at Texas Motor Speedway. Kyle Larson also scored a top-10 finish, crossing the line in the ninth position. Alex Bowman ended the race in the 29th spot after an on-track incident early in the race. Unfortunately, Chase Elliott was also involved in an on-track incident that ended his race early in 32nd.
QUOTING THE NO. 24 TEAM
What happened off turn two between you and Denny Hamlin? Is that something you feel like he could have controlled to not have happen?
“Yeah, he ran me out of room and bent the toe link. We are lucky we finished. It was really hard contact.. it wasn’t like a light contact or something like that. I obviously didn’t mean to spin him out over there, but I am obviously mad and just not going to get raced like that. We have always raced so well together and I don’t know what it was all about. The 19 took it their way and he ran out of racetrack, so he chose to run me out of racetrack completely. And again, look, it was not like it was light contact and I thought we were going to be done.”
You ran into him on purpose off turn four?
“I don’t know. I mean obviously yeah; I went to go show my displeasure and I didn’t mean to spin him out. There are a ton of guys that do this and go do something like that…see it all the time. But yeah, I am just not going to get run like that and there is really no reason. I mean we are running second and third I think and had a shot to win, and it killed our car for sure. That was a bummer.”
Will you talk to him about it?
“Yeah, I guess so. We will probably talk. We have never had issues so I didn’t really get it, but I am also not going to be like ‘oh I don’t normally have issues with this guy and I am not going to be mad about it’. So it was uncalled for and I feel like we handled it.”
THE NEXT RACE
TRACK: TALLADEGA SUPERSPEEDWAY
DATE: SUNDAY, OCTOBER 2, 2022
TIME: 2:00 P.M. ET
TUNE-IN: NBC, SIRIUSXM, MRN