(REID SPENCER, NASCAR.COM) RECAP: WILLIAM BYRON HOLDS STRONG RUN THROUGH OVERTIME RESTART TO WIN MARTINSVILLE SPRING RACE
MARTINSVILLE, Va. (April 9, 2022) – The first night race for the NASCAR Cup Series at Martinsville Speedway was a cakewalk for Hendrick Motorsports—until a late caution sent the race to overtime, that is.
But William Byron survived a final restart and a mistake on the white-flag lap to win Saturday night’s Blue-Emu Maximum Pain Relief 400 at the 0.526-mile short track.
Byron led 212 of the 403 laps. Teammate and pole winner Chase Elliott led the first 185 circuits, as Hendrick Motorsports surpassed 10,000 laps led at Martinsville, becoming the first Cup organization to hit that prodigious number at a single track.
At the end of the two-lap overtime, Byron crossed the finish line 0.303 seconds ahead of runner-up Joey Logano, who couldn’t get close enough to Byron’s No. 24 Chevrolet in the final corner to make a move for the win.
Byron, who also won Thursday night’s NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race, is the first driver to win two events this season. Saturday night’s Cup victory was his first at Martinsville and the fourth of his career.
With his parents on his pit box for the entire race, Byron dedicated the win to his mother.
“When that last caution came out (for Todd Gilliland’s brush with the Turn 4 wall on Lap 393), I thought everyone behind us would pit,” Byron said. “Luckily, we stayed out—we were aggressive. We felt like we could refire on the tires and be OK.
“You’ve got one of the most aggressive guys behind you with Logano. I chattered the tires in (Turns) 3 and 4 (on the white-flag lap) and left the bottom open, but I was able to kind of block my exit to get a good drive off (the corner).
“This one’s for my mom. This same weekend last year, she had kind of a mini-stroke and was diagnosed with brain cancer. It means a lot to have her here, and it’s been a crazy year, but she’s doing great, and thanks, everybody, for the support. I kind of felt like she was riding in there with me. It’s cool to have her here, and I’m definitely going to enjoy this one.”
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