After lightning delayed the start of Sunday’s race, William Byron rolled off from the 18th position when the field finally went green for the Brickyard 400 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Racing his way to a Stage 1 win, and in position to take the win in Stage 2, a flat left front tire resulted in a 27th-place finish for Byron and the No. 24 Liberty University ZL1 1LE.
Once the field finally took the green-flag for Sunday afternoon’s race, Byron started 18th and wasted no time picking up seven positions before the competition caution on Lap 12. Liking the handling of his No. 24 Liberty University Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 1LE, the third-year driver came down pit road under the caution for four tires and fuel. After a short red-flag period due to an incident on pit road, Byron lined up 10th when the field went back to green-flag racing with 30 laps remaining in Stage 1. Continuing to show speed, the Charlotte, North Carolina, native made his way up to the sixth position as the yellow flag was displayed again, this time on Lap 41. Electing to collect stage points, crew chief Chad Knaus kept the Liberty University Chevy on track, resulting in Byron taking over the lead. Lining up first in the high lane, Byron maintained his lead on the restart and went on to capture the Stage 1 win – his second of the 2020 NASCAR Cup Series season. With no complaints on the handling of his car, Byron came down pit road under the stage break for four tires and fuel only.
Restarting 13th for the start of the second stage, Byron raced his way back inside the top 10 by the time that the caution flag came out on Lap 75. Fighting a now slightly loose No. 24 Liberty University Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 1LE, Knaus made the call for two right-side tires and fuel during the team’s pit stop, ultimately winning the race off pit road. Lining up as the leader with 17 laps to go in Stage 2, Byron immediately reported to the Liberty University team that he had a flat left front tire as the field went back green. Sustaining damage to the left front and hood of the car, Byron came down pit road for damage repair, ultimately going two laps down in the process. Restarting 30th for the final run to the stage end, Byron picked up one position to finish Stage 2 in the 29th position.
Once again pitting for four tires and further damage repair, Byron restarted 30th and reported that his No. 24 Liberty University Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 1LE still had decent speed. Despite the damage sustained, Byron was able to finish the race, picking up spots along the way when possible, to ultimately cross the finish line in the 27th position at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
Hendrick Motorsports teammate Chase Elliott was the highest finishing car for the organization, crossing the finish line in the 11th position. Byron rallied to finish 27th despite a flat left front tire in Stage 2. While Alex Bowman finished 30th and Justin Allgaier – who filled in for Jimmie Johnson- finished 37th after both suffered incidents early on in the race.
William Byron: “Our Liberty University Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 1LE was super fast today. It just sucks because we have had a lot of these things happen this year. It’s not a fault of anyone, it just happens and it’s a bummer for sure. We’ve had fast cars and it feels like we always have bad luck when we do. That’s what hurts even more. We just need to bring that same speed to Kentucky and hopefully we won’t have any issues there. To be leading the race like that and have a tire issue is, I guess, a good way to go out. We’ll just see what we can do in Kentucky.”
Alex Bowman and the No. 88 ChevyGoods.com/Adam’s Polishes team rolled off third at Indianapolis Motor Speedway on Sunday afternoon. The driver reported that his car was a little free in and snug in traffic on Lap 4 while running fourth. The competition caution was shown on Lap 12 and Bowman was scored in fourth. Crew chief Greg Ives radioed to the driver to bring the Chevrolet to pit road for right-side tires, fuel and an air pressure adjustment. Under the competition caution, there was an incident at the entrance of pit road which put the field under red flag conditions.
Once the field saw the yellow, Bowman was set to restart third when the field went green on Lap 20. After making some contact with a few competitors on the restart, Bowman was scored in the ninth position on Lap 21. The 27-year-old driver remained quiet on the radio through the next green flag run and was maintaining his position inside the top-10. On Lap 40, the caution flag was shown and Bowman radioed to Ives that his car was tight. Ives elected to have Bowman pit for four tires, fuel and an air pressure adjustment. While in the pit stall, the team also was able to make some damage repairs to the right side of the No. 88 machine.
Bowman was set to restart 11th on Lap 47. At the conclusion of Stage 1, the No. 88 team crossed the line 19th. Under the stage-ending yellow, Ives called Bowman back to pit road for four tires, fuel and a chassis adjustment. The team restarted 20th on Lap 56. While running 22nd on Lap 72, Bowman reported that his car was pretty loose but that he was doing his best. When the caution flag waived on Lap 74, the Tucson, Arizona, native was running 22nd and visited pit road for four tires, fuel, a track-bar adjustment, and an air-pressure adjustment. The team restarted 20th on Lap 83.
While on Lap 83, the caution flag was shown for an incident on track and Bowman was scored in 20th. Bowman restarted 17th on Lap 88 and once again the caution flag was shown before the field made a complete lap. The driver restarted 15th on Lap 92. Just three laps before the end of Stage 2, Ives called Bowman to pit road for left-side tires and fuel. As the driver of the No. 88 entered pit road, he slid the tires a little bit which caused a vibration as the team went back out on track. At the conclusion of Stage 2, Bowman was scored in the 25th position and was the lucky dog.
After taking the free pass, Bowman visited pit road for four fresh tires and fuel. The team restarted 23rd on Lap 106 and was up to 18th by Lap 122. As the field was making green-flag pit stops, Bowman was scored in the ninth position. On Lap 133, the No. 88 machine suffered a right front tire failure which sent him into the outside wall. Unfortunately, the team’s day was complete following the incident.
Alex Bowman: “I wish we could have some luck here in Indy. Every time we come here, something happens. We had a pretty decent car, but through a series of events it just got worse. We suffered a tire issue right before we made a green flag stop, which ended our day. I hate it for my guys and everyone at Hendrick Motorsports because they have been putting in a ton of hours both at track and at the shop. We will move on to Kentucky and I hope we bring some luck with us.”