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      William Byron crosses the line sixth in RaptorTough.com paint scheme

      © 2021 Nigel Kinrade / NKP

      Start: 11th
      Finish: 6th

      Starting from the ninth position in the No. 24 RaptorTough.com Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 1LE for Sunday’s race at Kansas Speedway, William Byron lost a couple positions at the start. He quickly gained back the lost spots and more, reaching fifth by the time the caution came out on lap 11 for rain. After a slight delay for weather, Byron restarted fifth but settled into the fourth position by the time the competition caution came out on lap 25. Fighting a slightly tight No. 24, crew chief Rudy Fugle made the call for Byron to come down pit road for four tires, fuel and both a chassis and air pressure adjustment before restarting in the seventh position. When the field went back green, Byron was able to make up the lost track position, battling for the lead ultimately before settling into second with a handful of laps to go in the stage. With the handling of his race car swinging to the loose side, Byron finished the first stage in second. Under the stage break, Byron came down pit road to the attention of his pit crew for four tires, fuel and a round of adjustments.

      Lining up on the front row for the start of Stage 2, Byron was able to maintain his second-place running position throughout the stage. With pit stops drawing near, Fugle called his driver down pit road under green for four tires and fuel, allowing Byron to cycle through as the leader when pit stops had concluded. The 23-year-old driver was able to maintain his lead on the field in the closing laps of the stage, ultimately scoring a stage win. After the green-checkered flag had been flown, Byron came back down pit road, this time for four fresh tires and fuel.

      Once again starting on the front row, this time for the start of the final stage, Byron once again battled to take over the top spot but lost momentum, dropping back to fifth with the caution coming back out almost immediately after going back racing. Under the yellow, Fugle called the No. 24 RaptorTough.com Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 1LE down pit road for four tires and fuel. With split pit strategy taking place throughout the field, Byron lined up sixth for the restart with 89 laps to go and immediately pounced on the opportunity to make up ground, securing the lead the next lap back racing. The Charlotte, North Carolina, native continued to pace the field until the caution came out on Lap 217 just before green-flag pit stops were to begin. Hitting pit road, Byron came in for his service of four fresh tires, fuel and a chassis adjustment, however he had to come back down pit road a second time for the team to tighten up loose lug nuts before going back green. Restarting 16th, Byron jumped back inside the top-10 running order when the caution came out a few laps later. Electing to take the low lane and restart in seventh with 39 laps to go, Byron initially lost momentum on the restart but was able to regain it, reaching sixth in the closing laps. Despite showing speed as the race wound down, Byron was able to fight his way to a sixth-place result in Sunday’s race.

      Kyle Larson captured his ninth points-paying win of the 2021 Cup Series season after crossing the finish line first at Kansas Speedway Sunday. Chase Elliott was the next to cross the finish line, scoring a runner-up result. Byron fought his way back through traffic late in the going to secure a sixth-place finish while Alex Bowman finished 11th.

      William Byron: “I feel like we were executing a really good race and probably had the best car. We just had that issue and it took us out. We will rebound. This RaptorTough.com Chevrolet looked really good and we have had so much speed this year. It’s just a bummer to not get more wins, but I feel like our time is coming. We just have to keep at it.

      “I think we are there every week. We are putting ourselves in position in the final stage to win the race and that is really all you can do. It’s really hard to put yourself in that position, but I felt like we have done that multiple times. We just have to keep at it and see what happens.”

      Via Hendrick Motorsports