Ambetter Health 400
Atlanta Motor Speedway
Sunday, March 19 | 3 p.m. ET
BACK-TO-BACK BABY: Coming off a NASCAR Cup Series win at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, William Byron and the No. 24 team didn’t let up there at Phoenix Raceway. After qualifying third, Byron quickly took over the lead on lap two and never looked back, capturing the stage one win. Restarting alongside Hendrick Motorsports teammate Kyle Larson for the start of stage two, Byron settled into the second position and ended the stage in the runner-up spot. As the final stage began, he continued to run within the top five but a late-race caution restacked the field. Crew chief Rudy Fugle made the call for two right-side tires under the yellow, allowing his driver to race off pit road in second and line up on the front row. Byron battled with Larson in the final laps before ultimately making the pass for the win, scoring back-to-back wins for the first time in his Cup Series career.
GOOD COMPANY: The victory at Phoenix marked Byron’s sixth Cup Series career win. He joined elite company, becoming the seventh-youngest driver to capture six Cup Series wins at 25 years, 3 months, and 12 days. Those who accomplished the same feat at a younger age are all Cup Series champions – Kyle Busch, Chase Elliott, Jeff Gordon, Joey Logano, Kurt Busch and Richard Petty.
MY GENERATION: With two wins in 2022 and now two wins already in 2023, Byron has four total wins in the Next Gen car. He is tied for the second-most wins in the new car, just one win behind Elliott, his Hendrick Motorsports teammate.
CATCH ME UP FRONT: So far this season, Byron has led the second-most laps (240) behind only Larson with 270. His 240 laps led in 2023 are the seventh-most among Hendrick Motorsports drivers all-time through four races. In fact, in two of the four races this year, Byron has an average running position of 1.7 at Las Vegas and a 2.5 at Phoenix – both races he took home the checkered flag.
24 IN ’23: Byron and the No. 24 team are off to a hot start in the 2023 season. After four races this year, he leads the series in wins (two), stage points (49), average running position (6.79) and laps run in the top five (654). On top of that, the 25-year-old is tied for the most stage wins (three) and top-five finishes (two). Byron ranks second in top-10 finishes in a stage (six), laps led (240), laps run in the top-two positions (423) and laps run in the top 10 (768).
PIT ROAD PROWESS: The No. 24 pit crew has an average four-tire pit stop time of 11.139 – the third-best average in the field. The No. 24 pit crew consists of Spencer Bishop (jackman), Jeff Cordero (front-tire changer), Orane Ossowski (rear-tire changer), Ryan Patton (tire carrier) and Landon Walker (fueler). The No. 24 pit crew once again had a strong hand in this past Sunday’s win at Phoenix, helping Byron pick up two positions on pit road during the final stop, setting him up for the front row for the final two restarts of the race.
GOT 99 PROBLEMS, BUT WINNING AIN’T ONE: With his wins at Las Vegas and Phoenix, Byron continues to make his mark on the legacy of the No. 24 at the Cup Series level. Those two wins bring the No. 24 one victory away from 100. Currently fifth with 99 wins, the No. 24 is only behind the No. 3 with 101, the No. 2 with 102 wins, the No. 43 with 200 wins and the No. 11 with 228 wins on the all-time list.
THE ATL ARCHIVE: Byron has seven Cup Series starts at Atlanta Motor Speedway, but this Sunday will be only his third at the 1.54-mile track since the reconfiguration prior to the 2022 season. In this race last year, the Charlotte, North Carolina, native rocketed to the front of the field, leading 111 laps before going on to score his first win of the 2022 season. His spring win made him the fourth-youngest winner at Atlanta at 24 years, 3 months and 20 days. In both starts at the Georgia-based venue last year, Byron led 152 laps – the most of any driver.
CLOSING IN ON 300: William Byron’s win at Phoenix Raceway puts Hendrick Motorsports seven points-paying victories away from 300 in the NASCAR Cup Series. Twenty drivers have combined to reach the organization’s current total of 293 wins, which is the most in the sport by any one team.
ATOP THE BOX: For this weekend’s race, Kevin Meendering (No. 5), Tom Gray (No. 9), Brian Campe (No. 24) and Greg Ives (No. 48) will fill in as crew chiefs. While appealing penalties assessed by NASCAR coming out of Phoenix, Hendrick Motorsports has elected not to request deferral of personnel suspensions. Meendering and Ives have a wide range of experience as crew chiefs and currently lead the organization’s NASCAR Xfinity Series efforts. Gray, the former lead engineer on the No. 9, will be serving as a crew chief in the Cup Series for the first time. Campe, Hendrick Motorsports’ technical director, has experience as a Xfinity Series crew chief, but Atlanta will also be his first Cup Series race atop the pit box.
MULTITUDE OF WINS: Byron’s latest victory gave Hendrick Motorsports its 36th multi-win season in the Cup Series. In each of the last 30 seasons, the organization has won at least two races.
BEST IN THE WEST: In the last two races of the 2023 season (at Las Vegas Motor Speedway and Phoenix), Hendrick Motorsports has led 506 of the 588 laps run (86.05%), ran one-two for 401 laps (83.76%), tallied four stage wins, two race wins, five top-five finishes and seven top 10s. Sunday’s race at Phoenix saw the organization place all four of its drivers in the top 10 – Byron in first, Kyle Larson finished fourth, Alex Bowman placed ninth and Josh Berry in 10th.
FRONT RUNNING: Through four races this season, Hendrick Motorsports has led 542 laps. That mark is the second-most in the organization’s history through this point in the season and 10th all-time among all teams at this point in the season – 797 laps led in 1995 is the most by the team through four races. With 270 laps led by Larson and 240 by Byron, the squad is the first to have two drivers with at least 240 circuits out front through four races in a season.
HOPEFUL HARBINGER: Byron’s two wins in the first four races marks the eighth time that the 14-time Cup Series championship-winning organization has accomplished that feat. In five of the previous instances, the team went on to win the title: Jeff Gordon in 1995 and 1997 and Jimmie Johnson in 2006-07 and 2010.
GREAT EIGHT: The Rick Hendrick-owned team has seen eight drivers win at Atlanta – the most among all organizations. Gordon and Johnson each won five times at the Georgia oval. Darrell Waltrip, Ken Schrader, Jerry Nadeau, Kasey Kahne, Chase Elliott and Byron have one victory apiece.
BREAK OUT THE BROOMS: In last season’s two races at Atlanta, the Concord, North Carolina, based team nabbed both wins. Byron won the spring race, which was the first on the repaved and reconfigured track that utilized the superspeedway rules package. Elliott was victorious for his first home track win in the Cup ranks. Overall, Hendrick Motorsports led a series-best 278 laps at the 1.54-mile track last year, exactly 191 laps more than the next closest team. Byron and Elliott ranked one-two in laps led with 152 and 125, respectively.
TAKING STOCK: Hendrick Motorsports has been to victory lane 16 times at the Georgia venue. That total is the most among all Cup teams and is the fifth-most victories for the organization at any one particular track. Martinsville Speedway (27), Dover Motor Speedway (22), Charlotte Motor Speedway (21) and Pocono Raceway (19) stand as the only tracks where the team has compiled more wins.
DRAFTING DOMINANCE: Hendrick Motorsports has 31 all-time wins on drafting tracks (Daytona International Speedway, Talladega Superspeedway and as of last year, Atlanta). That total is 11 more than the next closest organization.
LEADERS OF THE PACK: Since the start of the 2022 season, Hendrick Motorsports leads the following categories on drafting tracks: wins (three), laps led (430) and average start (9.86). The organization is tied for the most poles (two) and top-10 finishes (10) during that span.