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      William Byron finishes All-Star Race in 20th

      © 2023 Nigel Kinrade / NKP

      Start: 6th
      Finish: 20th

      After a 50-minute practice session Friday for the return of NASCAR Cup Series racing at the infamous North Wilkesboro Speedway, William Byron and the No. 24 team locked themselves into a third-place starting effort in heat race two after their performance in the pit crew challenge for the non-points paying event. When the field took to the track Saturday in wet conditions, competitors spent the first half of the qualifier on slick tires before transferring to wet tires. Despite the conditions, Byron finished heat race two in third, giving him a sixth-place starting effort for Sunday’s $1 million race.

      When the field went green Sunday evening, Byron made quick work racing his way inside the top five, reaching fourth before slipping back to fifth when the caution came out on lap 17. With tires a factor and varying strategy playing out, Byron did not come down pit road under the caution, lining up in fifth for the restart on lap 20. As the green-flag run continued, Byron radioed that the handling of his No. 24 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 was just too tight causing him to loose a couple positions. Continuing to fight an ill-handling race car, those who pit for tires were able to get by Byron as well, dropping him to just outside the top-10 running order. Looking to make a strategy call to turn things around, crew chief Rudy Fugle called his driver down pit road under green on lap 60 for four tires, fuel and an air pressure adjustment. Rejoining the field in 23rd, two laps down, Byron was able to use his fresher tires to not only gain one of his laps back, but also battled to try become the first car one lap down. However, Byron came up one position short when the competition caution came out on lap 102. Trapped one lap down, Fugle called his driver down pit road for four tires, fuel and another air pressure adjustment.

      Scored 18th the first car one lap down, Byron started the second segment from the high lane, looking to gain his lap back. Unfortunately though, the longer that the run went on under green, the more ill-handling Byron’s Chevy became. Doing his best to hold on, Byron was able to maintain his position until after the three-quarter mark of the race when he dropped back to 20th. Still hoping to make up track position, Byron and the No. 24 team did what they could as the laps continued to wind down. When the checkered flag came out, Byron crossed the finish line in 20th in the No. 24 Chevy.

      © 2023 Rusty Jarrett / NKP

      Kyle Larson scored his third All-Star Race win, capturing the checkered flag and the $1 million prize Sunday evening at North Wilkesboro Speedway. Chase Elliott scored a top-five finish, crossing the stripe in fifth. While Josh Berry, who is filling in for the injured Alex Bowman, locked himself into his first All-Star event after a win in the open qualifier and went on to finish the 200-lap event in 15th. Byron and the No. 24 team tried an alternate strategy to the leaders that didn’t pan out, finishing the non-points paying event in 20th.

      Via Hendrick Motorsports