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      William Byron crosses the line 17th in Atlanta

      © 2024 Nigel Kinrade / NKP

      During Saturday’s qualifying session at Atlanta Motor Speedway, William Byron secured an 11th-place starting effort in the No. 24 Raptor High Heat Chevrolet Camaro ZL1. When the field took the green on Sunday, Byron narrowly avoided an on-track incident in front of him on lap 2 moving him up to the eighth position. Electing to restart seventh, in the low lane, Byron maintained that position until the caution came out on lap 25. Under the yellow, crew chief Rudy Fugle called his driver down pit road for four tires, fuel and both an air pressure and chassis adjustment to aid in a loose-handling Chevy. With a mixture of pit strategies taking place, Byron restarted 15th on lap 30. The 26-year-old wasted no time maneuvering his way back inside the top 10 by the time the yellow flag was displayed again, this time on lap 54. Electing not to pit, Byron remained on track for a one-lap shootout to end stage one, ultimately crossing under the green-checkered flag in ninth. Fighting a now tight No. 24, Byron came down pit road to the attention of his team for four tires, fuel and a round of air pressure and chassis adjustments to go partially back on the last set made.

      With varying pit strategy once again playing out, Byron lined up in the high lane from 24th for the start of stage two. He showed the speed of the No. 24 Raptor High Heat Chevy, making his way inside the top 15 by lap 75 and the top 10 less than 20 laps later. With lane shuffling going on among the top contenders, Byron reached the front five by the halfway point in the race as green-flag pit stops began. Fugle called his driver down pit road under green on lap 134 but unfortunately, as Byron entered pit road, he was spun by a competitor. Able to continue, the driver of the No.24 made it to his pit stall for two right-side tires and fuel. He rejoined the field following his pit stop, but due to the damage suffered, Byron went a lap down prior to the end of the stage. The Charlotte, North Carolina, native was able to hold on though to finish stage two in 26th, one lap down. During the stage break, Byron visited pit road numerous times for the Raptor team to complete damage repair as well as service his No. 24 with four tires and fuel.

      With the team repairing their Chevy as much as possible, Byron rejoined the field one lap down in 27th for the start of the final stage. Using the majority of the stage to fight to get the lap back, Byron was able to get the “lucky dog” on lap 241. Now back on the lead lap, Byron came down pit road one final time for two right-side tires, fuel and both a chassis and air pressure adjustment. Lining up 24th when the field went back green, Byron managed to pick up five positions before the caution came back out. With a five-lap sprint to the end of the race ensuing, Byron elected to restart 20th. He did his best to make up track position, ultimately crossing the finish line with a 17th-place result in the No. 24 Raptor High Heat Chevy.

      © 2024 Nigel Kinrade / NKP

      Unfortunately all four Hendrick Motorsports cars were involved in on-track incidents during Sunday’s race at Atlanta Motor Speedway. Chase Elliott led the four-car contingent across the finish line in 15th with Byron in 17th. Alex Bowman was scored 27th with Kyle Larson credited with a 32nd-place finish.

      Via Hendrick Motorsports