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      William Byron collects his third top-five finish in past four races

      © 2024 Ben Earp / NKP

      Returning to Texas Motor Speedway as the defending winner, William Byron once again had speed when they unloaded the No. 24 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1, qualifying sixth for Sunday’s race. Initially fighting a tight race car, Byron slipped to seventh but maintained that position until almost halfway in the opening stage. Showing long run speed, Byron re-took sixth just before green-flag pit stops began. Crew chief Rudy Fugle called his driver down pit road under green on lap 37 for four tires, fuel and an air pressure adjustment. As the green-flag pit cycle was playing out, it looked like Byron would cycle to the fifth position, however, the caution came out mid-cycle on lap 49. With varying pit strategies playing out, Byron remained on track and restarted fourth on lap 55. As the laps in stage one wound down, the 26-year-old driver tried to fend off those on fresher tires. Forced to give up a few positions, Byron ultimately finished stage one in ninth, still collecting stage points. Still struggling with a tight balance, Byron came down pit road under the stage break for four tires, fuel and an air pressure adjustment.

      With pit strategy factored into the running order, Byron restarted from the low lane in 13th for stage two. The Charlotte, North Carolina, native wasted no time though making up track position moving into the top-10 on the initial restart. As the run went on, Byron continued his march to the front, reaching sixth before the caution came out on lap 101. Fugle called the driver of the No. 24 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 down pit road for two right-side tires and a chassis adjustment. However, while exiting pit road, Byron got trapped behind a competitor, putting him 10th for the restart. With a string of consecutive cautions, Byron continued to run within the top 10 despite being too tight. When the caution came out with less than 30 laps to go in the second stage, he came down pit road for four tires, fuel and a chassis adjustment to the No. 24. Lining up 15th, Byron was able to once again make up track position, racing his way to 13th by the time the green-checkered flag was displayed.

      Electing not to pit under the stage break, Byron lined up eighth for the start of the final stage. Once again there was a rash of back-to-back cautions with the driver of the No. 24 Chevy reaching fourth before green-flag pit stops began again. Fugle called the No. 24 driver down pit road under green on lap 211 for four tires, fuel and an air pressure adjustment. However, before the pit cycle could be completed, the caution came out on lap 228. Talking through strategy options, Byron and Fugle ultimately decided not to pit and restart fourth with just over 30 laps to go. With the closing laps seeing a string of five cautions almost immediately after going back green, Byron maintained his top-five running position throughout the chaos. With overtime initiated at the 1.5-mile track, Byron lined up fourth for both overtime attempts and did his best to battle for the win. He was able to gain one position in the closing lap, crossing the finish line in third – his fourth top-five finish of the 2024 NASCAR Cup Series season.

      © 2024 Rusty Jones / NKP

      Chase Elliott took home the victory Sunday at Texas Motor Speedway with Byron close behind in third. Hendrick Motorsports teammate Kyle Larson crossed the finish line in 21st after being involved in an on-track incident late in the race. Alex Bowman was also involved in an on-track incident and credited with a 37th-place finish.


      William Byron: “I just had a big run. Ross (Chastain) and I race really well, and I didn’t want to wreck him there, but he blocked me late, which is understood. It’s racing at the end, but I was already there and unfortunately, we made enough contact to where it got him squirrelly and it happened. So, I hate that that happened, but it’s the last lap and I had the run so I am going to just take the run. I didn’t expect it, but I don’t want to do that to a fellow Chevy guy, and we always race really well.

      “Happy for Chase (Elliott) and those guys. They did a great job; executed really well and had a good car. … We struggled all day and had to fight tooth and nail all day just to keep our track position. We just had a few restarts go our way at the end.”

      Via Hendrick Motorsports