Tuesday, February 20, 2024

William Byron wins 2024 DAYTONA 500

William Byron wins 2024 DAYTONA 500

Hendrick Motorsports Finishes 1-2

William Byron wins 2024 DAYTONA 500


William Byron was victorious in the 2024 DAYTONA 500 – 40 years to the day that Hendrick Motorsports made its first NASCAR Cup Series start in 1984.


Byron took the white flag at Daytona International Speedway and seconds later two cars went spinning through the infield following contact. With the caution coming out, Byron earned his first DAYTONA 500 win and 11th victory in the Cup Series. The win vaults Hendrick Motorsports into a tie (with Petty Enterprises) for the most triumphs by a team in "The Great American Race" and the organization is the first to win the crown jewel event in five different decades.


"I am just so proud of this team - this whole No. 24 Axalta Chevy team," Byron said. "Winning on the 40th anniversary to the day (of Hendrick Motorsports’ first race). Extremely blessed and thankful for all the opportunities. We just want to keep it going. We have a lot to prove this year and this is a good start.


"The DAYTONA 500. It’s freaking awesome. Let’s go."


Alex Bowman took second to give the Rick Hendrick-owned team a 1-2 finish in the DAYTONA 500. Kyle Larson placed 11th, while Chase Elliott finished 14th.


Three of the four Hendrick Motorsports cars escaped damage following a big wreck with eight laps to go. Larson suffered a flat tire in the incident but could continue. The Hendrick Motorsports trio of Byron, Bowman and Elliott restarted in the first three rows with Byron controlling the inside lane for the final restart on lap 197. Byron edged ahead of Ross Chastain with four laps to go and was holding off several hard chargers before the final caution came out after the white flag. The win is also the 26-year-old driver's second at Daytona as his first win came in the summer race in 2020.


Jeff Gordon and Rick Hendrick (#NASCAR)


"He was already a superstar," team vice chairman Jeff Gordon said of Byron. "He just went to another level of being a superstar.


"I wasn’t driving the car, but I feel like I was making every lap with him out there. It’s just crazy to watch these guys do what they do, do it so well and to watch them from this side of it. It makes me so happy, so proud. We’re going to celebrate. This is an amazing win, a huge win."


Byron's four laps led in the No. 24 Axalta Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 all came at the end of the race. Starting at the back of the field for moving to a backup car, he was the only Hendrick Motorsports driver to score stage points in the opening two stages as he finished fifth in stage one and sixth in stage two. In the final stage, Byron methodically worked through the draft to get into the top 10 after restarting the last segment in 21st. After pitting for fuel only with 19 laps to go, he rejoined the race in eighth and rode the middle lane to get into second with Bowman behind him before the caution for "The Big One" came out with eight laps to go.


"You just don’t know how these races are going to end and you have to try to put yourself in a great spot," Byron said. "I felt like our team did a great job all day just putting ourselves in position and it’s pretty incredible."


Bowman's second-place finish marks his best result in the DAYTONA 500 and is his second straight top-five finish at the 2.5-mile track. Starting the race in the seventh position, the 30-year-old driver noted he was a little free in the opening stage and was able to finish fourth. In stage two, Bowman placed 18th as the No. 48 Ally Racing team elected to protect their car for the final stage with the pack getting dicey. Bowman spent much of the final stage in the top 10, using the inside lane to his advantage to gain spots. After getting up to third for the final restart, Bowman chose the outside lane behind Chastain. He was unable to run down his teammate before the end of the race.


"Proud of William (Byron) and his team. They deserved it there at the end," Bowman said. "They did all the right things and I feel like we did too there at the end. Had to go up and block the top lane and that just hurt the middle for a bit. We got the middle back rolling and then they all started crashing.


"Proud of everybody on this No. 48 Ally Chevy team. Super pumped for everybody at Hendrick Motorsports. It’s 40 years to the day since the first Hendrick Motorsports race, so really cool to see William in victory lane."


William Byron's Winning Burnout (#NASCAR)
William Byron with Crew (#NASCAR)



source: Hendrick Motorsports Media

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