William Byron Has Career Day at ISM Raceway

(Photo: Matthew T. Thacker/NKP)

By: Zach Catanzareti, Staff Writer
Hendrick Motorsports started strong at ISM Raceway. And it didn’t stop there, especially for William Byron.

With Chase Elliott topping the foursome, finishing third, Sunday’s TicketGuardian 500 saw a career day from another of the team’s youngsters in Byron.

Starting the 312-lapper from the 11th spot, Byron would see the green flag in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series in better position than ever before. His No. 24 Chevrolet made the final round of group qualifying for the first time of 2018 and would have solid track position for a track that breeds tough passing conditions.

Additionally, the track also breeds strategy, and it’s precisely how the reigning XFINITY Series champion would grab some attention in the latter quarter of the event.

Taking two tires under a lap-192 caution, the 20-year-old would restart in the lead for the first time. He held the top spot for 15 laps before Denny Hamlin, Kevin Harvick and Kyle Busch trained on by and started a battle of their own.

Though on older race rubber, Byron maintained a top-10 spot before the final round of green-flag pit stops pushed him outside to 12th. The long green stretch of 114 laps showcased Byron’s long-run speed, while his HMS teammate Alex Bowman trailed him to finish 13th. Jimmie Johnson was a step behind the two first-year Hendrick men in 14th, putting all four drivers in the top 15 for the first time of 2018.

But for Byron, Sunday was especially meaningful for a rookie who hasn’t lit the world on fire in his early days in Cup racing. Finishing 23rd, 18th and 27th in the first three races, a solid 12th-place result (his first lead-lap finish) will give the Charlotte, North Carolina native a momentum boost heading into the final corner of the West Coast Swing at Auto Club Speedway next weekend.

One Comment

  1. Al Torney

    March 11, 2018 at 8:15 pm

    A career day? Gimme a break. I should hope he would like to do better in the future. It was pit strategy that got him a good finish.

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