Random Race Recap: William Byron at Daytona

In the calm before the storm at Daytona, William Byron needed points or a win to lock himself into the 2020 Playoffs. (Photo Credit: Chris Graythen/Getty Images)

As the NASCAR Cup Series entered the final race of the regular season, Random Race Recap followed William Byron. The driver of the No. 24 Liberty University Camaro started his night at Daytona four points to the good of the Playoff bubble.

Stage 1:

Byron took the green flag from the sixth position. After five laps, he worked his way to the lead. And from there, Byron simply dominated the opening stage.

The field lined up two-by-two through the opening laps but stretched to a single file line by the lap 20 competition caution. Crew chief Chad Knaus brought his driver to his pit stall for fuel only.

Byron restarted P3 and immediately regained the lead. However, the reign was short-lived. The bottom lane, led by Erik Jones, got a run and he fell to P10 on Lap 34.

The final laps of the stage looked more like the closing laps of the entire race. Byron moved from P12 to finish the stage P7 in a wild finish.

Without a doubt, William Byron dominated the opening stage of the Daytona Coke Zero Sugar 400. (Photo by Brian Lawdermilk/Getty Images)

Stage 2: 

Under caution, Byron came to his crew for fresh tires, fuel, and an air pressure adjustment. He restarted P7, but after getting stuck on the bottom lane, fell to P17. After losing nine more spots, Knaus called him to pit road for two seconds of fuel to finish out the stage. 

Unfortunately, this call put Byron in P36 once he was back on track. Spotter Tab Boyd encouraged his driver, “We’ll get there. Stay disciplined.” 

As strategies varied throughout the field, there were multiple single-file lines spread throughout the track.

However, the closing laps of the stage saw a surge from the No. 24. Bryon worked his way from P27 with six laps to go and nearly broke into the top 10 for a final stage point. Unfortunately, his momentum was cut off as Ryan Blaney jumped in front of him coming to the stripe. 

 

William Byron and the No. 24 team worked hard throughout the night to stay out front and in contention for the win. (Photo Credit: Chris Graythen/Getty Images)

Stage 3: 

Byron pitted once again for tires and fuel, and before the green waved on the final stage, Knaus brought him down to top off on fuel. 

He restarted P28, and as drivers took their cars three-wide, he worked his way to P21. By lap 120, Byron had climbed to P4 when Knaus, and Chevy teammates, called their drivers to pit for fuel only. 

Once he was back on track, Boyd said, “All good! Hammer down!” Byron did just that. In approximately 15 laps, he marched his way through the field, from P17 to P3. 

The field was two-by-two again with Kyle Busch leading when the caution flew. James Davison was seen limping to pit road with significant damage to his car. Byron came to his pit stall for tires, fuel, and adjustments and restarted P14 with 13 laps to go.

Immediately, the caution was in the air again. Calamity ensued as nine cars were collected in a classic Daytona “Big One.” Byron made it through, but laughed over the radio during the red flag, “There was about three times that I was in that wreck and then I wasn’t.”

With five laps remaining, Byron restarted P11. But, in true Daytona fashion, the caution was in the air again before drivers took the white flag.

The red flag stopped the action once again. The No. 24 team took the opportunity to have nearby cars to assess their damage. Ultimately, Knaus made the call to keep his driver on track.

 

A memorable night for young William Byron as he celebrates his first NASCAR Cup Series Win. (Photo Credit: Chris Graythen/Getty Images)

Closing Laps:

Byron restarted P2, next to Denny Hamlin. A hard-fought battle supervened behind him. As multiple drivers attempted to overtake the lead, Byron would see none of it. 

As he took the checkered flag, elation was heard over his radio. Not only did he win the race but he locked himself into the 2020 Playoffs. 

Obviously, emotions were high post-race as Byron secured his first-ever NASCAR Cup Series win. Additionally, it could not have come at a better time. 

Byron shared via Twitter, “Incredible night!! I don’t know what to say. This moment is so special for myself and my team, thanks to all the people that have allowed me to get to this point. First Cup WIN!!!”

 

This concludes Random Race Recap for the 2020 season. We hope to see it return with the 2021 Daytona 500! 

 

Terra Jones

As a life-long NASCAR fan and lover of words, I'm fortunate enough to put the two together here at The Podium Finish to bring our readers and motorsports fans news, features, and interviews from the world of wheels. Originally from the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains in Virginia, I moved westward to graduate from Middle Tennessee State University. I now reside in central North Carolina with my husband, our three boys, and our dog, Charlotte. While my heart is at the race track, I also enjoy watching baseball, as well as college football and basketball. 

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