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William Byron Scores Podium Finish

William Byron leads Justin Allgaier during the Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway on Sunday, May 26th, 2024. (Photo: Phil Cavali | The Podium Finish)

CONCORD, N.C. – After a win at the Daytona 500, William Byron has shown a knack for being a threat at crown jewel races.

The seventh-year driver ran up front all night during the Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway, leading 49 laps and finishing third after rain shortened the marquee event to 249 laps.

Byron now has five top-fives so far this season. The finish in Sunday night’s 600-mile event was his second consecutive top-three in this race, finishing second to Ryan Blaney last year.

While Kyle Larson stole all of the headlines for Hendrick Motorsports with his attempt at the double, Byron gave everyone plenty to write about in NASCAR’s hometown. Byron paced Saturday’s practice session and put the Liberty University Patriotic Chevrolet on the outside of the front row.

After polesitter Ty Gibbs got away with the lead at the start of the race, Byron patiently followed in his tracks until he was able to take the lead on Lap 72. Byron lost the lead on a pit stop late in the opening stage, but got the position back on the last restart to score his first stage win of the 2024 NASCAR Cup Series season.

The second stage was not as smooth sailing for the No. 24, but Byron still rallied to the front on Lap 170. He was passed by Christopher Bell on Lap 189, and he led until Harrison Burton’s spin ended the stage. Bell and Byron had easily established themselves as the two best cars of the evening, running 245 and 247 laps in the top-15 fastest, respectively.

According to Auto Racing Analytics, they would have easily finished 1-2 had the race run all 400 laps, based on median lap speed data. Brad Keselowski would have been the only other car on the lead lap according to the data.

William Byron and Christopher Bell made their mark as the fastest cars in the Coca-Cola 600. (Photo: Phil Cavali | The Podium Finish)

The Reese’s Sweet Move of the Race is an award only given in the ARCA Menards Series, but if the NASCAR Cup Series adopted the prize, there was no doubt who would have earned it on Sunday.

Running fifth on Lap 239, Byron trailed the Monster Toyotas of Gibbs and Tyler Reddick on the frontstretch. As the two made contact, Byron made a daring move down to the inside, clipping the turf and clearing the two into Turn 1. Had it not been for Charlotte adding turf to the infield, it is likely that Byron would have suffered severe damage to the nose of his race car.

The move could not have come at a much better time for Byron, as the caution for rain flew five laps later. It appeared that NASCAR was going to try to dry the track after strong showers littered the 1.5-mile oval. However, high humidity led to the decision to call the race. Byron was forced to settle for third.

William Byron has five top-fives and nine top-10s in 14 races. (Photo: Phil Cavali | The Podium Finish)

This weekend served as another example of Byron’s speed at 1.5-mile tracks, as he also ran third at Texas after scoring a win a year ago.

Byron sits fifth in the NASCAR Cup Series points standings, with his three wins and nine top-10s tying him for the series lead.

The NASCAR Cup Series heads to the Midwest for the third annual Enjoy Illinois 300 at World Wide Technology Raceway this Sunday. Byron led 30 laps and finished seventh in last year’s event, which was won by Kyle Busch.

Harry Loomis is a 23-year old co-managing editor of The Podium Finish. He joined TPF in September 2023, having previously written for his own racing outlet. He graduated from Missouri Western State University in May 2023, earning his degree in Convergent Journalism. At Missouri Western, Loomis became the Sports Director of Griffon Media, becoming a trusted member of the student newspaper and weekly newscasts. A passionate race fan since age six, Loomis is originally from St. Charles, MO, and is a big NHL and MLB fan.

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