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William Byron Survives New Look Atlanta To Win

William Byron won a wild one in Hotlanta (Photo: Stephen Conley | TPF).

On a day that saw the 1.5-mile Atlanta Motor Speedway behave more like Daytona and Talladega, Hendrick Motorsports driver William Byron survived the mayhem in Georgia to win the Folds of Honor QuikTrip 500.

In the closing laps of the race, Byron faced a fierce challenge from Bubba Wallace, Ryan Blaney and both Trackhouse drivers. While going for the win, Blaney brushed the wall and Wallace lost his momentum.

This allowed teammates Ross Chastain and Daniel Suarez to set up a move together at the very last moment but Byron successfully held them off and the rest of the pack.

“The Liberty University Chevrolet was awesome there,” Byron said.

“We had a pretty rough practice; worked hard on it and got it handling well. Like I told you, it was kind of an intermediate style with a little bit of superspeedway to it, so it was lot of fun. Thanks to everyone at Hendrick Motorsports. Super exciting.”

The night before the NASCAR Cup Series race at Atlanta, Byron traveled back to North Carolina after Cup practice and won a Super Late Model race at Hickory Motor Speedway on Saturday evening before returning for Sunday’s race.

Stage 2

Coming to the final lap of Stage 2, Kyle Larson got turned into the outside wall on the frontstretch, after getting a huge push from behind by Denny Hamlin. Chase Elliott received some minor damage to the right side of his No. 9 Chevrolet, due to contact with an out-of-control Larson. This ended the day for Hamlin and Larson.

As a result, like the first one, Stage 2 ended under caution. Ryan Blaney got the stage win for Team Penske.

Similar to Ross Chastain, Ricky Stenhouse Jr. popped a tire on Lap 202 and spun out while leading the race. Stenhouse got clobbered by Austin Cindric. Both drivers retired from the race. Kevin Harvick got some damage to his left-front after he made contact with Erik Jones as both drivers were attempting to avoid the wreck.

Following struggles with crash damage from the incident with Austin Dillon in the first stage, Kyle Busch took his wounded No. 18 M&Ms Toyota to the garage after 171 laps, ending his race early.

Tyler Reddick’s flat right-rear tire caused his No. 8 Chevrolet to spin around in front of the pack while running in the top-five on Lap 146. It set off a chain reaction as multiple drivers wrecked trying to avoid Reddick. The only driver out of the race from damage suffered in this incident was Cole Custer.

Stage 2 Top-10 Results: Blaney, Elliott, Briscoe, Almirola, Keselowski, Suarez, Truex Jr., Wallace, Byron, Chastain.

Stage 1

With a few laps remaining in the opening stage, Denny Hamlin slid up in front of Austin Dillon, getting the No. 3 Chevrolet loose, who got into the wall on the frontstretch. Dillon collected Kyle Busch in this incident that ended Stage 1 under caution, with William Byron getting the stage win.

Chase Briscoe and Ty Dillon were also involved in the crash at the end of Stage 1. Both Dillon brothers retired from the race.

Ross Chastain dominated the early part of Stage 1 until a tire went down and the No. 1 Trackhouse Chevrolet hit the wall while leading the race on Lap 96.

On Lap 25, Noah Gragson’s first Cup start with Kaulig Racing ended early. The driver of the No. 16 Chevrolet lost control in Turn 2, attempted to save it, but slammed the nose hard into the outside wall.

Stage 1 Top-10 Results: Byron, Hamlin, Suarez, Stenhouse Jr., Jones, Ku. Busch, Bowman, Reddick, Larson, Cindric.

Trackhouse Building Momentum

Trackhouse Racing is inching closer and closer to winning in the NASCAR Cup Series with Ross Chastain and Daniel Suarez (Photo: Stephen Conley | TPF).

In the last four races, Trackhouse Racing has been in contention to win races. At Fontana, Daniel Suarez challenged Kyle Larson for the win in the final laps.

The following week at Las Vegas, Ross Chastain led a career-best 83 laps and finished third. Next, Chastain finished second to first-time Cup winner Chase Briscoe at Phoenix. Suarez also brought home a ninth-place result to put both Trackhouse Chevrolets in the top-10.

Chastain and Suarez left Atlanta Motor Speedway with a pair of top-five finishes as the organization keeps knocking on the door of finally breaking through with their first NASCAR victory.

“Can’t thank everybody at Trackhouse, the Moose, Advent Health, everybody that’s been on this car,” Chastain said.

“Justin Marks and his family for what they do for me and Daniel Suarez. What a teammate to push me there at the end.”

Suarez thinks the team will have a few trophies coming to the Trackhouse shop soon if they continue to perform like this.

“Everyone at Trackhouse Racing has been working very, very hard to build cars like this,” Suarez said. “We just have to keep it up.”

Stacking Pennies

Corey LaJoie always talks about stacking pennies. At Atlanta, he graduated to stacking nickels because he earned the first top-five finish of his NASCAR Cup Series career after 169 starts.

He recovered from taking a wild ride through the frontstretch grass to secure the fifth-place result.

“We missed the wrecks and put our No. 7 Fraternal Order of Eagles Camaro ZL1 there at the end and got a top-five finish,” LaJoie said.

“It’s great to start our season with three top-15’s and now one top-five. Hopefully, we can maintain the momentum over the next couple of weeks and put ourselves in a good points position through the summer. Thank you to everyone at Spire Motorsports and the No. 7 team for all the hard work to continue to build fast Chevy’s.”

Next Race

Next week, NASCAR trades the superspeedway style of racing we saw at Atlanta for the left and right turns of COTA (Photo: Stephen Conley | TPF).

Next Sunday afternoon, the NASCAR Cup Series visits Circuit of the Americas (3:30 p.m. ET on FOX) for the first road course race of the 2022 season.

With Chase Elliott being the only Hendrick Motorsports driver without a win in this young season, returning to COTA where he won last year makes him one of the early favorites.

Folds of Honor QuikTrip 500 Top-10 Results: Byron, Chastain, Ku. Busch, Suarez, LaJoie, Elliott, Buescher, Truex Jr., Logano, Bowman.

Kobe Lambeth is a 2021 graduate of UNC Charlotte, who earned his undergraduate degree in Communication Studies (mass media concentration), with a double minor in Journalism and American Studies. In February 2007, he initially developed a strong passion for motorsports. His childhood dream is to work in the motorsports industry for a long time. In June 2017, his journey began as a freelance journalist and social media specialist for RockinghamNow, covering high school sports and leading a Twitter project. He was a part of expanded coverage of high school football within his local community. Through the use of Twitter, his team had a goal of significantly increasing the number of followers on multiple accounts. At The Podium Finish, he intends to provide professional motorsports coverage, focusing on series such as the NASCAR Cup Series, NTT IndyCar Series and more. He's also a Freelance Editor at NASCAR Digital Media and Multimedia Producer at GRID Network

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