Hendrick Motorsports driver William Byron earned his first victory in his career on Saturday night at Daytona International Speedway in the Coke Zero Sugar 400 season finale.
In the two lap overtime restart, Byron grapped the lead from Denny Hamlin and held off his teammate Chase Elliot to take the victory.
Byron said he had confidence in his team starting with the crew chief(Chad Knaus) and the guys who could get all the tyres in the pit stops and make the most of it.
“It’s been a hard couple of years in the Cup Series and trying to get my first win and gel with this team.”
” These guys did an awesome job today and got us in the playoffs and it’s amazing.”
“This is probably the hardest track to points-race.” William Byron continued. ” We had a great Stage 2 and kind of got back in the pack and got shuffled when everyone went singlefile, I thought my hopes were up there. And we were racing around Matt DiBenedetto (No. 21) and Jimmie Johnson(No. 48) in the final stage and I was like man, I’ve got to really make something happen.”
An incident however occured at the front of the field involving 11 cars including Jimmie Johnson’s car and Joey Logano’s Team Penske Ford which had won the first two stages of the race. William Byron was a part of the close contact racing incident and his team was worried whether his car was damaged. Their strategies however paid off because Byron stayed out in the race restart instead of pitting and became the race leader when the caution came out.
This happened on lap 152 when Tyler Reddick(No 8) cut infront Kyle Busch to take the lead of turn 4 making contact with Kurt Busch(No 1) making him get into Erik Jones(No 20) and triggering the crashes.
Among other drivers involved in the incident were Martin Truex Jr(No 19), Ricky Stenhouse Jr(No 47), Michael McDowell(No 34), Ryan Newman(No 6), Ryan Preece(No 37) and Austin Dillon(No 3).
Seven-race winner Kevin Harvick who is the regular season champion, is the top taking a 10-point advantage into the playoffs over six-race winner Denny Hamlin. Byron moved up to a 9th place seeding thanks to his win. DiBenedetto starts his first ever playoffs ranking 16th