William Byron puts on a clinic at Bristol

William Byron looked to be the man to beat as his brought his No. 24 Chevy to victory lane at Bristol. Byron led a whopping 116 laps en route to victory.

“I thought we had a pretty solid race,” Byron said. “Obviously there was a lot to kind of decipher through and try to get through, but I thought we stayed up close to the front. We had the one tire strategy call that got us back to the top 5 and then we just had to work through the top 5 methodically after that. Was really proud of how we kind of did things, and thankful for Nick Ottinger, who kind of helps me on my esports team, and AXALTA for letting us run this cool paint scheme.”

Byron was the polesitter coming into the event, with John Hunter Nemechek on his outside.

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As the green flag waved, calamity would ensue as Ryan Preece and Kyle Busch would be the first few to find troubles. The two of them would collide off of Turn 4 and create an early caution.

From there, it led to a chain reaction of cautions.

On Lap 11 Clint Bowyer and Bubba Wallace would tangle off Turn 4. Bowyer would slam into Wallace off Turn 2, sending the No. 43 into the outside wall, while Bowyer would spin in front of several drivers.

Jimmie Johnson and Kurt Busch would have a similar incident on Lap 18 as Johnson slid up into the No. 1 off Turn 4, thinking he was clear. Ryan Blaney and Clint Bowyer would also be swept up into the pileup trying to slow down.

Byron maintained his lead and the field would have a seven-lap run before another caution would fly as Chase Elliott and Ty Dillon rubbed fenders on the backstretch, sending Elliott’s car into the Turn 3 wall. Elliott’s car would go upside down as others would pile in.

Another restart would fly on Lap 40 as Byron pulled away. Laps later, Kyle Larson and Timmy Hill would collide off of Turn 2, creating a big crash involving Chris Buescher, Blaney, Johnson, and Ricky Stenhouse Jr.

The No. 24 would continue to lead but Byron’s teammate Alex Bowman would find trouble as he crashed off Turn 4.

Tempers flared as Larson and Daniel Suarez would bang fenders on the backstretch. The pair would chase each other down, sending them both into the Turn 4 wall. Larson and Suarez would retaliate against each other and were eventually parked.

Byron surrendered the lead in return for some fresh tires. Landon Cassill would take the top spot, with Buescher in second.

Buescher and Cassill would go side by side throughout the restart, but Cassil would slide into the inside wall, causing another pile-up into Turn 1. After Cassill’s wreck, single-file restarts were implemented.

Buescher would inherit the lead, with Matt DiBenedetto in the runner up spot and Bowman lurking in third. Byron’s fresh tires would kick in as he would overtake DiBenedetto and Bowman. The No. 24 would begin to close in on Buescher’s No. 17 Ford.

Preece hit Kyle Busch trying to make a move with 51 laps to go, bringing out the yellow as the No. 18 spun off Turn 4. With 44 laps to go, Buescher would lead on another restart. His lead would be short-lived as Byron’s car would launch his way to the point.

Dale Earnhardt Jr. would have his share of issues and brought out the caution off Turn 2 with 32 to go. Byron would pull away after another great launch on the field. As for Buescher, he would be hounded by a flock of drivers.

DiBenedetto and Tyler Reddick would move around the track to try and get around the No. 17. An accident involving Penske teammates Brad Keselowski and Joey Logano would interrupt the battling as Buescher would hit the stopped No. 2, giving the Roush Fenway car severe damage.

With 20 to go, Byron still looked to be untouchable. A caution came with 10 laps to go when Kyle Busch would crash would stack the field up yet again.

It came down to a four lap shootout, and Byron’s restart proved to be monumental as he would run away with the win at Bristol. Nemechek would finish second behind the No. 24. Timmy Hill quietly took third, with Denny Hamlin and DiBenedetto rounding out the remainder of the top five.

There were three different leaders within the 150 lap race.

Results:

  1. William Byron – 116 laps led
  2. John Hunter Nemechek
  3. Timmy Hill
  4. Denny Hamlin
  5. Matt DiBenedetto
  6. Ryan Preece
  7. Parker Kligerman
  8. Tyler Reddick
  9. Garrett Smithley
  10. Michael McDowell
  11. Clint Bowyer
  12. Christopher Bell
  13. Bobby Labonte
  14. Alex Bowman
  15. Austin Dillon
  16. Ross Chastain
  17. Joey Logano
  18. Kyle Busch
  19. Kurt Busch
  20. Landon Cassill – 4 laps led
  21. Jimmie Johnson
  22. Dale Earnhardt Jr.
  23. Chris Buescher – 30 laps led
  24. Brad Keselowski
  25. Ty Dillon
  26. Ryan Blaney
  27. Daniel Suarez – Disconnected
  28. Ricky Stenhouse Jr. – Disconnected
  29. Kyle Larson – Disqualified
  30. Chase Elliott – Disconnected
  31. Erik Jones – Disconnected
  32. Bubba Wallace – Disconnected

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