Byron Opportunistic in Capturing Phoenix Raceway Win – Ron Williams

Photo: 24 William Byron takes the checkered flag

William Byron took the checkered flag for the second week in a row, aided by a caution flag towards the very end, of the United Rentals Work United 500 at the Phoenix Raceway.

Photo: The trophy with crew chief Rudy Fugle and William Byron

The twenty-five year old Byron said he owes his crew chief Rudy Fugle for the back to back wins. “He has done a really good job strategy wise and execution wise. We have done a good job to put ourselves in those positions on the front row with a shot at the end.”

A beautiful day for racing with temps in the low 80s, and a steady breeze set the tone of the race that saw no major incidents or accidents throughout the 317 lap race.

Byron won both the first and second stages, but was behind in fourth towards the end, behind Christopher Bell, Kyle Larsen, and the leader Kevin Harvick. The caution came out when Harrison Burton spun. Different strategies by the front runners followed on whether to get two or four tires, or even pit at all. Harvick chose to get all four replaced, causing the added time that cost him.

Photo: 4 Kevin Harvick goes inside to pass 5 Kyle Larson towards the end a few laps before the caution flag came ou

Up to that point, Harvick had nothing but clean air ahead of him after overcoming Kyle Larson. Then with about ten laps remaining, the caution flag, along with a slightly lengthy pit stop, cost the leader the checker flag.

Harvick said, “We kind of lost our chance when I didn’t get a couple of tires on the caution. I still thought I had a chance because the cars ahead of me were running a little slower, but they got all jammed up.”

Photo: Byron smokes the tires following his win

The result was Byron winning for the second time in as many weeks, his 6th career cup win. Ryan Blaney finished second, Tyler Reddick third. Kyle Larson and Harvick, who were battling for first till the late caution, ended up fourth and fifth.

Sixth and seventh went to Christopher Bell and Chase Briscoe. Arizonian, Alex Bowman finished in the top ten for the fourth straight race at ninth. Josh Berry, came in tenth, running the car for the injured Chase Elliot.

There were ten lead changes with six drivers occupying the top spot. Larson led for 201 laps, Byron 64, Harvick 36, Erik Jones 14. Brad Keselowski and Ross Chastain had one lap each.

All but one of the thirty-six drivers starting the race failed to finish. BJ McCleod had a fuel pump issue ending his day with 50 laps.

Next Sunday NASCAR will be racing at the Atlanta Motor Speedway.


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