March 25, 2024 | By Holly Cain, NASCAR Wire Service

William Byron wins from the pole at Circuit of The Americas

Photo by Sean Gardner/Getty Images

AUSTIN, Texas — Hendrick Motorsports driver William Byron turned in a steady and inspired drive to earn the NASCAR Cup Series victory from pole position in the EchoPark Automotive Grand Prix at Austin’s Circuit of The Americas road course Sunday, holding off the field by less than a second but dominating the field when he needed to.

Answering his season-opening Daytona 500 win, the 26-year-old Charlotte native becomes the first driver to win multiple races this season. This is his 12th career NASCAR Cup Series victory and gives his Hendrick team a series all-time best 28th win on NASCAR road courses.

While at times Byron made it look easy – holding a nearly three-second advantage on the field with 10 laps remaining, his No. 24 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet did have to fend off a hard-charging Christopher Bell who made up four positions in those closing laps and kept Byron honest in what was ultimately a .692-second margin of victory around the 20-turn, 3.41-mile circuit.

“I feel like I made a lot of mistakes in the last 10 laps, just micro errors and Christopher [Bell] was really fast there on the longer run,’’ Byron said. “This sport is so hard and so difficult week in and week out to show up and have fast cars. We’ve had a little bit of a rough stretch the last few weeks but put a lot of preparation in this past week and just thankful for the team I have around me and all the people back home as well.

“Just super thankful to have this opportunity. It’s just a lot of fun to win races and it’s really difficult too.’’

For his part, Bell, driver of the No. 20 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota and a winner at Phoenix this season, acknowledged it simply came down to a good road course battle among good teams and talented drivers.

“Obviously once I got to him, it was going to be tough to pass him, I just needed a couple mistakes, but William has been really good on the road courses and he was flawless today,’’ Bell said.

Just behind the pair was Bell’s 21-year-old JGR teammate Ty Gibbs, who is having a stellar sophomore season in NASCAR’s Cup Series. Gibbs ran top five for the majority of the day and was running second to Byron until Bell passed him with only two laps remaining. The third-place effort marks his fifth top 10 finish in the season’s six races.

“We were just a little too loose in the right-handed corner,’’ Gibbs said. “I just wish we were a little tighter, but we did a really good job today. …. Good points day. We’ll just keep working hard.’’

In fact, the effort now brings Gibbs to second place in the NASCAR Cup Series championship standings, only five points behind his teammate Martin Truex Jr.

Byron’s Hendrick teammate Alex Bowman finished fourth followed by 23XI Racing’s Tyler Reddick, the 2023 COTA winner.

Unlike the previous day’s races at COTA with NASCAR’s other two national series, Sunday’s race had only two caution flags – both for scheduled stage breaks. It was a clean race that still featured seven leaders and 11 lead changes. But Byron led a dominant 43 of the 68 laps.

One of the sport’s best road course racers, A.J. Allmendinger finished sixth, followed by the 2022 COTA winner, Ross Chastain. Chris Buescher, Kyle Busch and Truex rounded out the top 10.

The two “road course ringers” as they are referred to, New Zealander Shane van Gisbergen and Japan’s Kamui Kobayashi had solid, if not stand-out days, finishing 21st and 30th, respectively.

Zane Smith was the highest finishing rookie in 20th.

The NASCAR Cup Series moves to Richmond (Va.) Raceway next Sunday night for the Toyota Owners 400 (7 p.m. ET, FOX, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio). Hendrick Motorsports driver Kyle Larson is the defending race winner.



NASCAR Cup Series Race Number 6
Race Results for the EchoPark Automotive Grand Prix - Sunday, March 24, 2024
Circuit of The Americas - Austin, TX - 3.41 - Mile Paved


Total Race Length - 68 Laps - 231.88 Miles

Provided by NASCAR Statistics - Sunday, 3/24/2024 @ 09:05 PM Eastern
Fin Str Car Driver Team Laps Stage 1 Pos Stage 2 Pos Pts Status Tms Laps Playoff Pts
1 1 24 William Byron RaptorTough.com Chevrolet 68 7 8 47 Running 5 42 5
2 4 20 Christopher Bell DEWALT Toyota 68 1  45 Running 2 9 1
3 2 54 Ty Gibbs Monster Energy Toyota 68 8  37 Running 1 1
4 17 48 Alex Bowman Ally Chevrolet 68   33 Running  
5 3 45 Tyler Reddick The Beast Unleashed Toyota 68 9  34 Running 1 1
6 14 13 * AJ Allmendinger(i) LeafFilter Gutter Protection Chevrolet 68   0 Running  
7 6 1 Ross Chastain Worldwide Express Chevrolet 68 10  31 Running 1 10
8 20 17 Chris Buescher Fastenal Ford 68   29 Running  
9 16 8 Kyle Busch Mark III Employee Benefits Chevrolet 68   28 Running  
10 7 19 Martin Truex Jr. Bass Pro Shops Toyota 68  3 35 Running 1 2
11 35 22 Joey Logano Shell Pennzoil Ford 68   26 Running  
12 28 12 Ryan Blaney Menards/Jack Links Ford 68  2 34 Running  
13 32 14 Chase Briscoe Mahindra Tractors Ford 68   24 Running  
14 8 11 Denny Hamlin Interstate Batteries Toyota 68  1 33 Running 1 3 1
15 10 23 Bubba Wallace Mobil 1 Toyota 68   22 Running  
16 9 9 Chase Elliott NAPA Auto Parts Chevrolet 68   21 Running  
17 15 5 Kyle Larson HendrickCars.com Chevrolet 68   20 Running  
18 11 2 Austin Cindric Discount Tire Ford 68 4  26 Running  
19 34 71 Zane Smith # Focused Health Chevrolet 68   18 Running  
20 12 16 Shane Van Gisbergen(i) WeatherTech Chevrolet 68   0 Running  
21 22 42 John Hunter Nemechek Romco Equipment Co. Toyota 68  7 20 Running  
22 18 77 Carson Hocevar # Delaware Life Chevrolet 68   15 Running  
23 24 41 Ryan Preece HaasTooling.com Ford 68  5 20 Running  
24 5 7 Corey LaJoie Gainbridge Chevrolet 68   13 Running  
25 21 3 Austin Dillon Get Bioethanol Chevrolet 68 5  18 Running  
26 26 38 Todd Gilliland Ruedebusch Ford 68  4 18 Running  
27 23 15 Kaz Grala # N29 Capital Partners Ford 68   10 Running  
28 30 47 Ricky Stenhouse Jr. Palmolive Chevrolet 68 6  14 Running  
29 25 50 * Kamui Kobayashi Mobil 1 50th Anniversary Toyota 68   8 Running  
30 29 21 Harrison Burton Motorcraft/Quick Lane Ford 68   7 Running  
31 19 99 Daniel Suarez Freeway Insurance Chevrolet 68 2  15 Running  
32 38 43 Erik Jones Family Dollar Toyota 68   5 Running  
33 36 6 Brad Keselowski Castrol 125 Years Forward Ford 68  6 9 Running  
34 39 10 Noah Gragson Rush Truck Centers Ford 67   3 Running  
35 31 4 Josh Berry # Overstock.com Ford 67  10 3 Running  
36 37 66 * Timmy Hill(i) Amptricity Ford 66   0 Running  
37 33 31 Daniel Hemric Cirkul Chevrolet 66  9 3 Running  
38 27 34 Michael McDowell Love's Travel Stops Ford 51 3  9 Steering  
39 13 51 Justin Haley Fraternal Order of Eagles Ford 68   1 Running  

Time of Race: 2 Hrs, 43 Mins, 15 Secs. Average Speed: 85.224 MPH Margin of Victory: 0.692 Seconds

Stage 1 Top 10: 20, 99, 34, 2, 3, 47, 24, 54, 45, 1
Stage 2 Top 10: 11, 12, 19, 38, 41, 6, 42, 24, 31, 4

Caution Flags: 2 for 4 laps; Laps: 17-18 (Stage 1 Conclusion [None]); 32-33 (Stage 2 Conclusion [None]).

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