Byron advances to NASCAR's Round of 8 with win at Texas, the 300th overall for Hendrick Motorsports - Seymour Tribune
William Byron wins milestone victory for Rick Hendrick in NASCAR playoffs opener at Texas, advancing to the round of eight.
In a thrilling race at Texas Motor Speedway, William Byron secured a milestone victory for Rick Hendrick and advanced to the round of eight in the NASCAR playoffs. Bubba Wallace, on the other hand, was left disappointed, feeling like he had let the win slip away. Byron made a decisive move after the final restart, overtaking Wallace and Chase Briscoe to take the lead and ultimately win the race, marking the 300th victory for Hendrick Motorsports. Despite starting from the pole position and leading a career-high 111 laps, Wallace blamed himself for a poor restart that cost him the win.
The top five finishers in the race were all playoff contenders, with Ross Chastain finishing second, followed by Wallace, Christopher Bell, and Denny Hamlin. Retiring driver Kevin Harvick finished in sixth place, while Brad Keselowski, another playoff driver, came in seventh. Byron, who secured his sixth win of the season, maintained his points lead going into the second round of the playoffs.
The playoff standings after the race saw Hamlin, Chris Buescher, Bell, Martin Truex Jr., Chastain, Keselowski, and Kyle Larson rounding out the top eight, behind Byron. Wallace moved up three spots to ninth but still remains one position below the cutoff line for the next round. Tyler Reddick, Ryan Blaney, and Kyle Busch are currently behind Wallace in the playoff standings.
With two more races left in the round of 12, at Talladega and the Roval at Charlotte, the pressure is on for the drivers to secure their spots in the next round. The race at Texas saw some intense moments, including a restart where Larson and Wallace made contact, resulting in Larson crashing into the wall. However, there was still one more restart after an accident involving several cars, setting the stage for Byron to claim the victory.
Byron, who drives the No. 24 Chevrolet, expressed his gratitude to team owner Rick Hendrick for believing in him and giving him the opportunity to race in the Cup series. He couldn't put into words what the milestone victory meant to him but acknowledged the significance of reaching the 300-win mark for Hendrick Motorsports.
Denny Hamlin also faced challenges during the race, as he sustained damage to his car after being hit by his teammate Ty Gibbs on pit road. Despite the damage, Hamlin managed to finish in the top three and avoided the late-race carnage that unfolded behind him.
Kyle Busch, however, had a disastrous race, as his car suffered a mechanical issue that caused him to crash into the wall. Busch attempted to reverse down the track to reach his pit stall but ultimately finished in 34th place, dropping to 12th in the playoff standings.
In other notable moments from the race, two cars lost their right rear wheels within a span of 13 laps. Austin Dillon's No. 3 Chevrolet and Todd Gilliland's No. 51 Ford both experienced wheel failures, bringing out caution flags.
Looking ahead, the NASCAR series will head to Talladega Superspeedway for the next race. Kyle Busch, who won the previous race at Talladega, will be aiming for another victory, while drivers like Ryan Blaney and Chris Buescher, who finished second and third in the earlier race, will be looking to secure strong finishes once again.