Great Player William Byron wins the 2024 Daytona 500 by outlasting the finish line action. 

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Lap 197 of the Daytona 500 saw a chaotic restart, and just minutes before Ross Chastain spun crazily into the infield grass off Austin Cindric’s Ford’s bumper, NASCAR called the fifth yellow of the race. Byron arrived at the start/finish line and took the white flag.

DADENA BEACH, Florida: For Hendrick Motorsports’ 40th anniversary, team owner Rick Hendrick had even more reason to rejoice thanks to William Byron.

With this victory, Hendrick tied Petty Enterprises for the most in the history of the most prestigious race in the NASCAR Cup Series. It was also Hendrick’s eighth Daytona 500 triumph. The weekend’s intense rains forced a postponement of the race from Sunday to Monday.

The 26-year-old Byron declared, “I’m just a kid from racing on computers and winning the Daytona 500.” This was his second victory at Daytona, having won the 2.5-mile superspeedway in the summer of 2020. This was his 11th Cup Series victory overall.

It’s unbelievable. My dad would be here, I wish. I know he’s sick, but dude, this is for him. We watched the race together from the grandstands when Byron was smaller, and we’ve gone through so much together. This is really awesome.

In the yellow period, Alex Bowman finished just behind his teammate, giving Hendrick a 1-2 finish and the organization’s first win in the “Great American Race” since Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s victory in 2014. In the “Great American Race,” it was the first Hendrick 1-2 since Jimmie Johnson beat Earnhardt to the finish line in 2013.

According to Elton Sawyer, Senior Vice President of Competition at NASCAR,

 “We use all available resources at the end of the race.” “Warning out, we’re going to utilize video and timestamp. It was 24 (of Byron) over 48 (of Bowman) at the moment of caution. Naturally, we would have preferred to have kept it green and let things wind down naturally, but at that point, there was no other option than to issue a caution as Cindric’s two cars had spun, started back up the racetrack, and would have been in the path of incoming traffic.

To help in understanding the timing of the caution, NASCAR shared the picture below.
In Victory Lane, Hendrick could hardly contain his excitement.

He declared, “I’m telling you; you couldn’t write the script any better.” “We felt so out of place and didn’t believe we should be here when we initially thought about going down here.

We recently tied a record and won on our 40th anniversary, so that’s fantastic.

Prior to the ultimate restart, Chastain was leading the race on Lap 192 when William Byron of Hendrick Motorsports was taken out of position by a bump from Alex Bowman, which caused Byron to crash into the right rear of Brad Keselowski’s Ford.

Daytona 500

Joey Logano, who had led a race-high 45 laps up to that moment, was in the Ford that Eselowski turned up the track into. The crash that left a line of damaged cars scattered along the backstretch included 23 cars, including the Ford of reigning series champion Ryan Blaney.

Along with Blaney, Keselowski, and Logano, the collision also eliminated Tyler Reddick, Todd Gilliland, Daniel Suárez, and the race’s reigning winner, Ricky Stenhouse Jr. For track maintenance, NASCAR red-flagged the race for 15 minutes and 27 seconds.

“Speedway racing once more,” Logano remarked wistfully. It’s a lot of fun until it takes this turn. There was a lot of pushing and shoving in the end, but overall, it was very interesting. It was manageable for our automobile. Our Mustang moved quite quickly. It could extremely effectively lead a line. I kind of felt like I was surrounded by the automobiles I desired. At least one was around that I wanted, but we were unable to make it happen.

Byron expressed his hatred for the incident that occurred on the backstretch. “I was shoved, and I went sideways. However, I’m really pleased with the entire Axalta team, since they celebrated their 40th anniversary on Monday.

We just want to keep it rolling. We feel really fortunate and grateful for all the chances. We definitely have a lot of work ahead of us this year, but this is a wonderful start.

It’s arguable how much Byron still needs to show. Last year, he qualified for the Championship 4, won a series-high six races, and placed third in the overall standings.

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Not even five circuits had passed when an eight-car collision near Turn 4 sparked the unavoidable attrition. John Hunter Nemechek’s Toyota was knocked into the middle lane and into the side of Harrison Burton’s Ford by contact with Keselowski’s Ford, which was in a closely packed line on the outside.

Burton dived into the infield, grabbing Carson Hocevar, the rookie for Sunoco, and his Chevrolet. Burton’s No. 21 Mustang raced up the track and collided with Austin Dillon’s Chevrolet and Kaz Grala’s Ford. Jimmie Johnson, the seven-time series winner, was unable to escape Hocevar’s reckless crash behind Dillon.

Burton, Hocevar, and Grala’s automobiles were destroyed in the collision. While his Legacy Motor Club team labored feverishly to fix his Camry, Johnson lost two laps in pit road while Dillon drove his No. 3 Chevy to the garage for substantial repairs.

Burton claimed, “I don’t remember exactly who it was on my outside,” during a visit to the infield care facility. It appeared as though they gave me a hard shove or became unsecured, striking me on the right side and knocking me over.

“I thought I would be fine once I was in the grass since it was so wet, but the car just kept going and going. really sad that our day ended so quickly. Our Ford was quite swift. It’s just unfortunate. We have no choice except to go on and strive to win the following week.

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