William Byron Aims To Join Historic List at Atlanta

William Byron

Getty William Byron lost his points cushion.

Hendrick Motorsports driver William Byron has a big goal heading toward Atlanta Motor Speedway. He will try to win the Quaker State 400 Presented by Walmart and become the seventh driver to sweep the track’s races in a single Cup Series season.

There are some absolute legends of NASCAR that have won both races at Atlanta Motor Speedway. Marvin Panch was the first to achieve this feat during the 1965 season. Bobby Allison then joined him in 1972 while David Pearson followed in 1973.

Bill Elliott actually swept Atlanta two separate times. He first did so in 1985 before adding two more wins in 1992. Carl Edwards (2005) and Jimmie Johnson (2007) are the only other drivers to sweep at the 1.5-mile Georgia track.

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The First Trip Featured Numerous Crashes

Rick Hendrick

GettyWilliam Byron (left) celebrates a win at Atlanta Motor Speedway.

The first trip to Atlanta Motor Speedway was a major moment for Byron. He captured his first win of the season and punched his ticket to the playoffs. He also conquered the “mini-Daytona” after avoiding numerous crashes.

There were 10 different cautions for cause during the Folds of Honor QuikTrip 500 on March 20, including one large wreck that collected 12 different cars. Another collected five cars and knocked some contenders out of the race. The final wreck took place as Byron crossed the finish line.

Byron was able to avoid all of these incidents while driving the No. 24 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet Camaro, and he turned in a strong performance. He led 111 of the 325 laps, and he held off Ross Chastain on the final run to the checkered flag.

“I’m excited to go back to Atlanta,” Byron said in a release from Hendrick Motorsports. “I think the track is going to be slicker than the last race there in March. It’s still going to race like a superspeedway race but I think we’re going to be working on the handling of our cars more than we did last time with the heat. I’m honestly interested to see how that plays out and what the conditions end up being like.”

The Race Weekend Features a Significant Change


GettyCup Series drivers race at Atlanta Motor Speedway.

The first time that the Cup Series drivers headed to the reconfigured Atlanta track, they had the benefit of practice. They were able to make laps on March 19 to gain experience on the repaved surface. However, this session took place after a weather delay.

NASCAR canceled qualifying for all three national series on March 18 after rain and lightning disrupted the schedule. The officials decided to set the starting lineups with the formula used in 2020 and 2021 in order to make room for some practice sessions on March 19.

The Quaker State 400 weekend will follow a different format. There will not be any practice. Instead, the drivers will climb into their stock cars and just head out for their qualifying laps as part of the superspeedway format. This session will take place on July 9 at 11:35 a.m. TV coverage begins at 12 p.m. ET on USA.

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