William Byron Sets New Personal Best Mark at Atlanta

Getty William Byron celebrates a win at Atlanta Motor Speedway.

William Byron won the rain-shortened race at Atlanta Motor Speedway on Sunday, July 9. He locked up five more playoff points and set a new career-best mark in the process.

The driver of the No. 24 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet Camaro sits atop the point standings for the first time in his NASCAR Cup Series career. He holds a 21-point lead over Martin Truex Jr., who finished 29th overall after a late issue.

Byron has been within reach of the points lead throughout the 2023 season, which has been the best of his career. He had a series-high three wins and seven stage wins heading toward Atlanta, but he was nine points behind Truex.

The situation changed once Byron became the first driver to reach four wins in 2023. He is now in a position to fight for the regular-season championship, which would only add more bonus points to his total.

“Honestly, I don’t completely understand this one,” Byron said after the race. “It’s a really good feeling. I’ve never had a rain victory like this. Thank you to Hendrick Motorsports, Axalta, Chevrolet. It’s cool — we went through so much throughout the night; spinning through the infield. Destroyed the bottom of the car dragging it around the apron trying to stay on the lead lap.

“At that point, you just don’t have the grip, so I was real edgy back in traffic. But Rudy [Fugle] made a good call to pit there and then stay out. Once we got towards the front, it was OK. We could honestly make the right decisions. Got the lead from AJ [Allmendinger] and just was able to manage the run. Just a crazy night.”

Byron Broke a Streak Dating Back to 2014

GettyWilliam Byron (center) set a career-high in wins once again.

The win at Atlanta Motor Speedway was Byron’s fourth in 2023. It once again set a new career-best mark, and it snapped a streak dating back to the first year of the playoff elimination format.

The last time the No. 24 car visited Victory Lane was in 2014. Jeff Gordon was in control of the Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet in what was his second-to-last full-time season, and he barely missed out on reaching the championship four after a wild cutoff race at Phoenix Raceway.

Gordon’s first win in 2014 took place at Kansas Speedway in the spring. He only led nine laps, but he finished ahead of Kevin Harvick. Gordon then returned to Victory Lane at Indianapolis Motor Speedway while adding another Crown Jewel to his collection.

Gordon’s final two wins of the season took place at Michigan International Speedway and Dover Motor Speedway. The race in the Irish Hills, in particular, saw Gordon starting from the pole and leading 68 laps in the Axalta-branded Chevrolet. Fast-forward to 2023, and Byron won his fourth race of the season in an Axalta-branded Chevrolet.

“Well, first of all, I think William does an amazing job representing the 24 and Hendrick and the sport in general, as a competitor as well as just a fine young man. Our sponsors, as well, love him,” Gordon told media members after the race.

“To me right now it’s about building superstars and recognizable faces and names. That’s what’s going to help grow the sport. We’ve lost a lot of them in a short period of time, and it’s about building them back up.

“I think William is on the cusp of doing that by going to Victory Lane, winning races, and leading as many laps as he has, and that just opens up more doors and opportunities to get him in front of more kind of mainstream media or get his face and name out there that I think will continue to help grow the sport. It’s come along at a great time.”

Byron Broke a Tie on NASCAR’s All-Time Wins List

The driver of the No. 24 Chevrolet Camaro entered the Atlanta weekend with seven career Cup Series wins. This put him in a tie with teammate Alex Bowman and several retired drivers.

Byron broke this tie with the rain-shortened event, and he caught up with another active driver. He is now in a tie with Team Penske’s Ryan Blaney and driver-turned-analyst Kyle Petty as he aims to add more wins to his total before the start of the playoffs.

Whether Byron achieves this goal remains unknown, but he has already delivered some standout moments for Hendrick Motorsports. One of the biggest was the Goodyear 400 at Darlington Raceway which took the No. 24 to 100 total wins.

Byron then went out and won Goodyear’s 2,000th race at Atlanta Motor Speedway. Gordon was the driver that captured Goodyear’s 1,000th win while in control of the No. 24 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet.

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