HomeSportsNascarNASCAR: William Byron Says There Was Nothing He Could Do in Late Laps

NASCAR: William Byron Says There Was Nothing He Could Do in Late Laps

by Jonathan Howard
(Photo by Jacob Kupferman/Getty Images)

Sometimes there is only so much you can do. That’s what NASCAR driver William Byron experienced this weekend. Despite leading for 122 laps and having a great day on the track in Richmond, the No. 24 fell short. It was a battle of tire strategy on the short track. The rubber was burning up quickly on those tight turns. Byron thought he could run almost 100 laps on one set of tires, and he did. But, it cost him.

Sometimes, surprises can just come up out of nowhere on the NASCAR track. Martin Truex Jr. was the only driver challenging Byron for a while. Then, out of thin air, it was Denny Hamlin and Kevin Harvick speeding up behind the 24. It wasn’t something that Byron expected while he was trying to clinch the checkered flag.

“Though we probably did the best job we could,” the driver said after a third-place finish. “It didn’t quite work out. I thought there at the end they told me I was just racing the 19 [Truex]. I’m like ok I got him, but then the 4 [Harvick] and the 11 [Hamlin] were on a totally different planet. That’s just part of it.”

By the time he realized what was happening, it was too late.

“There wasn’t anything I could do about them,” he continued. “So it was probably four or five to go and Brandon [Lines] was coaching me on keeping the tires underneath it and having good exits and entries. Especially making those guys around me on the top was definitely better. The times that guys would get underneath me was really, really hard to get back connected and get a good lap put together. … It’s nice to have a run like we had today.”

NASCAR Weekend Ends with William Byron Falling Back to Third

What makes William Byron’s end-of-race finish a little harder to swallow is that the driver’s 122 laps led were a career-high. He has a Cup Series win on the year, so he isn’t too upset with a third-place finish. The season has turned around for the Hendrick Motorsports driver. He had two DNFs to start the year, and now has put himself into 4th place in the points standings.

At just 24-years-old, he’s a young driver on the rise. Perhaps the No. 24 driver in his 24th year on Earth will be able to turn in a lot more top finishes and another win or two this year. It’s been an exciting season in NASCAR with the Next Gen cars and Byron has been a big part of that.

Although the early part of the season was defined by young drivers and first-time winners, Denny Hamlin changed that with one race. NASCAR heads to Martinsville this weekend and it is going to be another exciting race at a historic venue.