Date: July 7, 2018
Race 18 of 36: Daytona International Speedway
Track Specs: 2.5-mile superspeedway / 160 laps / 400 miles
Standings (from leader): 21st (-431)
RECAPPING THE RACE:
In Saturday night’s race at Daytona International Speedway, William Byron looked to have a shot at earning his first NASCAR Cup Series victory. Unfortunately, after leading 12 laps in Stage 2, he was collected in a multi-car incident that ended the night for the No. 24 Liberty University Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 team.
Byron started the 160-lap race in 18th, but steadily drafted his way towards the front, using both the inside and outside lanes to move forward. The Cup Series rookie had pushed inside the top 10 by Lap 30, radioing to the No. 24 team that his Liberty University was just a bit loose. He continued his progression toward the front, moving inside the top five on Lap 38 with just two laps to go in the first segment. With an exciting move at the end of Stage 1, Byron gained a spot to finish the segment in the fourth position, earning valuable stage points.
After a four-tire pit stop during the stage break with quick work by the Liberty pit crew, Byron lined up in the second spot to start Stage 2. A caution occurred on Lap 49 and he again lined up second for the restart on Lap 52. One lap later, the 20-year-old powered to the lead in his No. 24 Liberty University Chevy. Byron led 12 laps before he was collected in a multi-car incident, which ended his night prematurely and resulted in a 32nd-place finish.
Alex Bowman was the top-finishing Hendrick Motorsports entry after surviving multiple incidents. He crossed the stripe in 10th. Jimmie Johnson and Chase Elliott were both collected in earlier incidents, leaving them with 23rd- and 34th-place finishes, respectively.
QUOTING WILLIAM BYRON:
“The No. 17 (Ricky Stenhouse Jr.) came up in third, I think, and hooked the No. 18 (Kyle Busch), which hooked me kind of facing head on into the wall. I was able to get it turned and back to the bottom, and then I got clipped again in the left front and hooked into the wall. It seemed like he (Stenhouse) was being really aggressive and that is the second time we have kind of been on the wrong end of something with him. Unfortunate for us, but we had a good race going. We really needed to have a good day because of the points position we are in, but that is just part of speedway racing. At least we led some laps, so that was good. Not how we wanted to end here, but we will go on to Kentucky.”