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CONCORD, N.C. -- After several successful weeks in the NASCAR Cup Series, William Byron hit a stumbling block at Richmond Raceway. The driver of the No. 24 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 1LE placed 21st at the Virginia track after starting in fifth. According to Byron, the trouble started almost immediately after the green flag was waived.

“We knew pretty early on in the race that we were in trouble,” Byron said. “I think we lost like 10 spots in 10 laps it felt like. When you’re in that position, you just have to try to change it up as a driver and try to do different things.”

The No. 24 machine was driving tight the entire night, which caused Byron to slide too much on the track as he went into turns. This made him to slow down tremendously. Byron said he could have caught up a little bit if any cautions occurred, but there wasn’t one incident on the track except for when the competition caution was dropped.

“It seemed like every time that we entered the corner with any sort of brake pressure at all, we were pretty much locking the left front and sliding across the track,” Byron said. “We were really tight in. Typically, you’re loose in here and we were extremely tight into the corner, locking the left front up and having to get off the brake as quick as possible to keep the front tires turning. That just doesn’t make a lot of speed and anytime we tried to go any faster than that, we were just killing the front tires off the car. Pretty much just had to run around there about 80 percent most of the time and try to have something for the end of a run.”

Byron said there was no excuse for how his car ran Saturday night. He referred to the race as a “slow death” and his 21st-place finish now puts him four points below the playoff bubble.

Now the field heads to Bristol for the final race of the Round of 16 in the playoffs. Interestingly, Byron found himself on the playoff bubble before the final race of the regular season at Daytona. Under that pressure, he won his first Cup Series race.

“We just have to put this one behind us and go to Bristol,” Byron said. “I think we’ve ran OK at Bristol – top-10 in the spring and (we) made the All-Star Race. I think we just have to go there and hopefully have a good run.”

Catch Byron in action at Bristol Motor Speedway Saturday, Sept. 19 at 7:30 p.m. ET on NBCSN.