CONCORD, N.C. -- William Byron suffered a heartbreaking moment Saturday night at Bristol Motor Speedway when he was involved in an accident that ended his playoff hopes. The driver of the No. 24 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 1LE was working his way through the field when a car slowed down in front of him. With nowhere to go, Byron and another competitor ran into the car, ending his night.
Despite this, Byron said he’s proud of how the 24 team ran and what they accomplished during this unprecedented year.
“I think it’s been a great season. I think that we’ve performed well,” Byron said. “I think we would have liked to perform better, based on how we ended last year. But we got a win and I feel like really the last five or six weeks, we’ve had all top-10 runs, besides Richmond, which is our worst track.”
The 22-year-old’s biggest landmark moment of the season was earning his first Cup Series victory. Byron took home the checkered flag at Daytona for the regular-season finale. Already on the bubble of making the playoffs, Byron punched his ticket in with dominating fashion.
He finished fifth at Darlington but struggled with the handling of his Camaro at Richmond, eventually placing 21st. Byron said he knew he could have performed well at Bristol if he wasn’t caught up behind the stalling car.
“It would have been worse if we just completely ran horrible this first round, but I think outside of Richmond, we were going to have two top-seven finishes,” Byron said. “I feel like we were well capable of finishing in the top five tonight. It was only halfway through the race and we were going to finish top 10 in both stages and move on from there. … I don’t know, you’ve just got to be more aware, I guess, than that to check up like that.”
Even though the end to Byron’s championship run didn’t go as planned, he still has recorded three top-five finishes and 10 top-10s this season. His three top-fives came in the last five races of the season.
Byron will have a chance to keep riding that momentum on Sunday at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. The race will start at 7 p.m. ET on NBCSN.