CONCORD, N.C. -- William Byron performed his first burnout of the season after he crossed the finish line first at Homestead-Miami Speedway on Sunday, becoming the youngest driver to win at the track.
The 23-year-old driver of the No. 24 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 1LE took a commanding lead halfway through the race and was out front for 102 laps of the 267-lap event. The victory is Byron's first of the season and second of his NASCAR Cup Series career.
Byron's accomplishment marks crew chief Rudy Fugle's first Cup Series win. It took just three races for Fugle to earn a victory in the highest level of NASCAR. Only Gary Nelson posted a victory in fewer races as a full-time crew chief for the Hendrick Motorsports. Nelson won the 1986 DAYTONA 500 with Geoff Bodine in their first outing together.
"That guy has been huge for my career," Byron said of Fugle after the race. "He's the reason I'm here and I'm glad we could get him. He's just awesome, and this whole team did a phenomenal job."
The win also put Byron in elite company. He is among eight drivers to have at least two wins before the age of 24. Byron turned 23 on Nov. 29.
Teammate Kyle Larson was hot on Byron's tail throughout the last part of the race and earned a fourth-place finish. Alex Bowman also finished inside the top 10 with a ninth-place result and Chase Elliott rounded out the Hendrick Motorsports crew by crossing the finish line 14th.
Take a look below to see how the Hendrick Motorsports drivers performed at Homestead-Miami Speedway.
KYLE LARSON, NO. 5 NATIONSGUARD CHEVROLET CAMARO ZL1 1LE
HOW IT HAPPENED:
- Larson started the race 17th and leaped to fifth on the 10th lap. He edged to fourth several laps later and was in the that same position when the competition caution dropped. He pitted under caution and returned to the track in ninth.
- Larson edged to eighth during the 32nd lap and moved to seventh four laps later and was up to sixth with 30 laps left in the first stage. He remained in that position through the end of Stage 1, earning valuable stage points.
- The driver of the No. 5 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 1LE was eighth on the Stage 2 restart and jumped to fifth within a lap, then scooted to fourth less than a circuit later. He was third by Lap 91, just a spot behind leader and teammate Chase Elliott.
- He soon passed Elliott for second place. Larson shuffled to fourth 118 laps in and pitted by Lap 122. He returned to the track 14th and jumped to 11th within five laps. Larson was cruising in ninth place by Lap 134 and restarted sixth after the fourth yellow flag. He finished Stage 2 up a position in fifth place.
- The Elk Grove, California, native edged to fourth by the start of Stage 3 and quickly moved to third a couple laps later. Larson jumped to second on Lap 175 behind teammate William Byron for a 1-2 Hendrick Motorsports lead.
- He dropped to third with 75 laps left in the race and was cruising in the same position when the fifth yellow flag was waived a couple laps later. The No. 5 pit crew worked fast, allowing Larson to take second at the restart.
- The 28-year-old battled for the lead but soon was passed by Byron. Larson helped Byron maintain the lead and soon was gunning for second with another driver. Larson settled into third with 57 laps to go. By Lap 215, he was tailing Byron for the lead again.
- Larson had a hard-fought battle for second place within the final five laps. He finished fourth for his first top-five finish of the season.
CHASE ELLIOTT, NO. 9 NAPA AUTO PARTS CHEVROLET CAMARO ZL1 1LE
HOW IT HAPPENED:
- Elliott rolled off the grid 11th and moved up to 10th early in the first stage. He fell back to 13th when the competition caution dropped and pitted for four tires, some chassis adjustments and fuel during that time.
- Elliott returned to the track 19th and quickly edged to 16th during Lap 33 and shifted up two spots to 14th by the 63rd lap. He gained four spots under the second caution one lap later, returning to the track 10th. He maneuvered to eighth place by the end of Stage 1, rounding out the four Hendrick Motorsports drivers.
- The No. 9 pit crew was stellar on pit road, allowing Elliott to move up four spots on the restart. He edged to third by Lap 89 and took the lead 11 laps into the second stage.
- He lost the top spot by less than half a second four laps later and was in fifth by Lap 102. Elliott dropped to seventh 15 laps later. He pitted during Lap 121 and returned to the track 11th, eventually dropping to 13th by the fourth yellow flag. Elliott finished Stage 2 up a spot in 12th place.
- The reigning NASCAR Cup Series champion was 10th when the field went green for Stage 3. However, he fell back to 24th 20 laps into the stage due to tight handling.
- Eventually, Elliott started to pick off the field and was 19th with 67 laps to go. He pitted during the fifth caution and returned to the track 16th.
- Elliott edged to 14th with 56 laps left in the race. He dropped to 15th 10 laps later but moved up to 14th before the checkered flag waved.
WILLIAM BYRON, NO. 24 AXALTA CHEVROLET CAMARO ZL1 1LE
HOW IT HAPPENED:
- Byron kicked off the race 31st and jumped up the leaderboard to 14th nine laps into the race. Byron was 12th when the competition caution dropped during the 25th lap. He pitted for four tires, fuel and an air pressure adjustment before returning to the track in 10th place.
- Byron jumped to seventh by Lap 32 and moved in front of teammate Kyle Larson for sixth. He continued to the climb the leaderboard and battled for third on lap 46 before earning a top-three spot less than a lap later.
- The 23-year-old driver continued his climb and was in second with 19 laps left in the first stage. He pitted for four tires, fuel and a chassis adjustment, then returned to the track eighth. He shot up to fourth before the end of Stage 1.
- Byron chose the high lane on the restart and began Stage 2 sixth. He moved to fifth by Lap 90, making the top five three Hendrick Motorsports drivers behind Chase Elliott and Kyle Larson. Three laps later, he edged to fourth behind his teammates.
- Byron was third by Lap 102. He pitted by Lap 122 and came out on the track in fourth place. He jumped to third again on Lap 125 and kept that spot until he pitted under yellow 30 laps later. Byron restarted fourth and powered to first place within the final two laps of Stage 2, earning his first stage win of the season.
- The driver of the No. 24 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 1LE maintained the lead when the fifth yellow flag dropped. He pitted and returned to the track sixth.
- Byron surged past the top five drivers to quickly take over the lead. At one point he stretched his lead to over five seconds in the final laps of the race and eventually earned his first win of the season and second in the Cup Series.
ALEX BOWMAN, NO. 48 ALLY CHEVROLET CAMARO ZL1 1LE
HOW IT HAPPENED:
- Bowman started the race 13th but had to drop to the back due to an inspection issue. He was up to 23rd by the 10th lap and was 20th when the competition caution dropped. He headed to pit road for fuel and four fresh tires.
- Bowman restarted 19th and jumped to 14th within three laps. He surged to seventh by Lap 54 and edged to sixth less than 10 laps later. He broke into the top five at fifth when the second yellow flag was waived on Lap 64. Bowman pitted for four tires and fuel and maintained his spot leaving pit road. He stayed in that position through the end of the first stage.
- Bowman kicked off Stage 2 by moving to third within the first lap. He dropped to sixth by Lap 93 and was tailing his three Hendrick Motorsports teammates at that point.
- He pitted several laps later with his teammates and came back to the track ninth. Bowman edged to seventh on Lap 126 and shuffled to sixth eight laps later. He was ninth after the fourth caution dropped 25 laps later and finished Stage 2 in the same position.
- Bowman climbed two spots on the leaderboard for the Stage 3 restart. Ten laps later, he was down to 11th and slipped to 12th a few laps after that. Bowman pitted under the fifth yellow flag and restarted 10th.
- He slipped to 11th within the first lap after the restart but regained the spot with 48 laps left in the race. Nine laps later, Bowman edged further into the top 10 to eighth and battled for seventh with 26 laps to go.
- Bowman dropped to ninth as the race wound down, eventually earning his second top-10 finish of the year.