CONCORD, N.C. -- William Byron may be eliminated from the playoffs, but he’s far from down and out this season. The 23-year-old driver finished second at Texas Motor Speedway on Sunday, giving race winner and teammate Kyle Larson a run for his money.

Byron was closing in on Larson in the final laps, even with the seven restarts in stage three due to cautions. However, Larson being able to get those nudges on the restarts from the drivers behind him set him free, something Byron noted that Larson smartly worked to his advantage.

“It’s all about the push,” Byron said. “I think here at Texas, the shortest lane kind of wins because of the way the track kind of separates into turn one. Our Axalta Chevy was fast all day. We just never quite got control. I think he (Larson) was definitely better than us in that first stage. I was right there with him the rest of the time and it was just clean air, basically.”

The second-place result was Byron’s best finish at Texas. He led 55 laps during the 334-lap event, second only to Larson. Overall, only 23 laps were not led by Hendrick Motorsports drivers on Sunday. The strong performance reinforced Byron’s talent as a NASCAR Cup Series driver. During the Round of 12 cutoff race at the Charlotte ROVAL last week, Byron was in the lead for 30 of 109 laps and looked poised to win before he was bumped from behind and had to stop his Chevy after driving over the chicane. Even though it was a frustrating end to his day, his last two playoff races reminded Byron that the No. 24 team is just as talented as the current playoff crews.

“We’re here to stay,” Byron said. “(Crew chief) Rudy (Fugle) is going to be in it for a long time, I feel like, and we’ve got a good team; a good young team, myself included, so I feel like we can do a lot of good things. I saw that last week. Just didn’t finish it off with the contact there. This week we had a pretty good run and had a shot at a win.”

The Charlotte, North Carolina, native has moved on from his tough loss at the ROVAL and is celebrating his and Larson’s success at Texas. In fact, Byron is looking forward to more close battles on the track with Larson in the future. For now, he’s rooting on his teammates still in the hunt for a title as he focuses on earning his second victory in 2021.

“Congrats to those guys. Kyle really deserves it,” Byron said. “They’ve been awesome all year and flawless on pit road and pit calls and everything. Our team is right there and I think we’re building something really good for years to come.”