LOUDON, N.H. – Sunday’s NASCAR Cup Series race at New Hampshire was full of twists and turns.
William Byron took the green flag in 22nd but was able to lead the way for the organization by finishing 12th. The driver battled handling issues with his No. 24 Liberty University Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 throughout the 301-lap race.
“We never had super-great track position and it’s tough to pass,” Byron said. “I felt like our last run was decent, so going on to Pocono I think we will have a good race.”
Byron’s teammate Alex Bowman began the race from the back of the field. After losing two cars during the weekend, he was forced to take over teammate Jimmie Johnson’s backup for the race. After a difficult weekend battling those multiple changes, the driver still managed to salvage a 14th-place finish at New Hampshire.
“We did what we could and didn’t need those late-race cautions,” said Bowman, driver of the No. 88 Axalta Chevrolet Camaro ZL1. “But we will move on to Pocono and be better there.”
Seven-time champion Johnson qualified inside the top 10 for Sunday’s main event. He was able to maintain that position for most of the race until he lost power steering. The No. 48 Ally crew diagnosed the issue as a broken water belt, which ultimately caused the driver to go 13 laps down and finish the race in 30th, one position behind teammate Chase Elliott who also experienced mechanical issues.
“I thought it might have been from some contact on a restart,” Johnson said. “I got in the back of the car in front of me. They told me that wasn’t the case. So I assume some debris got in the pulley system and took out my power steering and the water pump as well. So it’s just unlucky on that front.”
All in all, New Hampshire presented a challenge, but Hendrick Motorsports now has its sights set on Sunday’s race at Pocono Raceway (3 p.m. ET on NBC Sports Network) where the team has earned 17 Cup Series victories.