FORT WORTH, Texas – Sunday at Texas Motor Speedway, William Byron made his 100th career NASCAR national series start – and he made it count.
The driver of the No. 24 Axalta Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 began the weekend by qualifying on the outside pole and capped it by tying his career-best NASCAR Cup Series finish, leading 15 laps along the way.
Early in Sunday's race, Byron was running inside the top three before he headed to pit road under caution on Lap 15.
“We had a gun break on the first pit stop – we were running in the top five at that point,” Byron said. “And then we got back to the top five later in the race and I ran about fifth or sixth. It just felt like we were right there all day.”
Despite the challenges that arose in Stage 1, the race seemed to be working in favor of the driver. He advanced inside the top 10 in the middle segment and picked up valuable points with an eighth-place Stage 2 finish.
A top-five finish looked within reach as the laps wound down with Byron dueling teammate Jimmie Johnson all the way to the finish line before ultimately taking the checkered flag in sixth, tying his best carer Cup finish.
"It was a little bit free after that last green-flag pit stop and that hurt us a slight bit,” the driver said. “But, overall it’s good and it’s definitely a step in the right direction.”
By the time the race had completed, the Cup Series sophomore spent a good portion of the race inside the top 10 and his 15 laps led were a personal best at the track. His sixth-place result tied for his best-career finish in the Cup Series with Pocono in July 2018.
“We finished sixth and that’s good,” Byron said. “We would have loved to have a top-five, for sure, but I felt like we were in the mix with the fast guys. We could see them pretty much the whole race, which was nice.”
With momentum on the No. 24 team's side, the group's sights are set on another strong finish this weekend at Bristol Motor Speedway.