ATLANTA – In a race that saw a record number of lead changes, William Byron led the one that counted.
The driver of the No. 24 Liberty University Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 was strong all day at the new-look Atlanta Motor Speedway, leading eight different times for 111 laps, including the final 10.
Byron was joined in the top 10 by teammates Chase Elliott in sixth and Alex Bowman in 10th. Kyle Larson was knocked out of Sunday's race after being turned by Denny Hamlin on lap 209 of 325. New Cup Series points leader Elliott led 29 laps at his home track, while Larson led one.
The freshly repaved and reconfigured 1.54-mile Atlanta oval produced a thrilling race with 46 lead changes among 20 different drivers – both track records. But no driver ran up front more than Byron, who took the lead for the first time at lap 35 after starting 12th. He went on to win the first stage, finished ninth in the second and ended the day with six valuable playoff points.
“I think these fans saw one heck of a race,” Byron said. “It was certainly long from my seat. It was mentally taxing.”
He credited his No. 24 crew for improving the car from Saturday.
“We had a pretty rough practice,” Byron said. “(The team) worked hard on it and got it handling well.”
Byron’s victory was the third of his career and first of the season, which all but secures his spot in the NASCAR Cup Series playoffs. The 24-year-old driver, who jumped to fourth in the standings, has led in each of the five races in 2022.
With Byron’s performance, Hendrick Motorsports becomes just the second team in NASCAR history to produce three different winners in the first five races of a Cup Series season. Larson and Bowman have also delivered victories in 2022.
The win was the record-extending 15th at Atlanta for Hendrick Motorsports. Byron became the seventh different driver to win there for the organization.