MARTINSVILLE, Va. – It was a winning weekend for William Byron at Martinsville Speedway. Two days after grabbing the victory in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race, Byron was victorious in the NASCAR Cup Series race at the Virginia short track.
Byron was able to hold off Joey Logano in a NASCAR overtime finish to become the first driver to earn his second victory of the 2022 season. The win also marks his first multi-win season in the Cup Series and the fourth win of his Cup career.
"It feels awesome," Byron said to win at the track where he attended his first race as a fan in 2006. "When that last caution came out, I thought everyone behind us would pit and luckily we stayed out. We were aggressive. We felt like we could re-fire on the tires and be OK; and you've got one of the most aggressive guys behind you in Logano. I knew I chattered the tires in (turns) three and four and kind of left the bottom open, but was able to block my exits and get a good drive off."
The win was an emotional one for Byron for family reasons.
"This one is for my mom," Byron said. "This same weekend last year she had kind of a mini-stroke and was diagnosed with brain cancer. It means a lot to have her here and it's been a crazy year. But she's doing great. And thanks, everybody, for the support. I kind of felt like she was riding in there with me. It's cool to have her here and I'm definitely going to enjoy this one."
The 212 laps led for Byron were not only a race high and personal high, but also helped him set a new mark for laps led in a season at 482.
It was a strong night for Hendrick Motorsports as the team swept the stages. Chase Elliott won the first two stages of the race and led the opening 185 laps from the pole position. Elliott would nab a top-10 finish for his fifth of the season. The 397 laps out front for Hendrick Motorsports equated to 98.5% of the race, which is the highest percentage the team has ever led in one race, according to Racing Insights.
The win was Hendrick Motorsports’ 27th at Martinsville – best among all tracks for the organization. Elliott's first 18 laps led on the night put the company at 10,000 laps led at the .526-mile track, which is the first time a team has led that amount at one particular track. The victory was also the 284th for Hendrick Motorsports as an organization at the Cup Series level.
William Byron, No. 24 RaptorTough.com Chevrolet Camaro ZL1
Where he finished: 1st
Stage one: Byron started fifth in the race and was in the top three by lap eight. On lap 40 – the halfway mark of stage one - Byron grabbed second place from Cole Custer. He made a charge at his teammate Elliott for the lead but ultimately finished second to give Hendrick Motorsports a 1-2 finish in the opening stage.
Stage two: The No. 24 pit crew maintained Byron’s second-place spot following service after stage one. Much like in stage one, Byron was in close pursuit of Elliott but was not able to get right next to him to take the lead away. He grabbed second in the stage to score another nine stage points as once again Hendrick Motorsports finished 1-2 in the stage.
Final stage: Byron’s No. 24 pit crew delivered on the pit stop after stage two and handed him the lead with a speedy stop. Clean air agreed with the RaptorTough.com Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 as the 24-year-old led from lap 186 to 303 – a stretch of 118 laps. Byron pitted from the lead on lap 303 and brought Logano and Austin Dillon down with him as they were running second and third at the time. He was able to cycle back to the lead on lap 309. A lap 320 restart saw Byron hold Dillon, Logano and Ryan Blaney at bay from the point position. From there, Dillon was the closest competitor to Byron before a caution came out on lap 393. Crew chief Rudy Fugle elected to stay out under yellow and keep the lead. On the ensuing restart, Byron chose the bottom with Logano alongside of him and Dillon behind him. Byron was able to keep his bumper away from the driver of the No. 22 for the victory and earn his second win of the 2022 season.
Chase Elliott, No. 9 LLumar Chevrolet Camaro ZL1
Where he finished: 10th
Stage one: Elliott started from the pole position and led all 80 circuits of the stage for his first stage win of the season. The 2020 Martinsville fall winner held a charge from Byron, his teammate, to take home the playoff point.
Stage two: The No. 9 pit crew held serve for Elliott and allowed him to keep the lead off pit road. From there, the Dawsonville, Georgia, native did exactly what he did in stage one – lead every lap to secure another stage win and playoff point. Through the first two stages, Elliott led all 180 laps of the race.
Final stage: Elliott lost the lead on pit road to his teammate Byron and restarted second on lap 193. In a reverse of what happened in the first two stages, the 2020 Cup Series champion was in pursuit of his teammate for the first 90 or so laps of the final stage. But on lap 279, the Team Penske duo of Logano and Ryan Blaney (with some help from Logano’s bumper) sent Elliott to fourth. Dillon would take advantage of that as well and drop him to fifth as the driver said he had hurt the right rear. On lap 296, Elliott was the first car in the top five to hit pit road and cycled through to fourth when pit stops were complete. On lap 314, Elliott pitted from fourth under caution and restarted 12th on lap 320. Despite having fresh tires, the reigning Most Popular Driver winner was unable to make much headway in the closing run but did come back in the top 10 on lap 380. Crew chief Alan Gustafson kept Elliott out following the lap 393 caution and he restarted ninth in the NASCAR overtime restart. The top-10 finish was his fifth of the season and he holds the points lead outright following this race.
Alex Bowman, No. 48 Ally Chevrolet Camaro ZL1
Where he finished: 12th
Stage one: Bowman started 15th in Saturday night’s race and made some inroads throughout the 80-lap stage with his long-run speed. The most recent Martinsville winner entering the race just missed out on a stage point and finished 11th.
Stage two: The No. 48 pit crew gained Bowman one spot during his stop between stages to place him in the top 10 for the lap 92 restart. He lost a few spots on the stage two restart, radioed about a vibration and would go on to finish the stage in 14th.
Final stage: On the lap 193 restart, Bowman took off in 13th and was unable to make any position gains at the outset of the run. The long run to open the final stage hurt Bowman’s lap times by the time lap 280 came around and he fell back to 19th. On lap 295, he pitted for four tires and fuel as the green-flag run continued. He cycled out in 17th after green-flag stops. The Tucson, Arizona, native came down pit road under caution on lap 314 for service and restarted 17th on lap 320. Bowman was able to make his fresh rubber work to pick off a few spots at the outset of the run. Crew chief Greg Ives brought the No. 48 down to pit road for work following the lap 393 caution and Bowman restarted 14th for the NASCAR overtime restart. He gained two more starts in the finish but saw his top-10 streak end at three races.
Kyle Larson, No. 5 HendrickCars.com Chevrolet Camaro ZL1
Where he finished: 19th
Stage one: Larson started the race eighth and slipped back to 10th in the opening 10 laps. He then passed Kyle Busch back for ninth on lap 16. The reigning champion lost some track position late in the stage as his lap times climbed over the run as the No. 5 was too loose. He finished the stage in 14th.
Stage two: Larson restarted 14th on lap 92, passed his teammate Bowman for 12th on lap 96 and then grabbed 11th from Kurt Busch on lap 108. Despite getting close to Kevin Harvick for 10th, he was unable to crack the top 10 in the stage and finished 11th.
Final stage: On lap 193, Larson restarted 11th. After a cracking the top 10 after the final stage restart, the Elk Grove, California, native settled into 12th. A couple of bumps to the back of the No. 4 of Harvick allowed Larson to pass him for 11th on lap 264 and from there he marched into the top 10 on lap 279. Pitting on lap 302, Larson was penalized for speeding on pit road and had to serve a pass-through penalty. That penalty left him one lap down until he got the free pass on lap 393. He finished 19th and the last car on the lead lap.
Hendrick Motorsports will be back in action for the ninth race of the 2022 NASCAR Cup Series season on the dirt of Bristol Motor Speedway on Easter Sunday, April 17, 7 p.m. ET on FOX, PRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio.