TALLADEGA, Ala. – William Byron led the way for Hendrick Motorsports with a seventh-place finish at Talladega Superspeedway on Sunday afternoon. Despite several close calls on track, the driver of the No. 24 Liberty University Chevrolet was able to keep his car clean and finish the race inside the top 10. The result is Byron’s best at Talladega since the spring event in 2021.
Early in the race, a mistake-free pit strategy from the Hendrick Motorsports quartet saw the group jump to the front of the pack as multiple drivers had issues slowing down for green-flag pit stops in stage one. With the track position, Byron crossed the line in fourth to end stage one in a segment where all four Hendrick Motorsports drivers finished in the top five positions.
The second half of the race proved difficult to pass in. Late in the final stage, Byron utilized a third lane of cars with help from other Chevrolet drivers to make a run into the top-five spots. Although he faded once the top line's momentum came and went, his ability to late wrecks through the final three caution flags helped him earn his fourth top-10 finish of the season.
Chase Elliott found himself towards the front of the pack for the majority of the day. The Dawsonville, Georgia, native won stage one and crossed the line in the runner-up position for stage two. During the final stage, the No. 9 NAPA Auto Parts Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 spent the majority of the laps inside the top-10 positions before late-race caution flags forced him down the order. While Elliott successfully missed the accidents, he ended the race in the 12th spot. That said, he did pace the field for 18 laps, the first laps he has led since his return to action last weekend at Martinsville Speedway.
It was an up-and-down day for the No. 48 Ally Racing Chevrolet. After rolling off the grid in the 27th spot, clean pit stops under the green flag promoted driver Alex Bowman to the front row near the end of stage one. With the track position, he battled Elliott to the line and secured a second-place finish in the first stage. However, a lack of track position hindered the team as they struggled to advance towards the front of the field throughout stage two as well as during the final stage. In the end, Bowman avoided three late-race incidents to take home a 13th-place finish.
Sunday once again seemed to be Kyle Larson’s day at a drafting track as he opened with a fifth-place finish in stage one. Throughout the final stage, Larson was mixing it up in the top 10 and even the top five prior to the penultimate restart. Unfortunately, the No. 5 HendrickCars.com entry was caught up in an incident in the first of two overtime restarts, resulting in significant damage to the right side of his vehicle. Larson would be checked and released from the infield care center and finish 33rd. Despite the finishes not being what they have desired, the No. 5 team has shown consistent speed at the front of the field on drafting tracks this season.
"We put ourselves in position once again on a superspeedway and the results don't show it," Larson said. "Another wreck not of my doing on a superspeedway. I just hate it, but we'll keep getting better."
Next weekend, the NASCAR Cup Series rolls into Dover, Delaware, to compete at Dover Motor Speedway for the track’s lone event on the series' calendar in 2023. Catch all of the racing action at 2 p.m. ET on FS1, PRN Radio and Sirius XM NASCAR Radio (Channel 90)