HAMPTON, Ga. – William Byron’s drive to victory on Sunday night at Atlanta Motor Speedway was anything but routine. Yet, it showcased the intestinal fortitude and championship mettle that he, crew chief Rudy Fugle and the No. 24 team have.  

Following a fifth-place finish in stage one, a pit road penalty sent Byron to the back of the field. A spin on lap 80 could have derailed their day, but the entire team rallied from a lap down and kept after it. With the pack on differing strategies and weather approaching, Fugle went to work on putting his driver in position to capitalize. Under yellow from the 18th position, he called his driver to pit road for service on lap 123. That would be the last time the No. 24 Axalta Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 came down for service.

RELATED: View the scenes from Byron's Atlanta triumph

“Where we were running, it made some decisions easier. Some things fell in our laps,” Fugle said. We ran the next run to the end of the stage and stayed in our position ok. It made it easy to stay out because we projected we could go (on fuel) to lap 210.”

Byron stayed out following the stage break to restart third in the final stage. The 25-year-old driver wasted no time getting to the lead, taking the point position on lap 167. He held the lead the rest of the way with the race called due to weather after the completion of 185 laps. 

For Byron, the win was about never giving up and pushing through despite the early race adversity that the team had to overcome. The car had right-side damage from the spin and the crush panel was ripped out.

“The perseverance by the team,” Byron said of what he is going remember most from this Atlanta win. “I think it's easy to give up, kind of pack it in. Just be like, okay, we're a lap down. But we'll try to get the Lucky Dog, try to have a solid finish. We kept working on the car. We got aggressive with the changes to try to make the car have a better balance and then got aggressive with the strategy, too.

“I think it's -- I could tell in Rudy's tone, he never gave up and he was constantly pumping me up saying the car is fine, just go drive the heck out of it and see what happens.” 

RELATED: Byron claims fourth victory of '23 at Atlanta

Coming out of Atlanta, Byron now holds the point standings lead, with a 21-marker advantage on Martin Truex Jr. There are seven races left in the regular season and Hendrick Motorsports has won the last two regular-season championships. The potential of an additional 15 playoff points would be a huge boost to Byron’s championship hopes. 

“We definitely look at it,” Byron said of the standings. “There's no doubt about it. I look at Racing Reference and look at all the top fives, top 10s, all that stuff.

“It's just a matter of us performing well. I feel like if we can perform at a high level, we put ourselves in position to run up front and get stage points. … We've just got to keep inching up on it. We can't have any major bad weeks. This looked like it was going to be a bad week, and we overcame it.” 

RELATED: See every victory for Byron at Hendrick Motorsports

Team vice chairman Jeff Gordon believes that this result will be extremely beneficial to the No. 24 team the next time they face in-race adversity. 

“It’s a combination of experience – going through the ups and downs of the sport,” Gordon said of how a team is able to battle back. “More importantly, it’s when you and your team are clicking and things are going well, you don’t get caught up when something bad happens. We’ll fight our way back or let’s just make the most of the day. That’s what good, high quality teams do, especially ones that have confidence in what they are doing. You just don’t panic. You stay calm and I think even by winning this race, it is only going to help them the next time they are in a situation like this.”

In their breakout four-win season, Gordon has seen a spark in the Fugle-Byron pairing. This year is the duo’s third season together at the Cup Series level and they have certainly found another level of success.

“What William and Rudy are doing as a team to keep the momentum going as they are having an incredible season,” Gordon said. “I just hope they keep that going into the playoffs. I see a spark in them this year. Just the way they are clicking, communicating and the chemistry between William, Rudy and the whole team has been fun to watch. It’s exciting to see this kind of blossoming career of a young talent in a driver and what they might be able to do long into the future.”