DARLINGTON, S.C. – William Byron rallied from early trouble at Darlington Raceway, which left him three laps down, to finish 11th in the NASCAR Xfinity Series race at the track "Too Tough to Tame."

With practice and qualifying canceled on Friday due to inclement weather, Byron and the No. 17 team started 38th in the 38-car field. He was a fast mover in the early going, gaining 12 spots in the opening eight laps. However, a slow leak in the right front tire eventually contributed to the No. 17 Chevrolet getting into the wall through turns three and four. After pitting for repairs and checking the damage, Byron left pit road three laps down but got one back as he took the wave around on the lap 20 competition caution. At the stage break, he earned the free pass to go one lap down and stayed in that spot for the second segment. 

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Restarting 35th for the final stage, the 26-year-old driver quickly moved to the free pass position in 30th. When the yellow came out on lap 103, Byron received the free pass to return to the lead lap. Crew chief Brandon McSwain put his driver on offense with fresh tires as most of the field stayed out. Byron methodically moved up through the field. After restarting 29th on lap 109, he gained 16 spots over the next 11 laps to reach 13th place. A caution on lap 124 saw everyone pit for fresh Goodyears. Byron came out of the pits in 11th for the restart with 15 laps to go and that is where he finished the race – one spot removed from the top 10. 

The Darlington race was the second of four Xfinity starts for Byron in 2024. The Charlotte, North Carolina, native ran the event at Phoenix Raceway in March and has starts at Pocono Raceway (July 13) and Watkins Glen International (Sept. 14) on the horizon. McSwain, the lead engineer of Byron's No. 24 Cup Series team, will serve as the crew chief for all of Byron's Xfinity starts. The race at the 1.366-mile track marks McSwain's second time atop the box calling the shots. 

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"Thankful that and Hendrick Motorsports were able to put that together and have me choose which races I want to do," Byron said in a Saturday media availability ahead of on-track activity at Darlington. "I think the laps will help me. The cars are very different, but I think with the racetrack and learning some nuances there will help for Sunday."

The No. 17 car number has a rich history with Hendrick Motorsports. NASCAR Hall of Famer Darrell Waltrip drove it to nine wins for the team from 1987 to 1990, including the 1989 DAYTONA 500. Ricky Hendrick also drove the car number in the NASCAR CRAFTSMAN Truck Series in 2000 and 2001. The paint scheme is again based on the No. 17 truck driven by Hendrick during his 2001 rookie season.

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The Darlington race is the third of 10 events for the No. 17 team. As noted earlier, the Byron-McSwain duo is running four of those events. For the remainder of the schedule, 2014 Xfinity Series championship-winning crew chief Greg Ives will be calling the shots on the pit box and was the winning crew chief at Circuit of The Americas. Kyle Larson will make one more start in the car, while Chase Elliott (two starts), Alex Bowman (one start) and Boris Said (one said) will also drive the car. 

As a company, Hendrick Motorsports has tallied 27 Xfinity Series wins. The team did not run in the series from 2010 to 2021. Larson's victory at COTA in March was the organization's first in the series since 2009. In 13 starts since returning to the series on a part-time basis in 2002, the No. 17 has accumulated four pole positions, one win, seven top-five finishes (including three runner-up results), and eight top-10s. 

RELATED: Xfinity win a source of pride for Hendrick Motorsports

The No. 17 team will next be on track for Elliott's first Xfinity start of the season at Charlotte Motor Speedway on May 25. That 200-lap race will take place at 1 p.m. ET with coverage on FOX, PRN Radio and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio (Channel 90).