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William Byron Holds Off Christopher Bell to Complete Dominant Weekend at COTA

Photo Credit: Sean Gardner, Getty Images

After starting the year with a prestigious victory in the Daytona 500, William Byron and the No. 24 Chevrolet Camaro team have returned to form, winning Sunday’s EchoPark Automotive Grand Prix at Circuit of The Americas (COTA).

The 26-year-old driver was quietly untouchable throughout the weekend at the Austin, Texas road course, topping the speed charts in practice and both rounds of qualifying on Saturday, before dominating Sunday’s event at the 3.41-mile road course by leading a race-high 42 of 68 laps.

“Yeah, I feel like I made a lot of mistakes in the last ten laps,” said Byron. “Just little micro errors. Christopher was really fast there on the longer runs. But this sport is just so hard. It’s so difficult to week in and week out show up and have fast cars. We’ve had a little bit of a rough stretch the last few weeks, but put a lot of prep work in this week, and just thankful for the team I have around me, all the people back home as well.”

It’s the 12th career victory for William Byron, 10 of which have come in the NextGen era — which is more than anybody else in that period. Additionally, Sunday’s victory makes the Hendrick Motorsports driver the first multi-time winner of 2024, something the driver of the No. 24 has managed to do in each of the last three seasons, now.

“I feel like when we’re on, we’re firing on all cylinders, whether it’s pit road, strategy, calls on top of the pit box for changes in the car,” Byron added. “Just thanks to everybody on this team. There’s not enough people that get credit, but it’s just really cool. Like I said, we prepared really well this week. Just difficult, man. You just have to keep working.”

Despite being the quickest on-track all weekend, the Hendrick Motorsports driver didn’t win the event in a completely uncontested manner, having to race hard against other fast drivers like Ross Chastain, Ty Gibbs, and Tyler Reddick, who all took turns at the front of the pack during Sunday’s 68-lap contest.

Christopher Bell, winner of the first race with this aerodynamic package at Phoenix Raceway, was the biggest challenge for Byron after Adam Stevens elected to bring the No. 20 Toyota Camry XSE onto pit lane for its final stop four laps later than the eventual race-winner, giving him a massive tire advantage.

In the final 20 laps of Sunday’s event, Bell managed to close his deficit to Byron from 12-plus seconds, down to less than a second by the time the checkered flag was displayed but didn’t quite have enough to dethrone the RaptorTough.com Chevrolet Camaro.

The late-race charge would still net the Norman, Oklahoma native a runner-up result at Circuit of The Americas, his fourth top-five of the season, and his first top-five finish on a road course since Watkins Glen International last Summer.

Ty Gibbs continued an impressive start to the 2024 NASCAR Cup Series campaign with a third-place result, matching a career-best finish set two weeks ago at Phoenix Raceway, the event in which his teammate Christopher Bell scored the first win of the year for Joe Gibbs Racing.

In fourth place, Alex Bowman continued a strong streak of finishes at Circuit of The Americas (COTA) in the NASCAR Cup Series, scoring three consecutive top-five results at the 3.41-mile road course. Tyler Reddick, the defending winner at the racetrack, rounded out the top five after hanging in that position all afternoon.

AJ Allmendinger recorded his second top-10 finish of the season on Sunday, finishing sixth place in a third entry for Kaulig Racing, No. 13. Ross Chastain came home in seventh place, while Chris Buescher, Kyle Busch, and Martin Truex, Jr. rounded out the top-10.

Busch and Truex both had to overcome adversity to score their top-10 results on Sunday, with Truex having early-race contact with Corey LaJoie and Bubba Wallace which forced the No. 19 to make an unscheduled pit stop. Conversely, Busch was turned late in the race by Christopher Bell, as he was driving through the pack.

Contrary to last year’s race at Circuit of The Americas (COTA), Sunday’s EchoPark Automotive Grand Prix featured no yellow flags for on-track incidents, but rather just stoppages for the two stage breaks – which return for all road course events this season.

Leaving COTA, Martin Truex, Jr. jumps to the top of the point standings in the NASCAR Cup Series, holding a five-point advantage over second-year teammate Ty Gibbs. Ryan Blaney is third, with Denny Hamlin and Kyle Larson rounding out the top five.

Next for the NASCAR Cup Series is a trip to Richmond Raceway, for the first track under one mile in length to utilize the 2024 aerodynamic package that drew much discussion in its debut race at Phoenix Raceway.

Race Results: NASCAR Cup Series EchoPark Automotive Grand Prix at COTA

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