By Seth Eggert, NASCAR Correspondent
CONCORD, N.C. – Bank of America ROVAL 400 polesitter William Byron advanced to the Round of 12 despite a wild Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series race.
The Hendrick Motorsports driver restarted just inside the top-10 at the Charlotte Motor Speedway Roval. Byron found his No. 24 UniFirst Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 battling Martin Truex, Jr. and Brad Keselowski. With under 10-points to spare, every position counted.
Byron fought his car on the treacherous 2.28-mile road course to maintain position. With passing difficult, he passed Truex, however, he couldn’t find a way by Keselowski. Byron took the checkered flag in sixth, just 13-points ahead of Aric Almirola who was 13th in points.
Byron happily explained that he accomplished the goal the team set.
“We accomplished the goal of getting to the next round. I wasn’t really sure what to expect late in the race with the restarts and everything. I just tried to protect my position. I’ve kind of rode behind the two and the 19 for a while. Probably could’ve gotten past them I guess, maybe finish fifth, but it was a good, solid day.”
It looked as if Byron was going to run away with the stage one win until a caution on lap 21. On the restart, Kyle Larson edged the No. 24 out when another caution waved for a multi-car incident. As the stage ended under caution, Byron was forced to settle for second, without a playoff point.
After reseeding, Byron is now 11th on the playoff grid. He is 34-points behind points leader Kyle Busch and five points behind Larson who now holds the cutoff for the Round of Eight. Byron will now face Dover International Speedway, Talladega Superspeedway, and Kansas Speedway.
“I’m really looking forward to Dover,” Byron admitted. “We’re gonna have to have a really good round going through these next three races, but Talladega is in there and anything can happen. I was unlucky there the last time, so maybe I can be a luckier this time. It’s great to get to this point in the season and still have a shot.”
The sixth-place finish is the 11th top-10 for Byron this season and the 15th of his career. It also marks his best career finish on a road course, besting his eighth-place performance at Watkins Glen International in 2018.