Byron Emerges With Victory at Darlington Raceway

| , RacinToday.com Sunday, May 14 2023

William Byron of Hendrick Motorsports was the winner in Darlington on Sunday.. (RacinToday/HHP file photo by David Tulis)

By Jim Pedley | Managing Editor

William Byron became a three-time 2023 winner when he captured the NASCAR Cup Series race at Darlington Raceway in South Carolina in overtime on Sunday.

He led just twice for seven laps but nobody on his Hendrick Motorsports team cared.

It was Byron’s seventh career win and first at the historic 1.33-mile Darlington track. It came a year after he wrecked there while leading with just a couple laps to go.

“It’s pretty amazing,” Byron said. “My granddad passed away on Thursday, and just man, I wish my family could be here. Just things have a way of working out, honestly. It just worked out that way today. We didn’t have the best third stage. We just kept battling, and things just kind of come back around.”

Kevin Harvick of Stewart-Haas Racing finished second .7 seconds back.

Chase Elliott of Hendrick was third while Brad Keselowski of Roush Fenway Keselowski Racing was fourth.

Rounding out the top five was Bubba Wallace of 23XI Racing.

“We had good track position and then had a bad pit stop under green,” Harvick, in his final year as a full-time driver, said, “but had everything work out at the end. I didn’t have anything for WIlliam. The front is tore up pretty good, but they did a great job and just kind of kept ourselves in the game and you never know what’s gonna happen.”

The end of the race was marred by a series of wrecks that took out several contenders.

“I felt like at the end it turned into a wreckfest and we got tore up and salvaged what we could salvage,” Keselowski said. “Ultimately, we were a fifth or sixth-place car all day and ended up fourth. It was a real solid day. I felt like the whole team did a great job. At the end it just turned into chaos and had all those wrecks and I was in the wrong lane and got tore up and from there we were just salvaging what we could, but it’s nice to come out of here with a fourth, a lot of stage points and something to hold our head up high with.”

Martin Truex, Jr. led all but three of the first 146 laps. But on Lap 151, shortly after green-flag pit stops, he was passed by Chastain. He would never lead again and finished in the garages after one of those late wrecks.

On Lap 185, Truex moved in on Chastain in an attempt to regain the lead. But Chastain clipped and bounced off the wall. Truex made contact and spun. His car suffered minor damage only and made it to the pits for the end of the second stage.

Kyle Larson emerged from the pits for the start of the third stage with the lead after taking just two tires. On Lap 203, Chastain took the lead from Larson.

Larson got his lead back during the final series of green-flag pit stops, which began on about Lap 246 of the scheduled 293-lapper. Bell emerged second from the stops and Chastain third.

Larson had a comfortable lead but with 17 laps to go, Ryan Newman spun to bring out the sixth caution of the day.

Larson restarted P1 on the inside with Chastain next to him with 13 laps to go. On the restart, a big wreck just behind the leaders when Truex pushed Joey Logano up into the outside wall. Truex’s day ended with the wreck, which also involved Kevin Harvick, Brad Keselowski, Chase Elliott, Aric Almirola, Ryan Blaney and Tyler Reddick.

“We scratched and clawed our way to start on the second row – for what we thought would be the final restart – with a chance to win,” Logano said. “Unfortunately, that chance was taken out of our hands. That’s all there is to it.”

Chastain was ruled to have the lead before the wreck and restarted with the lead on the restart, which came with seven laps to go. He restarted on the inside with Larson on the outside. Behind in row 2, were Larson teammates Byron and Elliott.

Heading into Turn 1 on the restart, Larson and Chastain touched doors and then wrecked. Assuming the lead was Byron.

Restarting second was Harvick. Behind were Elliott and Keselowski.

Byron, who restarted outside, cleared Harvick and cruised to the win.

Newman, driving in his first Cup race since losing his full-time ride after the 2021 season, finished 28th, several laps off the lead.


NASCAR Cup Series Race Results Goodyear 400
Darlington Raceway
Darlington, South Carolina
Sunday, May 14, 2023

1. (4) William Byron, Chevrolet, 295.
2. (20) Kevin Harvick, Ford, 295.
3. (21) Chase Elliott, Chevrolet, 295.
4. (10) Brad Keselowski, Ford, 295.
5. (2) Bubba Wallace, Toyota, 295.
6. (14) Harrison Burton, Ford, 295.
7. (12) Kyle Busch, Chevrolet, 295.
8. (22) Justin Haley, Chevrolet, 295.
9. (11) Ryan Blaney, Ford, 295.
10. (27) Chris Buescher, Ford, 295.
11. (24) Todd Gilliland, Ford, 295.
12. (8) Denny Hamlin, Toyota, 295.
13. (3) Ricky Stenhouse Jr., Chevrolet, 295.
14. (16) Christopher Bell, Toyota, 295.
15. (32) Ryan Preece, Ford, 295.
16. (13) Ty Gibbs #, Toyota, 295.
17. (31) Chase Briscoe, Ford, 295.
18. (15) Joey Logano, Ford, 295.
19. (25) Austin Cindric, Ford, 295.
20. (7) Kyle Larson, Chevrolet, 295.
21. (17) Aric Almirola, Ford, 295.
22. (9) Tyler Reddick, Toyota, 295.
23. (30) AJ Allmendinger, Chevrolet, 294.
24. (34) Corey LaJoie, Chevrolet, 293.
25. (28) Erik Jones, Chevrolet, 293.
26. (29) Noah Gragson #, Chevrolet, 293.
27. (33) Ty Dillon, Chevrolet, 293.
28. (26) Ryan Newman, Ford, 291.
29. (5) Ross Chastain, Chevrolet, Accident, 287.
30. (23) Josh Berry(i), Chevrolet, 286.
31. (1) Martin Truex Jr., Toyota, Accident, 280.
32. (35) BJ McLeod, Chevrolet, Steering, 226.
33. (19) Michael McDowell, Ford, Accident, 200.
34. (6) Daniel Suarez, Chevrolet, Accident, 199.
35. (18) Austin Dillon, Chevrolet, Accident, 196.
36. (36) Brennan Poole(i), Ford, Transmission, 39.

Average Speed of Race Winner: 118.88 mph.
Time of Race: 3 Hrs, 23 Mins, 23 Secs. Margin of Victory: .781 Seconds.
Caution Flags: 8 for 47 laps.
Lead Changes: 19 among 8 drivers.
Lap Leaders: M. Truex Jr. 0;B. Wallace 1;M. Truex Jr. 2-138;R. Blaney 139-141;B. Wallace 142;M. Truex Jr. 143-150;R. Chastain 151-189;K. Larson 190-202;R. Chastain 203-247;K. Harvick 248-251;R. Blaney 252;B. Wallace 253;D. Hamlin 254-262;K. Larson 263-276;R. Chastain 277;K. Larson 278-279;R. Chastain 280-287;W. Byron 288-292;K. Harvick 293;W. Byron 294-295.
Leaders Summary (Driver, Times Lead, Laps Led): Martin Truex Jr. 2 times for 145 laps; Ross Chastain 4 times for 93 laps; Kyle Larson 3 times for 29 laps; Denny Hamlin 1 time for 9 laps; William Byron 2 times for 7 laps; Kevin Harvick 2 times for 5 laps; Ryan Blaney 2 times for 4 laps; Bubba Wallace 3 times for 3 laps.

Stage #1 Top Ten: 19,24,23,1,8,6,47,4,45,20

Stage #2 Top Ten: 1,8,5,24,6,20,4,12,47,19

| , RacinToday.com Sunday, May 14 2023
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