William Byron wins NASCAR Cup Series race at Phoenix Raceway Time runs out on Kevin Harvick after four-tire pit call Jeff Gordon: Confiscated parts ‘weighing on our minds’ at Hendrick Motorsports What drivers said at Phoenix Raceway NASCAR Cup Series results: William Byron wins at Phoenix

William Byrongiven a second chance to win due to a late race warning, won Sunday’s 317-mile NASCAR Cup Series race at Phoenix Raceway for his second straight win.

Byron’s team used a two-wheeled pit stop to get the Chevrolet driver back on the track in the front row, putting him in front. Kevin Harvickwho appeared to be heading for the win before admonitions in the final miles led to overtime.

MORE: Phoenix Cup Results, Drivers Points

MORE: Jeff Gordon says confiscated parts are ‘pressing on our minds’ at Hendrick

Teammate of Byron and Hendrik Motorsports Kyle Larson there was hardly any touch up ahead during the day until Harvick drove under Larson and took the lead with 44 laps to go. Harvick steadily increased the lead as his car was generally stronger over longer distances.

Harvick was four seconds ahead of Larson with 10 laps to go. Harrison Burton issued a warning with forward slip and spin, laying the field for a restart. Green flew with three laps to go, but another warning flew by quickly when AJ Allmendinger, Ty Gibbs And Noah Gragson crashed near the back of the backpack. This caused the race to go into overtime, with Larson and Byron in the front row after changing two tires. Harvick’s team changed four.

Byron overtook Larson, who was leading a race-record 201 laps, after restarting the two-lap overtime, and was unmatched on the final lap. Harvick led for 36 consecutive laps before Burton’s caution ruined everything.

Behind Byron in the top five finished Ryan Blaney, Tyler ReddickLarson and Harvick.

Byron said he owes crew chief Rudy Feugle two wins in a row. “He did a really good job in terms of strategy and execution,” Byron told Fox Sports. “We’ve done a good job of getting into those front row positions with a kick at the end.”

Harvick, with four new tires for the last run, had no chance of returning to the lead.

“I just didn’t get a couple of cars when the first warning came out,” he told Fox Sports. “Somehow we missed our chance. Still thought I had a chance there at the end. These cars were a little slower. They all get stuck. The way it is. Just smoked them before the warning.

Josh Berryreplacing the injured Chase Elliottfinished 10th as all four Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolets made the top ten. Chevrolet won all four Cup races this year.

The race debuted NASCAR’s new short track package, which is designed to reduce downforce and increase competition. The changes generally made the cars less stable on Sunday, but there were few competitors ahead, except for restarts and late races.

Larson advanced to the second stage, taking over command of the race from Byron. Larson finished ahead of Byron, Harvick, Brad Keselowski and Tyler Reddick.

After two stages, Larson took Byron from lap 121 to 62. The only other drivers to reach this point were Ross Chastain and Keselowski, who were leading in one lap.

Byron was head and shoulders above the others in Stage 1, leading 59 of 60 laps. The next in the top five were Larson, Christopher Bell, Denny Hamlin and Reddick.

Stage 1 winner: William Byron

Stage 2 winner: Kyle Larson

Who had a good race: Kevin Harvick has shown the strength he has had in Phoenix for most of his career. … Hendrick’s teammates William Byron and Kyle Larson were the main figures in the first two-thirds of the race, and Byron bounced back to win. … Josh Berry did a great job replacing the injured Chase Elliott in 10th place.

Who had a bad race: Aric Almirola was penalized with a two-lap penalty near the middle of the race when a wheel came off his car. He finished 33rd, four laps down. … Denny Hamlin and Ross Chastain collided on the last lap, with Hamlin finishing 23rd and Chastain 24th.

Next: The Cup Series will move to Atlanta Motor Speedway on March 19 (Fox, 3:00 pm ET).

Avondale, Arizona. William Byron celebrated with his crew in Victory Lane as Rodney Childers, Chief of the Brigade Kevin Harvickwalked with a team member down the career road.

As they passed, a security worker lamented Childers’ call to the pit before the overtime didn’t work.

MORE: Jeff Gordon says confiscated parts ‘burden us’ at HMS

Harvick entered pit road as the leader on lap 305 of the 317 lap race. Childers called for four wheels to be replaced.

Six cars, including Byron, changed only two tires and restarted ahead of Harvick. Even when the subsequent caution sent the race into overtime, it didn’t give Harvick enough time to get back into the lead. He finished fifth.

“I think everyone who knows us from car #4 is sure we are definitely better on four tires,” Childers told NBC Sports. “Honestly, I didn’t really enjoy winning with two (tires). We changed two tires here several times (late) and lost more than we won.

“But I looked down and thought we were going back to green with seven (laps) to go, and then we all pitted cautiously for four laps, waiting for it to be green-white-checkered. I thought it was complete (expletive).

“If this is what we are going to do, we need to tell everyone what we are going to do, instead of just letting everyone walk in the pit lanes and then ride like this. We had a really nice car all weekend. We didn’t really change anything all weekend. I should have, I could have won.”

Harvick said Childers made the right choice.

“That’s what I would do,” Harvick said. “I would always prefer to be on the attack. I just didn’t get a couple of cars when the first warning came out. Kind of lost our chance. Still thought I had a chance there at the end. These cars were a little slower. They all get stuck. The way it is. Just smoked them before the warning.

Although the focus was on Hendrick Motorsports cars this weekend, Childers said he thinks Harvick has the best car. Childers attributed this to being in the simulator three times for the event and finding “something we liked”.

Hendrick’s teams noticed Harvick’s speed.

“We did all our comparisons with (Harvick) and (Kyle Larson) … we watched,” said Rudy Fugle, Byron’s crew chief.

“I just felt it was going to be a (Harvick’s) race, right? You look at that long green-flag run on Stage 3 with no downforce, a bunch of off-road riders, a bottom-turning Harvick, and a disciplined William. A discipline for running and feeling good, which Kevin excels in.”

Despite the team not taking a win, Harvick finished in the top 10 in each of the three West Coast races, finishing fifth at Auto Club Speedway, ninth at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, and fifth at Phoenix. The only other driver to finish in the top 10 in all three West Coast races was Alex Bowman.

“We had a great weekend,” Childers said. “Other tracks, I don’t think anything we would do would be with (Byron and Larson) in Vegas. We definitely have some work to do, but these (short) tracks were our bread and butter last year.”

Avondale, Arizona. Hendrick Motorsports vice chairman Jeff Gordon says the removal of parts from all four cars on Friday was “pressing on our minds (Sunday) and will certainly continue.”

Gordon made the comments after Hendrick Motorsports driver William…


Back to top button

Adblock Detected

Please consider supporting us by disabling your ad blocker