|DUELED TO A WIN: After posting the eighth-fastest time during qualifying for the DAYTONA 500, William Byron lined up fourth in the second Duel at Daytona this past Thursday night. Running near the front for the entirety of the 60-lap qualifying race, Byron came to pit road for the final time with under 20 laps remaining. Restarting seventh, the 22-year-old methodically maneuvered his way through the field and took over the lead with two laps to go, holding on to take the checkered flag for the first time in his NASCAR Cup Series career.
MOVING ON FROM DAYTONA: Thanks to his win in the second Duel, Byron started the DAYTONA 500 from the fourth position in the No. 24 Axalta Sea Glass Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 1LE. After rain postponed the season-opening race to Monday after just 20 laps, Byron restarted seventh and worked with his Hendrick Motorsports teammates to make his way up to the fourth position. As Stage 1 was coming to a close, Byron was involved in an on-track incident that, unfortunately, ended his run at another checkered flag during Speedweeks, leaving him with a 40th-place finish.
CONTINUING SUCCESS WITH AXALTA: Last week, Hendrick Motorsports announced a five-year extension with its longtime partner, Axalta Coating Systems. As a leading global company focused solely on coatings and providing customers with innovative, colorful, beautiful and sustainable solutions, Axalta is continuing its 28-year partnership with Hendrick Motorsports as a primary partner for the No. 24 Chevrolet. The company sponsored Jeff Gordon and the No. 24 team for 23 years, beginning in November 1992 before moving to the No. 88 team in 2016 and sharing primary sponsorship with the No. 24 starting in 2018. This year, Axalta returned as primary partner on the No. 24 Chevrolet for 22 races. Moving forward through 2027, Axalta will adorn the No. 24 as the primary sponsor for 14 races per season. For more information on the Axalta extension, click here.
LOOKING FOR LUCK: When the No. 24 Axalta Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 1LE unloads for this weekend’s race at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, it will mark Byron’s fifth Cup Series start at the 1.5-mile track. Out of those four previous starts, Byron’s best showing came last year in the fall. After qualifying 14th, he finished in the top 10 in both stages, averaging an 8.7 running position before crossing the finish line in seventh place – his best finish at the Nevada-based track. In fact, last September’s race at Las Vegas Motor Speedway is Byron’s third-best mile-and-a-half finish so far in his Cup Series career.
KNAUS’ KNOWLEDGE: This Sunday, when veteran crew chief Chad Knaus climbs on top of the No. 24 pit box, he’ll be looking to set a new record for most wins by a crew chief at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. With 20 Cup races at the 1.5-mile oval under his belt, Knaus has gone to victory lane three times. Those three victories have him tied currently with Paul Wolfe for the most wins.