Byron Goes For Three-Pete

Wiliam Byron

On Sunday at Atlanta Motor Speedway, William Byron will attempt to put his No. 24 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet in Victory Lane in a third straight race when he takes the green flag in the Ambetter Health 400 (3 p.m. ET on FOX, PRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio).

The No. 24 Chevy hasn’t won three consecutive races since Jeff Gordon accomplished the feat in 1998, on the way to his third NASCAR Cup Series championship. In fact, Gordon won four straight events that year—at Pocono, Indianapolis, Watkins Glen and Michigan.

The last driver to win three straight races in the Cup Series is Byron’s teammate Kyle Larson, who strung together a pair of three-race winning streaks on the way to his first series title in 2021.

Byron comes to Atlanta as the defending race winner, having taken the checkered flag last year in the first race at the repaved track using NASCAR’s superspeedway competition package. Byron beat Ross Chastain to the finish line by .145 seconds.

The only negatives overhanging Byron’s bid for a second straight Atlanta win are the penalties levied against all four Hendrick teams for the unauthorized modification of the hood louvers in their cars.

Byron’s crew chief, Rudy Fugle was fined $100,000 and suspended for four races. Though Hendrick is appealing the penalties, Fugle will sit out Sunday’s race at Atlanta.

In addition, Byron lost 100 championship points and 10 of the 13 Playoff points he earned in his victories at Las Vegas and Phoenix. As stiff as those penalties are, they shouldn’t affect Byron’s ability to win in the microcosm of Sunday’s race.

Byron is used to early-season victories. Last year, he won his only two races of the Cup season at Atlanta in March and Martinsville in April in the debut year of NASCAR’s Next Gen car. This season, Byron feels he has a much better handle on the Next Gen.

“Yeah, I mean, I think last year, even though we won early, we didn’t really know the car or understand the car,” Byron said. “We were kind of just adapting to what we had. We were just making the most of an unpredictable situation with the entire field. There was a lot of attrition in the races, a lot of just weird things that were happening.

“I feel like now it’s strength on strength. It feels different. It feels like we’re more consistently towards the front, and we’re leading laps.”

Chevrolet drivers have won the first four races of 2023. Led by Byron and Chastain, Chevrolets took five of the top six positions in last year’s spring Atlanta event. The exception was Kurt Busch, who finished third in a Toyota.


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