William Byron wins the NASCAR Cup Series race at Phoenix
AVONDALE, Ariz. — William Byron won Sunday’s NASCAR Cup Series United Rentals Work United 500 at Phoenix.
In overtime, Byron muscled ahead of teammate Kyle Larson and claimed the win over Ryan Blaney.
Byron and Larson swept the stages and commanded the race. Byron led 62 of the first 63 laps, then Larson led 189 of the next 205 laps.
However, Hendrick Motorsports’ victory was almost spoiled by an old foe.
Kevin Harvick started 15th, drove to eighth by stage three, moved to third by stage two. Then, his crew moved him to second for stage three and on Kyle Larson’s bumper after pit stops in stage three. He took the lead on Lap 269 from Larson.
With nine laps to go, a caution for Harrison Burton blowing a right-front tire and pit stops put Larson and Byron in the lead with two tires. Harvick took four tires and fell to the back half of the top-10, then settled for fifth.
Three spots behind Harvick was Kyle Busch, who finished eighth after a Lap 119 pit road speeding penalty under green.
The top-10 finishers are as follows: William Byron, Ryan Blaney, Tyler Reddick, Kyle Larson, Kevin Harvick, Christopher Bell, Chase Briscoe, Kyle Busch, Alex Bowman, Josh Berry
Michael McDowell also recovered from a speeding penalty on Lap 119 to finish 13th.
Erik Jones also sped during that pit stop cycle. In stage three, he stayed out longer than anyone else in stage three and led 14 laps, hoping for a caution to gain track position.
However, a caution never fell and he pitted with 32 laps to go in regulation. The strategy was worth the risk as he came out 23rd after starting the strategy in 22nd.
There was only one caution in the first two stages, for Aric Almirola’s car breaking a wheel and spinning on Lap 139.
The only two cautions for incident were when Harrison Burton blew a right-front tire and spun on Lap 303, then A.J. Allmendinger, Noah Gragson and Ty Gibbs wrecked in turn two on Lap 311.
During the overtime restart, Denny Hamlin moved Ross Chastain up the hill in turn one during a tight three-wide situation. They both hit the wall, then finished 23rd and 24th.
STAGE ONE TOP 10: William Byron, Kyle Larson, Christopher Bell, Denny Hamlin, Tyler Reddick, Ryan Blaney, Ross Chastain, Kevin Harvick, Brad Keselowski, Kyle Busch
STAGE TWO TOP 10: Larson, Byron, Harvick, Keselowski, Reddick, Hamlin, Bell, Blaney, Chastain, Chase Briscoe
The next race for the NASCAR Cup Series is the Ambetter Health 400 at Atlanta Motor Speedway (Green flag: 3:16 p.m. ET; TV: FOX; Radio: PRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio). William Byron is the defending winner.
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