William Byron was left celebrating a first NASCAR Cup Series victory on Saturday night after he led home Hendrick Motorsports teammate Chase Elliot at Daytona International Speedway.
Victory for Byron not only marked the 22-year-old’s first Cup Series win, it also secured his place in the playoffs that start at Darlington Raceway next week.
“On Cloud 9 for sure,” Byron said afterward. “There was a point in that race that I didn’t really think things were going to work out in our favor to make the playoffs, really have an opportunity next week. This was kind of one of those do‑or‑die situations. Kind of crossed that fork in the road (Saturday night). We were able to be aggressive and make it happen.”
— Hendrick Motorsports (@TeamHendrick) August 30, 2020
It made it all the sweeter that Byron was able to celebrate his victory with teammate Elliot after he moved into the lead in overtime following two red flags at the end of the race.
“You couldn’t have picked a more pressure‑packed race,” he added. “When you’re at a superspeedway, the running order changes every two laps practically, it’s incredible to put that much pressure on a couple of points. You really can’t points race, which I think is probably what they want us to do. They want us to go for wins, try to compete hard. It was a perfect format for that.”
Byron’s victory also means that Hendrick Motorsports became the first team to have three drivers under the age of 27 win a Cup Series race in a season and incredibly the 12th year having three different drivers win in one season.
“The first thought probably was just how excited I knew that my team was, how excited (spotter) Tab (Boyd) was on the radio, how excited (crew chief) Chad (Knaus) was, how excited I was. That feeling of coming off four, it’s just a shot of adrenaline right into your arm, it really is. It’s just an incredible feeling. I can’t describe winning a race in NASCAR. It’s been a while, so it just is an awesome feeling.”
Incredible night!! I don’t know what to say. This moment is so special for myself and my team, thanks to all the people that have allowed me to get to this point. First Cup WIN!!! @LibertyU @TeamHendrick @TeamChevy pic.twitter.com/cyfthnhtKp
— William Byron (@WilliamByron) August 30, 2020