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Byron wins 2024 Daytona 500, Hendrick Motorsports finishes 1-2


Byron main trophy win 0219 300x300 - Byron wins 2024 Daytona 500, Hendrick Motorsports finishes 1-2

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DAYTONA BEACH, Florida – William Byron emerged victorious in the 2024 Daytona 500, 40 years to the day Hendrick Motorsports made its first NASCAR Cup Series start in 1984.

Byron took the white flag at Daytona International Speedway and seconds later two cars spun in the infield after contact. Under the yellow flag, Byron earned his first Daytona 500 victory and his 11th Cup Series victory. The victory moves Hendrick Motorsports into a tie (with Petty Enterprises) for most wins by a team. in “The Great American Race” and the organization is the first to win the crown jewel event in five different decades.

“I'm very proud of this team, this entire No. 24 Axalta Chevy team,” Byron said. “Winning on the 40th anniversary day (of Hendrick Motorsports' first race). Extremely blessed and grateful for all the opportunities. We just want to keep it up. We have a lot to prove this year and this is a good start.

“The DAYTONA 500. It's incredibly awesome. Let's go.”

SHOP: William Byron DAYTONA 500 Team | PHOTOS: Scenes from victory lane.

Alex Bowman took second place to give the Rick Hendrick-owned team a 1-2 finish in the Daytona 500. Kyle Larson placed 11th, while Chase Elliott finished 14th.

Three of the four Hendrick Motorsports cars escaped damage after a huge crash with eight laps remaining. Larson suffered a puncture in the incident, but was able to continue. The Hendrick Motorsports trio of Byron, Bowman and Elliott restarted in the first three rows with Byron controlling the inside lane for the final restart on lap 197. Byron pulled ahead of Ross Chastain with four laps remaining and was holding off several tough attacks before end. The last warning came after the white flag. The win is also the 26-year-old's second at Daytona, as his first victory came in the 2020 summer race.

“He was already a superstar,” team vice president Jeff Gordon said of Byron. “She just went to another level of being a superstar.

“I wasn't driving the car, but I feel like I was doing every lap with it. It's crazy to see these guys do what they do, do it so well and see them from this side. “It makes me very happy, very proud. Let's celebrate. “This is an incredible victory, a great victory.”

PHOTOS: Summary of all Byron's victories | See every victory of the iconic number 24

Byron's four laps leading in the No. 24 Axalta Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 came late in the race. Starting at the back of the field to pass a backup car, he was the only Hendrick Motorsports driver to score points in the first two stages, as he finished fifth in stage one and sixth in stage two. In the final stage, Byron methodically worked his way through the draft to reach the top 10 after restarting the final segment in 21st place. After pitting for fuel only with 19 laps remaining, he rejoined the race in eighth place and He rode down the center lane to second place with Bowman behind him before the caution came out for “The Big One” with eight laps remaining.

“You just don't know how these races are going to end and you have to try to put yourself in a great spot,” Byron said. “I felt like our team did a great job all day putting us in position and it's pretty awesome.”

RELATED: Key Numbers to Know for Hendrick Motorsports

Bowman's second-place finish marks his best finish in the Daytona 500 and is his second consecutive top-five finish at the 2.5-mile track. Starting the race in seventh position, the 30-year-old realized that he was a little free in the first stage and was able to finish fourth. In the second stage, Bowman placed 18th as the No. 48 Ally Racing team elected to protect his car for the final stage as the field got dangerous. Bowman spent much of the final stage in the top 10, using the inside lane to his advantage to gain spots. After reaching third position for the final restart, Bowman chose the outside lane behind Chastain. He failed to run over his teammate before the end of the race.

“Proud of William (Byron) and his team. They deserved it in the end,” Bowman said. “They did all the right things and I feel like we did too at the end. They had to go up and block the top lane and that hurt the mid a little bit. We got the mid going and then everyone started colliding.” .

“Proud of everyone on this No. 48 Ally Chevy team. Super excited for everyone at Hendrick Motorsports. It's been 40 years since the first Hendrick Motorsports race, it's really cool to see William in victory lane.”

RELATED: 'Hendrick Homecoming' announced for May 24-25

Larson recovered from a late-race puncture to finish 11th in the No. 5 HendrickCars.com Chevrolet Camaro ZL1. The 31-year-old started 17th and checked to avoid a crash on lap 6. He battled Elliott for the first stage win and ultimately finished second in the opening segment. In the second stage, Larson held the lead for seven laps, but different lines he was attempting stalled. He finished the stage in 16th place. The 2021 Cup champion was in contention in the final stage, finishing in fifth place. He was dropped from the leading group with 15 laps remaining and suffered minor damage in the crash on lap 193. After restarting in 15th place, he finished just outside the top 10.

“The first leg went well and then the next two legs they got stuck in the wrong lanes at crucial points and lost track position,” Larson said. I was able to overlook that big accident for the most part. He punctured his left front while sliding them and I had to pit. It's awesome for a Hendrick (Motorsports) Chevrolet to win that race and it's great to see William win.”

Starting fifth, Elliott led the opening laps of the season for Hendrick Motorsports and drove the No. 9 NAPA Auto Parts Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 to a stage one victory. In the first stage the organization finished first, second, fourth and fifth. The 28-year-old took the lead from Kyle Busch on the final lap of the segment to take the stage victory. In the second stage, the inside lane that the 2020 Cup champion was running got stuck and lost momentum. He regained track position after a stop only to refuel, but again lost ground on the inside lane and finished 19th in the stage. He recovered in the final stage to spend much of it in the top 15. While Elliott had a small brush with the big crash with eight to go, he expertly avoided any major damage. That set him up to restart fifth and in the top lane with four laps to go. On the final stretch to the finish, the outside lane lost momentum and Elliott got caught in a third lane to finish 14th.

PHOTOS: Look back at every Cup Series victory for Hendrick Motorsports

“I made a mistake on the last lap and I wasn't sure I would have made it to the front row, but it certainly would have been a better result for us,” Elliott said. “I hate that because otherwise we had a solid day. Happy for William to start Hendrick Motorsports' 40th year with the win.”

After the race at Daytona, all four Hendrick Motorsports drivers are in the top seven in the points standings. Byron is in first place, Bowman is second, Elliott is fourth and Larson is seventh.

RELATED: A look back at Hendrick Motorsports' first Cup start

Monday, February 19 marked the 40th anniversary of Hendrick Motorsports' first start in the Cup Series, which came in the 1984 Daytona 500. Driver Geoff Bodine drove the team's No. 5 car, which It was renamed All-Star Racing, up to an eighth place finish. -final spot for team owner Rick Hendrick and crew chief Harry Hyde. The 2024 season marks the organization's 40th anniversary.

“You couldn't write the script any better, 24 on 24,” Hendrick said. “When we first thought about coming here (in 1984), we didn't think we should be here and we felt very out of place.

“We won this on our 40th (anniversary). It's just… and we tied a record now, so it's amazing.”

Byron is now the sixth driver to win the DAYTONA 500 for Hendrick Motorsports. Gordon's three wins (1997, 1999 and 2005) are the most for the organization. Jimmie Johnson has two wins (2006 and 2013), while Bodine (1986), Dale Earnhardt Jr. (2014) and Darrell Waltrip (1989) each earned one for the team. The six different drivers who have won for one team in the DAYTONA 500 are the most for any organization.

RELATED:
See all the DAYTONA 500 winners at Hendrick Motorsports

The Cup Series heads to Atlanta Motor Speedway for the second points race of 2024 and the second consecutive race to utilize the superspeedway package. Hendrick Motorsports has a series-best 17 wins at the 1.54-mile track. Since the venue underwent a remodel and reconfiguration ahead of the 2022 season, the organization has won three of the last four races. Byron has two of those wins, while Elliott has one. Tune in to all the action Sunday, February 25 at 3 pm ET on FOX, PRN Radio and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio (Channel 90).

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