William Byron was in the right place at the right time at Darlington Raceway and took advantage of the opportunity to score his third NASCAR Cup Series win of the season in overtime at the track “Too Tough to Tame.”
As the final laps wound down, Ross Chastain and Kyle Larson wrecked each other while racing for the win, bringing out the final caution flag and setting up an overtime finish in the Goodyear 400.
“Larson’s crew chief, Cliff Daniels, was furious and expressed his anger on the team radio.
How does that make any sense, running us into the fence? That’s three races he’s taken us out of—the 1 car—three races he’s taken us out of.”
Chastain, who finished 29th, took the blame for the incident but indicated it was not intentional.
“Full commit into Turn 1,” he said. “I got really tight and drove up and turned myself. I wanted to squeeze him. I wanted to push him up. We’d been racing back and forth all day. But I definitely didn’t want to turn myself.”
Bryon, now in the lead, led the field back to green and held off Kevin Harvick to capture his seventh career Cup Series victory and the 100th NASCAR win for the No. 24 car.
But it was also a bittersweet moment for Byron.
“Yeah, it’s pretty amazing,” he said. “My granddad passed away on Thursday, and just, man, I wish my family could be here. Just things have a way of working out, honestly. It just worked out that way today. We didn’t have the best third stage. We just kept battling, and things just kind of come back around. Definitely didn’t expect this.”
Kevin Harvick finished second followed by Chase Elliott, Brad Keselowski, and Bubba Wallace, rounding out the top five.
“We had a good car all day,” Harvick said. “We just never could get up towards the front in our Sunny Delight Ford Mustang. Struggled in traffic today, but we were really good at the second half of the run and just struggled at the beginning of the run.
“But we had good track position, then had a bad pit stop under green, and then wound up having everything work out there at the end, didn’t have anything for William. The front is torn up pretty good. But they did a great job and just kind of kept ourselves in the game, and you never know what’s going to happen.”
Martin Truex Jr. was dominant for much of the race, winning Stage 1 and leading 145 laps, but developed handling issues after contact with Chastain and finished in 31st.
“When we got into Chastain there at the end of the second stage going for the win in that, it knocked the toe out, so we were tight from there on out,” Truex said. “Just an unfortunate deal. There was plenty of room there, but he just came off the wall and hit me.
“Like I said, knocked the toe out in the right front. Pretty crappy from there, and then on that restart (Lap 281), I guess I just got real tight, and I don’t even know who I squeezed into the wall, but I apologize to them. Probably my fault, just got real tight and couldn’t stay down the track.”
Ross Chastain currently leads the Cup Series points standings. Christopher Bell is second (– 27), Harvick is third (– 29), Denny Hamlin is fourth (– 36) and William Bryon is fifth – 42.