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Byron advances to NASCAR Cup Series Round of 8 with his first-ever playoff win

William Byron stands on the door of his No. 24 Liberty University Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 in victory lane after winning Sunday’s fourth playoff race at Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth, Texas. (Photos by © 2023 HMS Holdings, LLC)


William Byron, driver of the Hendrick Motorsports (HMS) No. 24 Liberty University Chevrolet Camaro ZL1, solidified his first-place standing in the NASCAR Cup Series playoffs points race on Sunday in the Round of 12 opener at Texas Motor Speedway with his sixth win of the year.

After starting 18th in the field of 36 drivers based on Saturday’s qualifying, Byron used a fast restart to take the lead for the first time with six laps to go in the 267-lap race, going three-wide to pass Chase Briscoe and Bubba Wallace before pulling away down the stretch.

HMS team owner Rick Hendrick points to his hat after the 300th NASCAR Cup Series win while Byron celebrates his 10th victory and first in a playoff race.

“We just fought through traffic all day and our Liberty University Chevy was just tight back in traffic but had good pace,” said Byron, who drove through near-100-degree temperatures on the Fort Worth, Texas, track. “It felt like I was playing football and (going) through two-a-days. It was a grind-it-out day and our team was there at the end. I’m really proud of this one as hot as it was and as tough as it was. This is awesome. We’re definitely going to enjoy this one. We’ll take it and go on to the next round.”

The first playoff win and 10th overall victory of Byron’s career was also the 300th triumph for HMS at the Cup Series level, a milestone no other team has come close to eclipsing. Byron’s six trips to victory lane this season are twice as many as any other driver (five are tied with three wins).

“It’s really special,” Byron said. “I don’t know if I can even put it into words. I was such a Hendrick Motorsports fan growing up as a kid and I watched win No. 200 on TV when Jimmie (Johnson) won that race. I’m just thankful for all the people and men and women back at Hendrick Motorsports, and Mr. (team owner Rick) Hendrick for his investment in me … Even through my rookie season … and all those years that I was kind of struggling, he just committed and kept encouraging me. I’m super thankful to him … just appreciate everything he’s done for me … and to give him 300 is really cool.”

As he pursues the 15th NASCAR Cup Series driver championship for HMS, Byron, 25, who is simultaneously pursuing his B.S. in Strategic Communication through Liberty’s Online Programs, became the first driver to qualify for the Round of 8, as he did for the first time last season.

While Sunday’s victory was Byron’s first in Texas, he has won at all three of tracks featured in the Round of 8 — Las Vegas Motor Speedway, Homestead-Miami Speedway, and Martinsville Speedway — during his six-year Cup Series career. The Cup Series Championship 4 race is set for Nov. 5 at Phoenix Raceway, where Byron has enjoyed the most success of any track featured in the playoffs, having won there in March and posting another top-five finish and six top-10 showings in 11 career starts.

Overall, this is Byron’s best season of his Cup Series career by far after previously recording four total wins over his first five seasons. He started the 10-race playoffs with a runner-up finish to HMS teammate Kyle Larson on Sept. 3 at Darlington (S.C.) Raceway. That was where Byron won his third race of the year on May 14, the 100th for HMS drivers in the No. 24 car formerly operated by Jeff Gordon, who won 93 times in his career and now serves as vice chairman for HMS.

Liberty has sponsored Byron since 2014 and is the primary sponsor for the No. 24 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 for 13 of the 36 Cup Series races this season — including this past Sunday’s in Texas and the Oct. 22 race in Miami — and 12 more in each successive season through 2026.

Byron spins out after capturing the checkered flag Sunday at Texas Motor Speedway, solidifying his first-place points standing.
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