Hampton (GA) – William Byron steered clear of trouble guiding the #24 Liberty car to win the QuikTrip 500 at the newly renovated Atlanta Motor Speedway.
The new 28-degree banked turns and wider straights produced the type of race Executive Vice President and AMS General Manager Brandon Hutchison had hoped for ahead of the race.
“From what we’ve seen, from what we’ve known, and from what we’ve heard it’s going to be very exciting and the fans are going to love what they see here in just a couple minutes,” said Hutchison.
The renovations resulted in two new records –46 lead changes among 20 drivers.
Byron claimed the first stage out of the 12th starting position. The fifth-year veteran bested the two Penske cars (Ryan Blaney and Joey Lagano) in the 2nd and 3rd positions and three cars from Stewart-Haas Racing that included Chase Briscoe #14 in the pole position. Kevin Harvick and Aric Almirola occupied the 8th and 10th spots.
Fender benders are fairly common in NASCAR and Sunday’s race was no different. Thirty-seven cars started the race but only nine finished without trading paint with a wall or another race car. Ross Chastain overcame a blown tire that sent him into the wall and lap penalties to finish second.
Byron escaped every collision but none more important than the final lap. Bubba Wallace and Byron were right there together on 9 of the last 10 laps. Going into turn 2 Ryan Blaney’s #12 car bumped Wallace causing the #23 car’s rear end to wiggle like a catfish caught on a line. Wallace regained control but had lost precious speed and dropped to fifth heading down the last mile and change.
Chastain and Kurt Busch ran just about even behind the leader to the checkered flag. As the trio crossed the finish line, Wallace, Justin Haley, and Chris Buescher traded paint. Haley tapped Buescher before slamming into Wallace and sending him into the wall. Buescher crossed the line backward for a seventh-place finish. Haley finished in the eleventh spot and Wallace thirteenth.
All images credit Jason McDonald, JM Photography for CORE360 Sports