William Byron holds the lead over Aric Almirola coming out of turn 4.William Byron wins the rain-shortened Quaker State 400 in Atlanta.

William Byron overcame early challenges and damage to his car to secure a victory in the rain-shortened Quaker State 400 at Atlanta Motor Speedway on Sunday night. As a thunderstorm approached the track, Byron maneuvered his No. 24 Chevrolet past AJ Allmendinger to take the lead on Lap 167 and held onto it until an accident on Lap 178 brought out a caution. The race was red-flagged due to inclement weather and fans were asked to seek safety. NASCAR called off the race with Byron in the lead.

Byron, sporting a colorful paint scheme reminiscent of Jeff Gordon’s #24 car, claimed his fourth victory of the season, making him the first four-time winner in the NASCAR Cup Series this year. The young driver from Charlotte, North Carolina, had previously triumphed at Atlanta in 2022, and this win was the eighth of his career. The rain-shortened race also had implications for the playoff standings, as no new winner emerged, keeping the number of spots available on points intact.

Daniel Suárez finished in second place, followed by AJ Allmendinger in third. Michael McDowell and Kyle Busch completed the top five. Despite facing early difficulties, including spinning through the grass and losing a lap, Byron fought back and regained his lost circuit as the beneficiary under caution. His crew chief, Rudy Fugle, made strategic calls throughout the race, including a pit stop on Lap 125 that helped Byron restart in a favorable position.

Reflecting on his challenging race, Byron expressed gratitude for his team’s efforts and the handling characteristics of the recently repaved track. He emphasized the importance of handling in superspeedway racing and appreciated the opportunity to showcase his skills. Byron’s victory also significantly impacted the playoff bubble, with drivers like Suárez, Allmendinger, and McDowell improving their chances of making the playoffs with their top-five finishes.

The race held sentimental value for team owner Richard Childress, who drove pace laps in the No. 29 Chevrolet, the same car that propelled Kevin Harvick to victory at Atlanta after Dale Earnhardt’s passing in 2001. However, Harvick’s final run at Atlanta before retirement did not go quite as planned, as he finished in 30th place. The veteran driver limped into the pits moments before the storm rolled in. will be retiring from Cup racing at the end of the season.

The post-race technical inspection confirmed Byron’s win without any issues. The cars of the Nos. 6 and 47 drivers will undergo further evaluation at the NASCAR R&D Center. As the season progresses, the victory solidifies Byron’s position as a strong contender for the playoffs, and his performance in Atlanta serves as a testament to his resilience and skill on the track.

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All photos c. Jason McDonald, JM Photography for CORE360 Sports

2023 Quaker State 400