Race Weekend Central

William Byron Rallies From Contact and Spin For Top 10: ‘Really Frustrating. We Had A Great Day Going’

William Byron‘s first NASCAR playoffs began with one of the more eventful races of his career.

The defending Sunoco Rookie of the Year earned his 10th top 10 of the season on Sunday (Sept. 15) in the South Point 400 from Las Vegas Motor Speedway, surviving a cut tire and subsequent spin to finish seventh, a day he overall called “really frustrating.”

“We just had to recover. I don’t really know what happened there,” he said post-race. “I was just on the wall down the back straightaway and got hit in the left rear. I was kind of—thought the tire was going to last and hold up, it cleared the fender for awhile, but obviously it had a cut already in it. That was a big bummer. We were really fortunate the caution come out when we spun, that was really good for us, and overall we were able to rally to a seventh place. So that’s not bad.”

The contact came from Ryan Blaney, and took Byron by complete surprise. He was livid on the radio following the incident, which he expanded upon post-race.

“I thought it was a little aggressive for how close he was and then he was there for a second and hit me,” he said. “I felt it, I just hoped it wasn’t enough to cut the tire but it is what it is […] we had a great day going, we were just racing there, and I didn’t really expect that to happen,” he said. “But you gotta recover from that and rebound, which we did.”

The two briefly chatted, and all appeared to be fine.

Byron’s Hendrick Motorsports teammates showed speed throughout the 267-lap event, as Chase Elliott finished fourth and led 12 laps, while Alex Bowman finished sixth.

“I feel like the 1.5-milers at least for us have been a little bit of a struggle,” he said. “It’s good to get a top 10 and just rally and hopefully move onto Richmond and have a really good run there.”

Having seven-time Cup Series champion Chad Knaus stop the pit box keeping Byron’s nerves at ease helped in the grand scheme of things, and has all season.

“It’s great,” he said. “It’s really good, he had us really calm and focused throughout this race. He didn’t say a lot on the radio all day as far as negativity or anything. He was really positive and kept us in the race the whole time.”

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