Race Weekend Central

William Byron Survives Wild Final Laps to Win at Texas

The 2023 EchoPark Automotive Group 400 from Texas Motor Speedway on Sunday (Sept. 24) appeared decided with 21 laps to go. Kyle Larson appeared to have Hendrick Motorsports’ 300th win wrapped up.

Then the caution came out and as it tends to do in this sport, everything changed.

In the end, it was William Byron who captured the landmark win for the venerated race team. It’s Byron’s sixth win of the season and locked him into the next round of the 2023 NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs, meaning he’ll have no worries at Talladega or the Charlotte ROVAL the next two weeks.

Byron cleared the driver who led the most laps in the event, Bubba Wallace, on the final restart with seven laps to go with a bold three-wide move as Chase Briscoe and Wallace battled for the lead.

Ross Chastain battled back from a throttle issue to finish second. Wallace, Christopher Bell and Denny Hamlin rounded out the top five.

“Kyle really deserved this one, I gotta say. Those guys were really fast all day, hate it for them at the end, but man it was awesome to get our car to the front, it loved clean air. We fought through traffic all day and our Liberty University Chevrolet was just tight back in traffic, but had good pace,” Byron told NBC Sports.

“I’m really proud of this one, as hot as it was and as tough as it was, so we’ll take it and move on to the next round.”

Wallace, despite many pundits doubting his ability to transfer to the next round, was a threat to win all day long. His 111 laps led were a career high and he sits just below the cut line heading into one of his best tracks.

“I just hate it,” a disappointed Wallace told NBC Sports. “I should’ve just kept my line going into [turn] 3 and force William to get tight, but you’re so vulnerable in these cars right? I’m just upset with myself. Really needed a win there.”

Kevin Harvick, Brad Keselowski, Daniel Suarez, Ricky Stenhouse Jr. and Briscoe rounded out the top 10.

The extreme heat in Texas wasn’t the only issue playoff drivers battled today, as several found themselves in big trouble heading into the next race.

There were 11 total cautions for cause on the day for 55 laps, and several involved those aforementioned playoff contenders.

Kyle Busch was the first to falter, as he spun his No. 8 Chevrolet on lap 74. He finished in dead last and is currently the driver furthest from the playoff cut line.

Larson spun on the restart and smashed the outside wall with 21 laps to go, failing to finish the event, leaving him barely over the cut line in eighth. He did, however, win stage two, which helped ease the blow to his postseason hopes a little.

Tyler Reddick won stage one, but a poorly-timed caution put him in a bad position late in the race. Reddick finished 25th.

Martin Truex Jr. again found himself trying to salvage his day at the end of stage one, when he was bumped as the field slowed down and spun into turn 1. Truex’s car had a little bit of diffuser damage that wasn’t serious, so he was able to continue on. He finished 17th, which has been par for the course lately for the 2017 champion.

Ryan Blaney was a casualty of the final caution of the day and finished nine laps down in 28th. He gathered some stage points, but that was about the only positive of the day for the No. 12 team, as their car was off the pace for much of the event.

2023 ECHOPARK AUTOMOTIVE GROUP 400 RACE RESULTS

The NASCAR Cup Series returns to Talladega Superspeedway on Sunday (Oct. 1). Coverage begins at 2 p.m. ET on NBC, MRN and Sirius XM NASCAR Radio.

About the author

Garrett joined Frontstretch as a news writer in 2023, and became a fantasy racing and betting writer in 2024. Hailing from the heart of coal country in southern West Virginia,  he's a married father of three and currently enrolled in the Physical Therapy Assistant Program at New River Community Technical College in Beaver, WV. He has been a racing fan since 1998, primarily watching NASCAR, but branching out to F1 and IndyCar as his love for motorsports has grown.

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Echo

I didn’t know bubba was the best restarter in the game but I’ll take him at his word . Larson didn’t use his head as he admitted. I read a post on X stating Chase didn’t give bubba a shove on the restart. lololol Chase’s teammate won the race didn’t he. No way bubba was getting a push.

DoninAjax

I hope he mentioned that in the HOF speech he has written! Does he call himself THE Closer too?

DoninAjax

Yeley deserves to be on Bubba’s and Michael’s Christmas card list too. Even though it didn’t work out, for obvious reasons, he did what he was supposed to do and got a caution near the end of the event to give Bubba a chance to win. It’s too bad the 51 dnfed and didn’t get a chance for another one for a GWC. There were too many laps left for Bubba to take advantage.

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