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Race report

NASCAR Cup Atlanta: Byron comes back from lap down to win rain-shortened race

William Byron made a remarkable comeback in a wild, rain-shortened race to claim his fourth NASCAR Cup Series win of the 2023 season.

After contact with Corey LaJoie early in the second stage, Byron received damage to his #24 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet and fell a lap down.

Thanks to some more cautions and quick repairs, Byron returned to the lead lap and stayed on the track between Stages 2 and 3 to move towards the front of the field.

Two laps following the start of the final stage, Byron swept around A.J. Allmendinger to take the lead and was still out front when rain forced NASCAR to halt the race after 185 of the scheduled 260 laps.

The win is Byron’s series-leading fourth of the season and eighth of his career.

"It was just all teamwork," Byron said of his recovery-turned-victory. "To be honest, I don't completely understand this one. It's a really good feeling. I've never had a rain victory like this.

"It's cool. We went through so much during the night - spinning through the infield, destroyed the bottom of the car, going around the apron trying to stay on the lead lap. At that point you just don't have the grip and I was real edgy back in traffic. Rudy [Fugle, crew chief] made a great call to pit there and then stay out [later].

"Once we got towards the front, we were OK. We could make the right decisions - block OK. Got the lead from A.J. and was able to manage the run. Just a crazy night."

Kyle Larson, Hendrick Motorsports, HendrickCars.com Chevrolet Camaro, Austin Hill, Beard Motorsports, Bennett Transportation/Beard Chevrolet Camaro, William Byron, Hendrick Motorsports, Axalta Chevrolet Camaro

Kyle Larson, Hendrick Motorsports, HendrickCars.com Chevrolet Camaro, Austin Hill, Beard Motorsports, Bennett Transportation/Beard Chevrolet Camaro, William Byron, Hendrick Motorsports, Axalta Chevrolet Camaro

Photo by: John Harrelson / NKP / Motorsport Images

As part of his victory, Byron also received an additional trophy – plated in the precious metal rhodium – to commemorate Goodyear’s 2000th Cup win. The first Cup winner on Goodyear rubber was driver Jim Reed at Darlington in 1959.

In a race that was officially declared completed at 10pm local time during the rain stoppage, Daniel Suarez ended up credited with second ahead of Allmendinger, with Michael McDowell fourth and Kyle Busch fifth.

Brad Keselowski, who led at the end of the Stage 1, took his best result since the Darlington race back in May with sixth place, ahead of part-timer J.J. Yeley, as Ryan Blaney took eighth place.

Justin Haley, last weekend’s runner-up to Shane van Gisbergen’s stunning debut win, ended up in ninth place as Ricky Stenhouse completed the top 10.

NASCAR Cup Atlanta - Race results

Cla Driver Manufacturer Laps Gap Interval
1 United States William Byron Chevrolet 185    
2 Mexico Daniel Suarez Chevrolet 185 1.015 1.015
3 United States A.J. Allmendinger Chevrolet 185 1.523 0.508
4 United States Michael McDowell Ford 185 1.892 0.369
5 United States Kyle Busch Chevrolet 185 2.198 0.306
6 United States Brad Keselowski Ford 185 3.419 1.221
7 United States J.J. Yeley Ford 185 3.730 0.311
8 United States Justin Haley Chevrolet 185 4.083 0.353
9 United States Ryan Blaney Ford 185 4.084 0.001
10 United States Ricky Stenhouse Jr. Chevrolet 185 5.510 1.426
11 United States Erik Jones Chevrolet 185 6.052 0.542
12 United States Austin Cindric Ford 185 6.709 0.657
13 United States Chase Elliott Chevrolet 185 6.710 0.001
14 United States Denny Hamlin Toyota 185 6.711 0.001
15 United States Chris Buescher Ford 185 6.712 0.001
16 United States Todd Gilliland Ford 185 8.042 1.330
17 United States Joey Logano Ford 185 9.226 1.184
18 United States Aric Almirola Ford 185 9.705 0.479
19 United States Ty Dillon Chevrolet 185 10.455 0.750
20 United States B.J. McLeod Chevrolet 185 10.456 0.001
21 United States Austin Dillon Chevrolet 185 11.018 0.562
22 United States Chase Briscoe Ford 185 12.288 1.270
23 United States Christopher Bell Toyota 185 13.218 0.930
24 United States Ryan Preece Ford 185 13.632 0.414
25 United States Bubba Wallace Toyota 185 14.316 0.684
26 United States Alex Bowman Chevrolet 185 18.194 3.878
27 United States Tyler Reddick Toyota 185 21.218 3.024
28 United States Harrison Burton Ford 184 1 Lap 1 Lap
29 United States Martin Truex Jr. Toyota 184 1 Lap 3.324
30 United States Kevin Harvick Ford 181 4 Laps 3 Laps
31 United States Corey Lajoie Chevrolet 179 6 Laps 2 Laps
32 United States Cole Custer Ford 178 7 Laps 1 Lap
33 United States Noah Gragson Chevrolet 174 11 Laps 4 Laps
34 Ty Gibbs Toyota 150 35 Laps 24 Laps
35 United States Ross Chastain Chevrolet 124 61 Laps 26 Laps
36 United States Kyle Larson Chevrolet 111 74 Laps 13 Laps
37 United States Austin Hill Chevrolet 92 93 Laps 19 Laps

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