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NASCAR Cup Richmond

Byron: "There wasn't anything I could do" in closing laps

William Byron thought he only needed to fend off Martin Truex Jr. for the Richmond win, but a new threat proved too much for him in the waning moments of the race.

William Byron, Hendrick Motorsports, Liberty University Chevrolet Camaro

Byron took on an aggressive one-stop strategy at the end of the race, trying to stretch the tires nearly 100 laps to the checkered flag. 

The move nearly worked as Byron fought to become the first multi-time winner this season. Although he kept Truex at bay, there was not much he could do to halt the charge of Denny Hamlin and Kevin Harvick. Both drivers had far fresher tires after opting for a two-stop strategy to close out the race.

After leading 122 laps, Byron would ultimately finish third after losing the lead with just five laps remaining in the event.

“Thought we probably did the best job we could," he said post-race. "It didn’t quite work out. I thought there at the end they told me I was just racing the 19 (Truex). I’m like ok I got him, but then the 4 (Harvick) and the 11 (Hamlin) were on a totally different planet. That’s just part of it.

"There wasn’t anything I could do about them, so it was probably four or five to go and Brandon (Lines) was coaching me on keeping the tires underneath it and having good exits and entries. Especially making those guys go around me on the top was definitely better. The times that guys would get underneath me was really, really hard to get back connected and get a good lap put together. The middle of the race we were terrible and we just couldn’t get in the corner at all and if you can’t get into the corner you can’t put consistent laps together. It’s nice to have a run like we had today.”

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Byron was the top-finishing Chevrolet, and the only member of Team Chevy to lead any laps on Sunday. After starting the years off with two DNFs, the Hendrick Motorsports driver has finished inside the top-five in three of the last five races. 

He sits fourth in the regular season standings after seven races.

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