William Byron Holds Off the NASCAR Cup Series Field in Dramatic Atlanta Victory 

HAMPTON, GEORGIA – MARCH 20: William Byron, driver of the #24 Liberty University Chevrolet, takes the checkered flag to win the NASCAR Cup Series Folds of Honor QuikTrip 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway on March 20, 2022, in Hampton, Georgia. (Photo by Mike Mulholland/Getty Images)

William Byron holds off the NASCAR Cup Series Field in dramatic Atlanta victory in the Folds of Honor QuikTrip 500 on Sunday afternoon.

After a repave and reconfiguration of Atlanta Motor Speedway, the NASCAR Cup Series returned for their first crack at this new track. Not only did the speedway repave its surface, but it also increased its banking in the corners from 24 degrees to 28 degrees. Atlanta officials were going for more of a superspeedway feel, and they hit it right on the button.  

The First Stage Ends Under a Caution

Chase Briscoe held the pole for the start of Sunday’s race. Within the first 25 laps, there were six different changes for the lead. Martin Truex Jr just gained the lead as the first caution of the day came out. Kyle Busch held the lead on the restart but immediately gave it up to Ross Chastain. Chastain was able to hold down the lead until the competition caution on lap 46.

Joey Logano won the race off pit road and returned the race back to the green flag. Logano and Chastain battle back and forth for multiple laps until Chastain was able to gain sole possession of the lead.

With seven laps remaining in the first stage, Chastain cut a tire and hit the wall bringing out another caution. On the following restart, Kyle Busch and Austin Dillon wreck into each other ending both of their days. William Byron was leading at the time and was able to win the first stage under caution. 

Blaney Wins the Second Stage

The start of stage two began with a 34-lap green-flag run. Within this stretch, there were eight different lead changes. With William Byron leading at the time, Tyler Reddick lost a tire coming off the fourth turn and collected many drivers. Twelve other teams were involved in the wreck, ending most of their days.

As the second segment came to a close Ricky Stenhouse Jr lost a tire right when he got into the lead. There was a two-lap sprint to the green-white-checkered flag after this late caution.

Ryan Blaney led the field to the green flag and did not look back. Blaney was able to hold his lead for two laps to win the second stage.  

William Byron Holds Off the NASCAR Cup Series Field in Dramatic Atlanta Victory 

Daniel Suarez moved into the lead on the restart of the third segment. He was able to keep the lead for about eight laps until he was passed by Chase Elliott. With 70 laps remaining in the race, a debris caution came out giving the field an opportunity to make pit stops.

Aric Almirola won the race off pit road and held the lead for the restart. William Bryon made a quick pass on the restart and took control of the lead late in the race.

Byron took the lead and was able to hold his lead through two late cautions. He brought the field around for the final lap and was able to block two big runs effortlessly to seal his win at Atlanta Motor Speedway. 

The NASCAR Cup Series Point Standings

It was a wild race for a big return to the new track. 46 lead changes set a new track record. The track raced like a superspeedway. Drivers were able to build runs, draft, block, and push just like they would at Talladega or Daytona. It was extremely exciting and could be a new niche that Atlanta Motor Speedway alone can possess.

Drivers will have to figure out a way to make it through the race in a cleaner fashion. With a record-setting day for cautions, it did feel as if drivers are still figuring out what they could get away with, in the new Gen 7 cars.