William Byron avoids the big one to win at Darlington Raceway in the NASCAR Cup Series Goodyear 400 on Sunday.
The NASCAR Cup Series had one week remaining before the All-Star break. This weekend was spent at Darlington Raceway for a throwback-themed race. Many drivers sported throwback paint schemes to honor racing legends that came before. However, a paint scheme never stays fresh for long when racing at Darlington. This tough racetrack is known for leaving its mark on those who wish to conquer it.
The Polesitter Dominates the First Stage
Martin Truex Jr dominated the first segment from start to finish. He had to fight off Bubba Wallace early, but once Truex Jr moved into the lead, he could not be stopped. The first caution of the day came out on lap 38 after there was fluid reported to be on the racetrack. Martin Truex Jr moved back into the lead after the caution and that was it. He led the final 47 laps to win the first stage of the Goodyear 400.
The Second Stage was ‘Almost’ Caution-Free
Stage two ran green up until the final lap. Martin Truex Jr led the opening 39 laps before making his way down pit road. Ross Chastain had a better pit stop than Martin Truex Jr which allowed Chastain to move into the lead with 34 laps remaining.
Truex Jr did not back down, however. He stayed with Chastain and tried to make a move on the final lap. Martin Truex Jr tried to make a pass for the lead in turns three and four, but the move did not stick. Martin Truex Jr tightened up some and moved up the track into Ross Chastain. Chastain went on to win the second stage, as Martin Truex Jr fell back to tenth.
Cautions Headline the Third Stage
Stage three started off with two early cautions. One caution was on the restart involving nine drivers as Erik Jones’s tire fell off in the second turn. The second caution was Ricky Stenhouse Jr after he spun around in the third turn.
Ross Chastain brought the field back to the green flag and he was able to lead for 29 laps before coming down pit road. Kyle Larson short-pitted the field and he was able to pass Ross Chastain for the lead.
With 19 laps remaining, Ryan Newman spun around bringing out another caution. On the next restart, Martin Truex Jr was hit causing him to spin around from third place and collected eight other drivers in the wreck.
William Byron Avoids the Big One to Win at Darlington
Once the field came to the green flag, Kyle Larson and Ross Chastain hit each other taking them out, and it was William Byron moving into the lead. William Byron controlled the final restart with Kevin Harvick on his inside. William Byron moved into the lead for the final two laps to win his third race of the season.
The NASCAR Cup Series has reached the halfway point of the regular season. 13 races remain until the playoffs and the standings are close within the top sixteen drivers. There have been nine different race winners so far this year, and all these drivers are locked into the playoffs.
There are seven open spots left which at this point in the season, give teams a lot of real estate to make it in on points. The Cup Series will be racing at a handful of road courses and other interesting speedways. This wide range of tracks may allow some other drivers to win their way into the playoffs. As the series makes its way through the summer, the point standings will surely shake up the series.