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William Byron Celebrates Hendrick's 40th Anniversary with Cook Out 400 Victory at Martinsville

Byron led teammates Kyle Larson and Chase Elliott to the start-finish line in NASCAR Overtime, completing the first-ever top-three sweep in the NASCAR Cup Series at Martinsville Speedway.


hero image for William Byron Celebrates Hendrick's 40th Anniversary with Cook Out 400 Victory at Martinsville

After kickstarting the 40th anniversary season for Hendrick Motorsports with a prestigious win in the Daytona 500, William Byron has pulled through once again, capturing the victory in Sunday’s Cook Out 400 at Martinsville Speedway.

Byron, with his No. 24 Axalta Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 dressed in Ruby Red, was able to keep his teammates Kyle Larson and Chase Elliott behind him in NASCAR Overtime to capture the victory, the third of the season for the 26-year-old driver and the 13th of his NASCAR Cup Series career.

“I just want to thank Chase [Elliott] for racing me clean there, it can get really physical at the end, and he gave me a shot, which is expected, but we all finished it off,” said Byron. “Just so proud of everybody at Hendrick Motorsports. I grew up a big Hendrick fan, and to be here for the 40th anniversary and all that goes into this organization and all of the people, it’s all about the people.”

The victory comes at the height of the organization’s anniversary celebrations, as the series returns to the half-mile paperclip that netted Hendrick Motorsports – then known as All-Star Racing — its first win at NASCAR’s top level with Geoffrey Bodine, four decades ago.

“This is pretty awesome,” Byron added. “Pretty badass to win at Martinsville, we’ve been struggling at the short tracks and kept inching up on it. I’ve got a great team and they just kept my head in it. It stunk to do a restart there at the end like that, but that’s the way it goes.”

A critical moment in Sunday’s event was Lap 296, the lap when fifth-place running William Byron was called to pit road by crew chief Rudy Fugle, one lap before anybody else engrained in the battle for the victory, giving the No. 24 a one-lap advantage on fresh tires, with at that point in the run had dropped off in speed.

“That was a great call, I mean, it didn’t get us the track position right away but we had a little bit more heat in our tires, and it seems like I fired off a little bit faster than those guys and was able to get up ahead of them,” Byron said about the race-winning pit call. “We had a great car in the first and third stages. Just want to thank all the No. 24 fans, thanks for sticking with us, and just super excited.”

That decision by Fugle was enough to get Byron the effective lead, once those battling for the victory made their green-flag stops, and once the entire field cycled out about 30 laps afterward, the Charlotte, North Carolina native nabbed the lead of the race and immediately gapped his teammates.

Just as reality was setting in for Byron and Hendrick Motorsports, John Hunter Nemechek had a mechanical issue on his LEGACY MOTOR CLUB Toyota Camry XSE which sent him into the outside wall, and drew the fourth caution of the Cook Out 400, setting up NASCAR Overtime.

Unlike last weekend at Richmond, there were no shenanigans on the restart, with Byron launching well within the restart zone, and the driver of the No. 24 Chevrolet clearing Chase Elliott for the race-lead, and what would end up being the victory. Byron would cross the start-finish line 0.550 seconds ahead of his competition, solidifying the return to Victory Lane for the No. 24, becoming the first driver to win three races in 2024.

The race’s polesitter, Kyle Larson, was able to steal second from teammate Chase Elliott on the race’s final restart, allowing the drivers to come home in second and third place, competing a 1-2-3 finish for Hendrick Motorsports on a Sunday filled to the brim with celebrations.

In doing so, Hendrick Motorsports becomes the first organization to sweep the top three positions in a NASCAR Cup Series event at Martinsville Speedway, a track that has significant historical meaning for Rick Hendrick and the organization as a whole.

Bubba Wallace had a strong afternoon for 23XI Racing, bringing his No. 23 McDonald’s Toyota Camry XSE home in fourth place, his third top-five result of the year, and his first in the NASCAR Cup Series at Martinsville.

Ryan Blaney, the defending champion of the NASCAR Cup Series, finished in fifth, rounding out the top five. Joey Logano was sixth, with Tyler Reddick, Alex Bowman, Ryan Preece, and Chase Briscoe completing the top-10.

Leaving Martinsville, Kyle Larson takes over the lead in the NASCAR Cup Series point standings by 14 points over second-place Martin Truex, Jr. Denny Hamlin is third, with William Byron and Ryan Blaney rounding out the top-five.

Next for the NASCAR Cup Series is a trip to Texas Motor Speedway, the site of Hendrick’s 300th NASCAR Cup Series win last Fall with William Byron.

Photo Credit: Jonathan McCoy, Overbey Photography

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