Four races into the NASCAR Cup Series playoffs, and William Byron wonders what his Hendrick Motorsports team needs to do to have a smooth race.
“It seems like that’s our problem,” Byron said after a disappointing Sunday night at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.
Byron had one of the fastest cars in the South Point 400, but finished 18th and off the lead lap. He had to drive through the field twice. Multiple inspection failures forced Byron to start at the rear of the field, but he was ninth by the competition caution on lap 25.
Byron finished fifth in the first stage. However, he didn’t earn points in the second stage and again lost his track position because crew chief Rudy Fugle called him to pit before the end of the stage. Byron fought back into contention and was in the top five inside the final 50 laps when a flat tire sent him to pit road under green flag conditions.
“I knew I hit something off of (Turn) 2, something popped, and I went another lap, and it was down into (Turn) 1,” Byron said. “Just sucks. Had an amazing car.
“I think it was right there with the 11 [Denny Hamlin]. We’ll just have to keep bringing that speed.”
It has been a rocky start to the playoffs for Byron as far as the result sheet. Through the first four races, he’s finished 18th or worse in three of them. Byron’s strongest race was at Bristol Motor Speedway, where he finished third to jump above the cutline and avoid elimination.
“We’ve got to clean up a couple of things, but the speed department and the performance is amazing,” Byron said. “If we can put it all together, I think we can win.”
Byron is back below the cutline going into the second race in the Round of 12 at Talladega Superspeedway.
“Just be aggressive,” Byron said of the approach. “I was aggressive all day (at Las Vegas) and passed a ton of cars. Just be as aggressive as I’ve been on the superspeedways in the past. We won a race on a superspeedway last year, and I feel like we can do it again. The Roval is a good track for us too, so we’ll see what happens.”