William Byron left Talladega Superspeedway puzzled by his Chevrolet’s performance and disappointed in a 12th place finish.
“It was frustrating the whole time; I felt like the race was going away from us,” he said. “We couldn’t make anything happen. We were kind of stuck. I don’t know what we need to do different next time but definitely felt like we were kind of stuck where we were and never had a chance to go forward.”
Having been penalized Tuesday for his actions toward Denny Hamlin under caution in Texas, the goal of the day was to contend for the win and bag stage points. Byron and the No. 24 team did neither.
While Byron was credited with leading one lap, he didn’t have a car strong enough to seriously challenge for the victory. He also failed to earn stage points finishing 11th in stage one and 13th in stage two.
“That was definitely a bad deal,” Byron said. “The first stage I thought had some possibility for it, and I tried to kind of work it toward the bottom there, and it just didn’t work out. The outside lane was better and nobody could get to me to push. That was unfortunate.
“We kind of just struggled the rest of the race just to get up in the top 10 to have a chance at stage points. Not surprising, I guess, how the end of the race went given the fact that we couldn’t really get toward the front all day.”
Byron doesn’t know why his day unfolded as it did. It was not that the car was bogged down or wouldn’t suck up in the draft. It was just one of those days where things didn’t go the way he needed them to.
“I just could never be in the line that was moving,” he said. “So I don’t know if that was me or what. But I felt like the line I was in was always going back. I don’t know if we weren’t able to help the line go forward. I don’t know.
“Every time I would try to help the line go forward, I would typically overheat, and then I’d have to kind of back off and get the temps back down. I don’t know what else to think. But definitely the struggle of the day, for sure.
“I don’t know what I need to do differently there, but we just struggled to get toward the front,” Byron said. “When we would be up there, we’d kind of maintain, but we struggled to get toward the front and were boxed in there at the end and ended up where we did.
“It’s unfortunate because I felt good coming in here. I felt like we’d have a good opportunity and just never could get the track position to stay up toward the front.”
Byron is 11 points below the cutline going into the Charlotte Roval, but that is still pending the appeal Hendrick Motorsports filed over his Texas penalty, which is set to be heard this week.
“Road courses, this year, have been a little up and down but certainly feel like it’s a pretty good track for me, and we had a good run going last year, so we’ve just got to keep it up,” Byron said. “Still puzzled by today. Never really was a factor, and couldn’t really get toward the front, so to come home 12th is definitely disappointing. But we’ll go forward.”