For the second consecutive week, William Byron and the No. 24 Hendrick Motorsports team took advantage of a late caution to grab the victory.
Sunday, Byron prevailed in overtime at Phoenix Raceway. He took the lead on the outside of a three-wide battle coming to the white flag, using a shove from Tyler Reddick to clear teammate Kyle Larson and Ryan Blaney.
Here's a look at the full #NASCAROvertime at @phoenixraceway. pic.twitter.com/Z39O6AL2hy
— NASCAR (@NASCAR) March 12, 2023
“I owe the last couple of weeks to him,” Byron said of crew chief Rudy Fugle. “He’s done a really good job strategy-wise and execution-wise; we’ve done a good job to put ourselves in those positions on the front row with a shot at the end. Thank you to everybody back at Hendrick Motorsports for putting together great cars and just doing a great job.”
Byron led 64 laps and won the first stage, but he struggled to show the same strength when in traffic after losing the lead on pit road to Larson at the end of the stage.
The race’s complexion changed when a caution flew with 11 laps to go for a Harrison Burton spin. At the time of the caution, Kevin Harvick was driving away in the lead, with Larson second.
Larson had dominated the day but lost the lead to Harvick after a round of green flag pit stops with less than 70 laps to go. Stewart-Haas Racing pitted Harvick one lap sooner than Larson to erase a gap of over one second. Harvick ended up a few car lengths behind Larson and soon tracked him down to take the lead.
On the final trip down pit road after Burton’s spin, though, Harvick took four tires. He exited pit road seventh as Larson, Byron, and four other drivers took two tires.
On the restart with three laps to go, the caution quickly flew again when AJ Allmendinger spun in Turn 3. Larson chose the inside lane for the restart as Byron moved to second, choosing the outside lane.
The teammates battled hard on the restart. Coming off Turn 2, they were joined by a charging Blaney, who made it three-wide going into Turn 3. Byron surged ahead with an assist from Reddick, who was among those who took four tires, and was clear into the final lap for his second straight win and first at Phoenix.
Blaney finished second, Reddick was third and Larson finished fourth. Larson won the second stage and led a race-high 201 of 317 laps.
Harvick rounded out the top five finishers in the United Rentals Work United 500. Christopher Bell finished sixth, Chase Briscoe seventh, Kyle Busch eighth, Alex Bowman ninth and Josh Berry 10th.
There were 10 lead changes among six drivers and five caution flags Sunday afternoon.