Byron captures Hendrick 1-2-3 finish at Martinsville

After leading 88 of the 415 laps run in Sunday’s CookOut 400 at Martinsville Speedway, William Byron captured the checkered flag in a 1-2-3 Hendrick Motorsports finish on their 40th anniversary. 

It did come down to a final restart at the very end of it, after John Hunter Nemechek brought out the fifth yellow of the day with two laps to go in the race. With only five of the lead lap cars pitting and an all Hendrick Motorsports top three, it was almost a done deal that an HMS Chevy was going to go to victory lane. Who it was, was going to be decided by Byron, Chase Elliott, and Kyle Larson. 

When it was all said and done though, Byron ended up being your victor,with Larson finishing second, and Elliott finishing third.  

“I just want to thank Chase (Elliott) for racing me clean there,” Byron said in his post race interview to FOX Sports, talking about the final restart. “It was really physical there at the end. He gave me a shot, but it was expected that we all (his Hendrick Motorsports teammates) finished it off. Just so proud of everyone 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 is incredible. It’s all about the people. I just want to thank Mr. Hendrick and Linda, and everyone involved. It’s pretty awesome and bad ass to win at Martinsville. We’ve been struggling at the short tracks but just got a big jump on it.” 

Jeff Gordon, who drove the No. 24 for 23 years for HMS and is now the Vice Chairman for the company, was electrified by what just took place. 

“It couldn’t have been scripted any better. I know Mr. and Mrs. Hendrick was sad not to be here today, but how excited they are that all of our folk are here to see this happen. You can’t script like this. I knew we had good race cars when they showed up here yesterday. Our cars were good on the short runs but we just needed to get that track position. These three guys (Byron, Larson, and Elliott) as well as Bowman drove their butts off. It seems like every time we have a milestone day. Byron steps up. We got win No. 300 with him and this is going to be a big win for him and the whole organization.” 

Hendrick Motorsports led 238 of the 415 laps in Sunday’s race, which is 57.3% of the entire event. This also was Byron’s third victory in eight races, which the last time a driver won three races in eight starts to the season was Kyle Busch in 2019, who would become that year’s eventual champion. 

Next Sunday, the NASCAR Cup Series races at Texas Motor Speedway in the Autotrader EchoPark Automotives 400, which will be carried live by FS1, PRN, and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio. 

Kaleb Vestal
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