Byron Turns Left, Turns Right, Avoids Track Limits, Wins Race and Joins Racing Lead Change Race

William Byron hit the first road course of the season to pick up his second win of the season to become the first two-time winner of 2024. This is the third season in a row he has been the first two-time winner in a season.  The last driver to do that was the previous driver of Byron’s #24-Jeff Gordon.  

This was Byron’s 12th career win maintaining his rank of 62 on the All-Time Cup win list.  He is now one win behind Tim Richmond on the list and six wins behind the next active driver on the list-teammate Chase Elliott.

Byron not only won the race but done it in a dominant manner.  He finished where he started-in P1.  He lead the most times for the most laps-5 times for a race high 42 laps (next closest was Ross Chastain-1 time for 10 laps).  Once he got to the point no one passed him until he pulled off to pit, giving up the lead. Of the 19 cars who scored Stage Points, Byron was the only one who scored points in both Stages.   

Finally, Byron was the only driver who passed the leader to take the lead without benefit of Start/Restart or having the leader pull over to give him the lead.  His two Racing Lead Changes were Byron’s first of the season and put him on the 2024 Charts.

Unlike several other drivers, Byron kept his car on track and in bounds to avoid the track limits controversy on way to the win.  He picked up 12 points on the Regular Season points leader, moving him up fours positions to P6-37 points behind Martin Truex, Jr.

All in all, 3.310 million viewers at home and a sizable but less than sellout crowd saw one heck of a performance by the Hendrick Motorsports’ wheelman.

Tyler Reddick, #45 during the NASCAR Cup Series EchoPark Automotive Grand Prix at Circuit of The Americas on March 24, 2024 in Austin, Texas. (Photo by Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images)

Byron shared the podium with Toyota JGR drivers, Christopher Bell and Ty Gibbs with teammate Alex Bowman taking fourth.  Tyler Reddick placed the third Toyota in the Top Five.  

Road course ace, A. J. Allmendinger took P6, followed by Ross Chastain, Ford’s top finisher Chris BuescherKyle Busch and points leader, Martin Truex, Jr. rounded out the Top 10.

Below are the statistical results for the 2024 version of COTA.

Race Breakdown

Here is a statistical breakdown of the passing and lead changes we saw at COTA:

Total Lead Changes-11 among 7 Leaders.  William Byron lead 5 times for a race high 42 Laps.

Green Flag Lead Changes (P1) 10

– Leader Pit – 7

– Start/Restart – 1

– Racing Lead Changes – 2  

William Byron-2

Quality Passes less P1 (P2-P15) – 567

Non-QP Passes (P16-P37) – 2198

Overall Passes  – 21% of the 2775 Green Flag Passes took place in the front 38% of the field, so passing was more toward the back of the field 

Total Green Flag Passes – 2775 for 43.3/Green Flag Lap.  

Margin of Victory – Bryon’s .692 second win over Christopher Bell

Winning Pass- Byron’s winning pass came on Lap 51 when leader Martin Truex, Jr. pitted from the lead

Winning Run-Byron led the final 18 laps of the race.   

Most Green Flag Passes – 112 Brad Keselowski 

Most Quality Passes– 40 Tyler Reddick

Racing Lead Changes (after six races)

Race winner William Byron finally broke into the Racing Lead Change Race with his COTA performance.  Kyle Busch and Denny Hamlin remain on the top of the Racing Lead Change heap with 11 Racing Lead Changes.  Here is the overall breakdown up to this point:

 11 – Kyle Busch 

11- Denny Hamlin 

 9 – Ryan Blaney 

 9 – Kyle Larson 

 7 – Martin Truex, Jr. 

 6 – Joey Logano, Ty Gibbs 

 4 – Michael McDowell, Todd Gilliland

 3 – Austin Cindric,

 2 – Tyler Reddick, Daniel Suarez, Chase Elliott, William Byron (+2)

 1 – Christopher Bell, Ross Chastain, Brad Keselowski, Corey LaJoie, Chris Buescher, AJ Allmendinger, Bubba Wallace 

Final Thoughts

Last week the post-race discussion was on Tire Management and Tire Fall off.  This week the only times mentioned was tires didn’t.

Track Limits bumped Tire Fall Off as this week’s focus.  The debate whether they are needed or not, whether the penalty fit the crime and were they consistently enforced took center stage.  Not good but it did divert attention from the lack of tire falloff, the lack of passing for the lead and evaluation on the performance (or lack thereof) of the new Short Track Package.  

I heard few glowing remarks about the Short Track Package.  Some said the cars slid a little more, but others said that didn’t make difference in overall tire wear which made little improvement in on-track performance.

 William Byron, #24 and Michael McDowell, #34race during the NASCAR Cup Series EchoPark Automotive Grand Prix at Circuit of The Americas on March 24, 2024 in Austin, Texas. (Photo by Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images)

There were only two Caution Flags for Stage Breaks and none for “organic” spins and wrecks.  The lack of “packing the field” for restarts may have been a contributing factor in the decline in this area.  NASCAR moving the Restart Zone cleaned up restarts, so we didn’t have Cautions breeding Cautions (or Restarts breeding Passes).  The stats showed fewer green flag passes than last year.  Likewise on the Racing Lead Changes as they fell from four to two this year.

If you look at the stats alone-they aren’t heading in the direction you would hope a Package change would push them.  That said, it’s still early.  Maybe, the new Package will show better at Richmond this weekend.

On his way less than clean run to a P2 finish, Christopher Bell got up close and personal with Kyle Larson and Kyle Busch spinning both along the way.  Bell apologized to Larson for the move that dropped Larson to P17.  Busch was waiting on Bell when he got out of his car and engaged in an “intense moment of fellowship” while discussing the move that dropped Busch to P8.  No punches were thrown but there was little doubt that KyBu was not happy with Bell pulling a move on him that he would have done if roles were reversed.  

Aw perspective.  I think it’s called it all depends on whose bull is being gored.  

One interesting question was “should Ty Gibbs have let CBell go sooner?” popped up in post-race discussions.  The thinking was that CBell had a car better than Gibbs and once around Gibbs was running Byron down.  If Gibbs had of just let Bell go could his teammate run down Byron, engaged him and either taken the win or got dicing and allowed Gibbs back in for the win?  We’ll never know but it’s something to think about, imagine what if…

Word came out almost immediately after the race that Cup would be back in 2025.  I wasn’t sure that it was up for discussion.  I guess they had a three-year deal with Texas Motor Speedway and that was expiring.  At any rate that’s one we can pencil in for next year.  

Congratulations to Bubba Wallace for his P15 finish.  The #23 team’s performance there has been abysmal.  This race started out as a continuation of 2022 and 2023 as the leader board had them battling back in P35 or lower.  Somehow, some way they clawed their way to a P15.  Not a win, but a darn sight better than they have been doing there.  So, congrats. 

A shoutout to Zane Smith.  For a team that has been snake-bit for the start of the season, a P34 Start with a P19 finish has to feel good.  Hope it’s the start of a positive trend.

Shane Van Gisbergen’s P20 finish wasn’t what was hoped for but it was an interesting run (when shown) all the same.  It’s a storyline worth following and if he is in the race, I find one eye on the lookout for where he’s running.  Good luck going forward.

The race got a 50.2% Good vote in the Jeff Gluck-Was it a Good Race poll.  Not what some had hoped for but you know the good thing?

We’ve got another race this weekend!

As the Easter Bunny hops on to Richmond…

Richmond April 2014 Photo Credit: Matt Sullivan/NASCAR via Getty Images

Thunder On… and Stay Safe!

David Nance

Photo Credit (cover): Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images


  1. Hi David, thanks for the stats recap article. The thing that got me to thinking most was when you wrote:
    “Finally, Byron was the only driver who passed the leader to take the lead without benefit of Start/Restart or having the leader pull over to give him the lead. His two Racing Lead Changes were Byron’s first of the season and put him on the 2024 Charts.”
    When the race finished, I did not realize that. Very interesting and makes me wonder more at why NASCAR does not report things like this. I sure do like it when you do these articles.
    Thank you.

    1. Thanks Vivian,

      I don’t think it’s reported by the mainstream because a) there is a little more work involved to actually get the numbers. Not very many want to do the digging, even those who do additional analysis beyond what they receive from NASCAR. Most are happy to report the Lead Changes given them and won’t even try to find out how many were under green and how many were under caution. Although it can be meaningful it is just too hardand b) when you you dig deeper you might find out that things look a little different, may not look quite as good as your initial impressions made you believe.

      They sure don’t want that.

      Richmond had 1 pass for the lead, by actually someone passing the leader without benefit of a restart or the leader pitting and turning the lead over. It was on Lap 6. I’m not sure if I bought a ticket I would have been plussed sitting there for over 401 laps waiting for the next pass for the lead.
      But that’s me.
      I’m not sure how much it helps or hurts but it’s just a little piece of info fans will get here they won’t get anywhere else.

      Finally, c) I’m just a different kind of nerd and try to look at things a little differently.

      Thanks for your comments. Much appreciated

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.