Tick-Tock: William Byron Wins His Second Grandfather Clock At Martinsvilleby Hunter Thomas April 10, 2022 1 comment
MARTINSVILLE, Va. – William Byron became the first repeat winner of 2022 in the NASCAR Cup Series after winning the Blue-Emu Maximum Pain Relief 400 at Martinsville Speedway that was absolutely dominated by Hendrick Motorsports.
Prior to Saturday’s race in Virginia, the NASCAR Cup Series had seen seven different winners in the first seven races of the season; however, after leading more than half the race, William Byron ended the trend and added another iconic grandfather clock to his décor. He won his first grandfather clock in Thursday’s NASCAR Camping World Truck Series.
“I felt like I could win a race a year,” Byron said. “We’ve done that for a couple years. But to get in that multi-win category is hard. You’ve got to lead a lot of laps.
“We were doing that okay, but we were kind of — I’d say we were probably an eighth to 12th place team before this year, and I just feel like we’re — I just see a difference in the way our guys are this year and kind of the attention to detail. It’s been good so far, so — like I said, it’s a long season, so a lot is going to change with this car, and we’ve got to keep it up.”
While Byron led the final 83 laps of the race, the win wasn’t handed to his No. 24 RaptorRough.com Chevrolet team. Byron had to first survive NASCAR Overtime. After Todd Gilliland spun in Turn 4 on Lap 395, the teams lined back up for a dash to the finish. On the NASCAR Overtime restart, Byron quickly gained control of the lead and held Joey Logano at bay en route to winning his fourth-career NASCAR Cup Series race.
“It feels awesome,” said Byron. “When that last caution came out, I thought everyone behind us would pit and luckily we stayed out. We were aggressive. We felt like we could re-fire on the tires and be okay; and you’ve got one of the most aggressive guys behind you in Logano. I knew I chattered the tires in (turns) 3 and 4 and kind of left the bottom open, but was able to block my exits and get a good drive off.”
Joey Logano held on first a runner-up finish in the Team Penske Shell Pennzoil Ford. Logano ran well all night long. He finished eighth in Stage 1 and third in Stage 2. The second-place finish marks Logano’s second top-five effort of the season. The strong performance comes as a relief after the team had finished outside of the top-15 for two consecutive weekends.
“But just that final restart there, had a front row,” Logano said. “That’s what you can ask for. Got cleared to second, and Willy kind of messed up off of 4 and let me get to him, and he did a really good job of brake checking into third, right, which is a good job. He did what he was supposed to do, and kind of got me all stuffed up behind him and I couldn’t accelerate off the corner and be as close as I needed to be down into 3 to execute the ol’ bump-and-run. Couldn’t get quite to him, but his corner entry was really strong, too, which I think allowed him to get in there pretty strong.
“Overall the Shell-Pennzoil Mustang had a solid run. Just hate being that close to winning and not making it happen. But big points today, and it just stings. Second just sucks sometimes, that’s all.”
After a string of top-10 finishes, Austin Dillon earned his second top-five effort of the season as he crossed the finish line in third, his best-ever at Martinsville Speedway. On the final restart of the night, Dillon spun his tires and lost ground to Logano and Byron.
“I’m a little bummed,” Dillon Said. “I like to pride myself in when we get in those situations being clutch, and that was anything but that on that last restart. I spun the tires pretty good through the gears. Once I got back in line there I had some grip, and I feel like we had good forward drive all night long and I just felt like if we got to the gears we were going to have a shot at him.
“But our Get Bioethanol Chevy was really fast. We’ve been working our tails off.”
Ryan Blaney and Ross Chastain finished fourth and fifth respectively. Rounding out the top-10 was Kurt Busch, Kyle Busch, Aric Almirola, Chase Briscoe and pole-sitter Chase Elliott.
Byron and Elliott led more than 98% of the race. Byron led a race high of 212 laps, and Elliott led 185 laps over the course of the 403-lap event. Elliott won both, Stages 1 and 2.
There were only four cautions, and the only wreck of the night is what sent the field into NASCAR Overtime.
The NASCAR Cup Series will visit Bristol Motor Speedway on Easter Sunday. The Food City Dirt Race will broadcast live on FOX and PRN on Sunday, April 17 at 7 p.m. ET.
Photo Credit: Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images