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William Byron Becomes First Repeat Winner in 2024 NASCAR Cup at COTA

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Byron Becomes 1st Repeat Winner in 2024 SeasonJonathan Bachman - Getty Images

William Byron became the first repeat winner of the 2024 NASCAR Cup Series Season with his dominant victory at Circuit of The Americas in Austin, Tex.

Byron led 42 of 68 laps after starting on the pole. The race ran with only the two mandatory stage break cautions as drivers gave it their all in the 3-hour race.

This was only the fourth time in the stage-break era that there were no cautions for on-track incidents.

Last year, the stage breaks were excluded from road course racing, but after both Walkins Glen and the Indianapolis Road Course ended with one singular caution, NASCAR brought the stage cautions back. This decision was made prior to the 2023 playoff race at the Roval at Charlotte Motor Speedway.

This race was the bounceback that Byron needed to stay a threat in the early season. Byron won The Great American Race to open the season but has had subpar performances since then. Over the last four rounds, he’s averaged a finishing position of 20th. While he’s been locked into the playoffs since his first victory when he entered this weekend, he sat 10th in points.

This was Byron’s 10th win in the Gen-7 car, the most of any current Cup driver. His only win in the series to come before the release of the Next Gen car was in the 2020 ALSCO Uniforms 500 at Charlotte Motor Speedway. This is Byron's second road course victory and first at COTA.

In the closing 10 laps, Byron had a secure lead in front of Ty Gibbs, but the treat was Christoper Bell, who was currently running fourth. Bell was substantially faster than the Hendrick driver but had to make it past Alex Bowman and Gibbs to put himself into a battling position.

Byron passed the first of two Hendrick cars that he needed, with six to go. He then got by Gibbs with less than three laps remaining and started to gap from the field in his hunt for Byron.

Bell needed Byron to slip up to allow him to make a pass and a big enough mistake wasn't in the cards.

"Once I got to him, it was going to be tough to pass him,” Bell told Fox Sports, “We just needed a couple of mistakes, and William has been really good on the road courses, and he was flawless where it mattered today.”

Oddly enough, Byron felt his final 10 laps were marred with small mistakes as he fought to keep his lead.

“I feel like I made a lot of mistakes in the last ten laps, just little micro errors,” Byron said to Fox Sports’ Jamie Little. “Christopher was really fast there on the longer run.”

At the white flag, Byron had a 2-second lead on Bell, and over the course of a full circuit, Bell was able to cut that down to less than a second at points before Byron pulled back out on the final straightaway.

Gibbs and Bowman were next across the line, and after a strong start, last year's COTA winner, Tyler Reddick, settled for fifth.

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