William Byron content with third at Texas after Ross Chastain incident: 'I dont want to do that to anyone'

FORT WORTH, Texas — There were no smiles for William Byron in Sunday’s AutoTrader EchoPark Automotive 400 at Texas Motor Speedway. Despite the fact that a third-place finish continued Byron’s hot streak with his third top-five finish in the last four NASCAR Cup Series races, two of which were wins, Byron couldn’t muster it.

The 24-year-old from Charlotte, North Carolina, face red from an exhausting, 276-lap race including a pair of overtime restarts, was all business as he climbed out of his No. 24 Liberty University Chevrolet. He took a few sips of water and immediately turned to answer the question he knew was coming.

MORE: Unofficial results

What happened on the backstretch of the white-flag lap, when his bump of Ross Chastain sent the No. 1 Worldwide Express Chevrolet spinning and brought out the race-ending caution?

“I don‘t want to do that to anyone,” Byron said. “But I was just far enough inside that that I was there. I had a run, and it‘s the last lap. We always race really well, so I don‘t want to do that to him. Unfortunately just kind of came together there.

“Nothing you can really do about that. It‘s just racing. I had a run, and I was there, and it happened.”

Chastain finished 32nd and declined to comment on the incident with Byron after he was cleared and released from Texas’ infield care center.

William Byron climbs out of his car after the NASCAR Cup Series race at Texas.
William Byron climbs out of his car after the NASCAR Cup Series race at Texas.

The incident with Chastain spoiled what otherwise might have been a relieving finish for Byron, who leaves Texas as the Cup Series playoff points leader. He started sixth and ran inside the top 10 for much of the event, but he and his team battled both a poor-handling race car and a treacherous track that sent multiple others spinning into the outside wall.

Still, Byron gained 36 points Sunday, the sixth-most in the field.

“We didn‘t have a great car,” he said. “But we‘ll keep working and improve and get better. Just didn‘t have what we needed. But we grinded and made something of it.”

Byron’s third-place run at Texas contributed to what’s become an impressive stretch for Hendrick Motorsports. Chase Elliott won the race, marking his first top-five finish at a 1.5-mile oval in the Next Gen car. Pole-sitter Kyle Larson was the driver to beat most of Sunday; he led a race-high 77 laps before a penalty for a detached wheel cost him two laps and ultimately pushed him to a 21st-place finish. Larson remains the Cup Series points leader despite his misfortune.

This all happened on the heels of Byron’s monumental win last week at Martinsville Speedway, his third victory over the first eight races of the season.

Byron acknowledged the overall positives he and his team will take from Texas, but his mind in the moments after climbing from his car left little room for joy.

He’ll save that for the next high point in what’s already been a memorable season for the No. 24 crew and Hendrick Motorsports.