“I Didn’t Breathe” – William Byron on How Hard He Fought to Stay in Playoff Contention

Published 09/20/2021, 10:42 AM EDT
Apr 10, 2021; Martinsville, Virginia, USA; NASCAR Cup Series driver William Byron (24) makes a pit stop during the Blue-Emu Maximum Pain Relief 500 at Martinsville Speedway. Mandatory Credit: Ryan Hunt-USA TODAY Sports


In the build-up to the Cup Series race at Bristol, William Byron was right on the elimination bubble. However, he managed to rally forward and sneak into the next round. He stormed up the order to finish in a fine third place, which rocketed him up to eigth place in the championship standings. In other words, he is safe from the elimination zone for a while.

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Speaking after the race, he said, “I just felt like ‘Man! We need to get the best result we can tonight’. All of a sudden, we’re in the Top 5 and competing for more spots. Just felt like we were really close to even winning the race. I was like, ‘Man! Now I’m really in the hunt for the win’. However, I had to be smart and aggressive to kind of hold off the guys behind me.

“Those last 50 laps, I didn’t breathe, so it’s pretty crazy.”

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William Byron talked about how it compared to his first win

In addition to that, the #24 driver spoke about how this result stacks up against his maiden Cup Series win. He confessed that his first win came in a similar manner when he fought in this race. As a result, William Byron has clubbed both races together in terms of their importance.

May 16, 2021; Dover, Delaware, USA; NASCAR Cup Series driver Kyle Larson (5) leads driver William Byron (24) and driver Kevin Harvick (4) off of pit road during the Drydene 400 at Dover International Speedway. Mandatory Credit: Matthew OHaren-USA TODAY Sports

In the end, this race in Bristol was a real battle for him. Now, he will be looking ahead to the coming race weekend at Las Vegas. The Vegas race marks the opening race of the second round of the Playoffs. He and teammate Alex Bowman barely squeaked through to this round. So, they know that they cannot afford any more mistakes. Byron is aware that the competition will be a lot tougher, so he needs to pull out all the stops.

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Dhruv George

12105 articles

Dhruv George is a senior Formula One and NASCAR analyst for EssentiallySports, having authored nearly 12000 articles spanning different sports like F1, NASCAR, Tennis, NFL, and eSports. He graduated with a PG Diploma in Journalism from the Xavier Institute of Communications. Dhruv has also conducted interviews with F1 driver Pierre Gasly and Moto2 rider Tony Arbolino.

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