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NASCAR Cup Series

Byron Survives Daytona for First Career Win and Spot in Playoffs

Associated Press

William Byron persevered through a number of monumental wrecks to claim his first NASCAR Cup Series Victory and Championship Playoff bid in overtime Saturday at the World Center of Racing.


NASCAR Cup Series 26th race of the Seasons wraps the 2020 NASCAR Cup regular points season Saturday night under the lights at the Daytona International Speedway. In continuation with Pandemic and the state Florida restrictions, a limited amount of spectators were allowed to view event in stands.

This event marks the last chance for many race team to contend for three final playoff spots. Drivers questing for the final playoff spots William Byron, Jimmie Johnson and Matt DiBenedetto intensify their driving skills to gain Stage points over their adversaries.

Coke Zero Sugar 400 – Stage 1 recap:

The Coke Zero Sugar 400 at Daytona’ Green flag waved as Joey Logano bumps drafts Kevin Harvick to the initial lead before Martin Truex Jr. and Brad Keselowski gathers the top line even with the bottom line.

The competition caution fly’s after 20 green flag laps. William Byron leads with his Hendrick Motorsports teammate Alex Bowman in second.

Restart on Lap 25, William Byron secures the lead with teammate Alex Bowman 2nd in line.

Joey Logano holds off a charging Tyler Reddick and Erik Jones for the Stage 1 checkers.

Coke Zero Sugar 400 – Stage 1 Results

  1. Joey Logano
  2. Erik Jones
  3. Tyler Reddick
  4. Ryan Blaney
  5. Jimmie Johnson
  6. Christopher Bell
  7. William Byron
  8. Michael McDowell
  9. Denny Hamlin
  10. Kyle Bush

Coke Zero Sugar 400 – Stage 2  recap:

As Stage 2 green flag fly’s, Erik Jones is bolted to the lead in the outside lane with aid from Jimmie Johnson and Kurt Busch on lap 56.

Lap 81 arrives and the race can be considered official at the halfway point. Daniel Suarez is out front after a round of green-flag pit stops.

Racing gets dicey in the final segment of the stage as Clint Bowyer and Jimmie Johnson tangle up for position allowing Joey Logano to cruise to his 2nd Stage win of the day and 6th Stage win of the season.

Logano led race-high 36 circuits of the scheduled 164-lap race finishing finish a disappointing 27th place after involved in a muti-car mayhem late in race.

Coke Zero Sugar 400 – Stage 2  Results

  1. Joey Logano
  2. Martin Truex Jr.
  3. Clint Bowyer
  4. Kurt Bush
  5. Jimmie Johnson
  6. Brad Keselowski
  7. Matt DiBenedetto
  8. Ricky Stenhouse
  9. Ryan Blaney

10.Christopher Bell

Stage 3 green flag begins with 55 laps to go as Martin Truex Jr. jumps out to  secure the lead.

Kyle Busch reclaims the lead from teammate Martin Truex Jr. as Jimmie Johnson, who was running third, gets shuffled to the back of the pack on the outside.

Green flag pit stops with 35 laps to go and teams stratify for pit service. The Chevys and Toyotas pit a lap apart, but the Fords stay out and end up pitting with 29 laps to go.

Kyle Busch recycles to the front after green flag pit stops, Still 26 laps to go.

Teammates Jimmie Johnson and William Byron pit under caution with 15 laps to go while Matt DiBenedetto stays out. The Hendrick drivers received fresh tires while DiBenedetto relayed to his race team that he intended to stay out to keep his track position.

10 laps remaining in the Coke Zero 400, Kyle Busch still leads until the Big One.

Less than ten laps remaining, Tyler Reddick attempts to make a move on race leader Kyle Busch.

Reddick pounds the outside barrier wall while trying to slide in front of the No. 18 and creates a massive domino crash.

Kyle Busch, Kurt Busch, Austin Dillon, Michael McDowell, Martin Truex Jr., Ricky Stenhouse Jr., Erik Jones, Ryan Newman and Ryan Preece are some of the players involved.

Additionally, all three playoff bubble drivers get through the crash.

The Red flag adores the track as track’s crew clean up carnage.

Green flag-restart with five laps to go, Joey Logano pushes Denny Hamlin to the lead in the outside lane.

Lap 159 at Daytona will go down as one of the season’s most decisive moments. 

With Denny Hamlin leading, Logano made a move to the inside to grab first place while Bubba Wallace went to the outside for position. Hamlin was too active fighting off the No. 22 car to notice Wallace approaching.  This event led to a brief moment when contenders for the win, drove four wide into a turn.  This action boxed-in Logano and kicked off the big one by spiraling Logano back into the pack and knocking out 13 cars, including Johnson

While  Jimmie Johnson took on severe damage to his car, his team fiercely attended the Hendrick Chevy.  The 44-year-old successfully made it back out onto the track but had no contentions or chance for a positive outcome. Unfortunately, Jimmie Johnson will enter retirement without a chance to win an eighth Cup Series championship.

William Byron’s aggressive petal reclaimed him the point,  holding onto the lead for the final two laps. 

Byron received a late push from teammate Chase Elliott coming to the checkered flag to secure the win by 0.119 seconds over his allies.

Coke Zero Sugar 400Race Results

Race Results
1st – William Byron
2nd – Chase Elliott
3rd – Denny Hamlin
4th – Martin Truex Jr.
5th – Bubba Wallace
6th – Ryan Blaney
7th – Alex Bowman
8th – Brendan Gaughan
9th – Chris Buescher
10th – Brad Keselowski
11th – John Hunter Nemechek
12th – Matt DiBenedetto
13th – Christopher Bell
14th – Michael McDowell
15th – Brennan Poole
16th – Ross Chastain
17th – Jimmie Johnson
18th – Aric Almirola
19th – Clint Bowyer
20th – Kevin Harvick

21st – Corey LaJoie
22nd – Ty Dillon
23rd – Quin Houff
24th – Timmy Hill
25th – Austin Dillon
26th – Daniel Suarez
27th – Joey Logano
28th – Matt Kenseth
29th – Tyler Reddick
30th – Cole Custer
31st – Joey Gase
32nd – Ricky Stenhouse Jr.
33rd – Kyle Busch
34th – Kurt Busch
35th – Erik Jones
36th – Ryan Newman
37th – Ryan Preece
38th – Josh Bilicki
39th – James Davison
40th – J.J Yeley

Notables: 12. Matt DiBenedetto, 17. Jimmie Johnson, 19. Clint Boyer, 20. Kevin Harvick, 27. Joey Logano, 33. Kyle Busch

The first incident-related caution flag period did not begin until lap 144, but by the end of the race, 15 of the 40 drivers who competed in it failed to finish as a result of several late multi-car wrecks.

Of the 25 drivers who did finish, 20 finished on the lead lap.

There were 35 lead changes among 16 drivers, 40% of the field, the most at Daytona International Speedway since the 2017 Daytona 500.

NASCAR Cup Series Championship standings following Saturdays Coke Zero Sugar 400 Results

NOTE: * = drivers who have locked themselves into the playoffs via wins.

Rank – Driver: Points (Behind), (Wins/Playoff Points OR +/- cut line)

1st* – Kevin Harvick: 1058 (0), (7 WINS/42 PP)
2nd* – Denny Hamlin: 943 (-115), (6 WINS/37 PP)
3rd* – Brad Keselowski: 913 (-145), (3 WINS/21 PP)
4th* – Martin Truex Jr.: 887 (-171), (1 WIN/7 PP)
5th* – Joey Logano: 866 (-192), (2 WINS/16 PP)
6th* – Ryan Blaney: 858 (-200), (1 WIN/8 PP)
7th* – Chase Elliott: 844 (-214), (2 WINS/16 PP)
8th – Aric Almirola: 759 (-299), (+99)
9th – Kyle Busch: 724 (-334), (+64)
10th – Clint Bowyer: 711 (-347), (+51)
11th – Kurt Busch: 710 (-348), (+50)
12th* – Alex Bowman: 692 (-366), (1 WIN/9 PP)
13th* – William Byron: 676 (-382), (1 WIN/7 PP)
14th – Matt DiBenedetto: 666 (-392), (+6)


15th – Jimmie Johnson: 660 (-398), (-6)
16th – Erik Jones: 593 (-465), (-73)
17th – Tyler Reddick: 579 (-479), (-87)
18th* – Austin Dillon: 573 (-485), (1 WIN/5 PP)
19th – Christopher Bell: 486 (-572), (-180)
20th – Chris Buescher: 477 (-581), (-189)
21st* – Cole Custer: 476 (-582), (1 WIN/5 PP)
22nd – Bubba Wallace: 470 (-588), (-196)
23rd – Michael McDowell: 452 (-606), (-214)
24th – Ricky Stenhouse Jr.: 434 (-624), (-232)
25th – John Hunter Nemechek: 399 (-659), (-267)
26th – Ryan Newman: 388 (-670), (-278)
27th – Ty Dillon: 384 (-674), (-282)
28th – Matt Kenseth: 372 (-686), (-294)
29th – Corey LaJoie: 325 (-733), (-341)
30th – Ryan Preece: 293 (-765), (-373)
31st – Daniel Suarez: 275 (-783), (-391)
32nd – Brennan Poole: 193 (-865), (-473)
33rd – Quin Houff: 146 (-912), (-520)

Kevin Harvick, the regular season champion, occupies the top seed with a seven win season and takes a 10-point advantage into the Playoffs over six-race winner Denny Hamlin. With his victory, William Byron advances to a ninth-place seeding, while Matt DiBenedetto fills the final and his first ever Playoff birth at 16th.

NASCAR Series point standings to open up the Championship 10 race playoffs

Rank – Driver: Points (Behind), (Wins/Playoff Points), (+/- cut line)
1st – Kevin Harvick: 2057 (0), (7 WINS/57 PP), (+53)
2nd – Denny Hamlin: 2047 (-10), (6 WINS/47 PP), (+43)
3rd – Brad Keselowski: 2029 (-28), (3 WINS/29 PP), (+25)
4th – Joey Logano: 2022 (-35), (2 WINS/22 PP), (+18)
5th – Chase Elliott: 2020 (-37), (2 WINS/20 PP), (+16)
6th – Martin Truex Jr.: 2014 (-43), (1 WIN/14 PP), (+10)
7th – Ryan Blaney: 2013 (-44), (1 WIN/13 PP), (+9)
8th – Alex Bowman: 2009 (-48), (1 WIN/9 PP), (+5)
9th – William Byron: 2007 (-50), (1 WIN/7 PP), (+3)
10th – Aric Almirola: 2005 (-52), (0 WINS/5 PP), (+1)
10th – Austin Dillon: 2005 (-52), (1 WIN/5 PP,) (+1)
10th – Cole Custer: 2005 (-52), (1 WIN/5 PP), (+1)

————ROUND OF 12 CUT LINE————
13th – Clint Bowyer: 2004 (-53), (0 WINS/4 PP), ( -1)
14th – Kyle Busch: 2003 (-54), (0 WINS/3 PP), ( -2)
15th – Kurt Busch: 2001 (-56), (0 WINS/1 PP), (-4)
16th – Matt DiBenedetto: 2000 (-57), (0 WINS/0 PP), (-5)

The 10-race NASCAR Cup Series Championship Playoffs begin next Sunday with the Cook Out Southern 500 at Darlington (S.C.) Raceway (6 p.m. ET on NBCSN, MRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio).

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