William Byron finishes 1st, preparing for upcoming race weekend at Daytona 

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No. 24 Car of William Byron. Byron won his fifth race at Watkins Glen International Speedway. Photo courtesy of Taurus Emerald.

The No. 24 car of racer, William Byron, crossed the finish line first to pick up his fifth win at today’s 25th NASCAR race of the season, Go Bowling at the Glen, held at Watkins Glen International, New York. 

Byron’s Chevy Camaro started second on the grid for this weekend’s race and passed the No. 11 Toyota Camry of Denny Hamlin to take the first-place position. Bryon led 63 out of 90 laps and crossed the checkered line ahead of the pack to be ranked No. 1 in the current playoff standings. 

Only two spots remain for the NASCAR postseason, putting the pressure on the drivers who do not have a bid to the playoffs, with only a couple more races for drivers to make it above the elimination line. 

No. 11 Hamlin, No. 24 Bryron, and No. 34 Michael Mcdowell started P1, P2, and P3 on the starting grid for the beginning of Sunday’s race. The drivers lead the race into lap 2 with a three-car breakaway, setting the pace for the remainder of the race. 

Today’s race consisted of 90 laps around a 2.45-mile track, with seven turns. Stages 1 & 2 of the race consisted of 20 laps, each, with the final stage equaling about 50. The multi-elevational road course length paralleled 220.5 miles driven altogether.

Last week’s winner Mcdowell started the race off strong by starting third and winning stage one. While in Stage 2, Hendrick Motorsports racer Bryon overtook front-runner Hamlin and relayed this momentum to the race’s final stage, where he took his fifth win of the season. 

Ty Gibbs finished fifth this race weekend in New York, tieing his best career finish. But he is still in danger of being disqualified from playoffs this season. The pressure is on Gibbs to produce results this upcoming weekend at the Daytona International Speedway. 

After this weekend in Watkins Glen, eight drivers stand below the elimination line, in danger of not making it to the postseason. Drivers No. 54 Gibbs, No. 99 Daniel Suarez, No. 16 AJ Allmendinger, No. 48 Alex Bowman, No. 9 Chase Elliot, No. 2 Austin Cindric, No. 31 Justin Haley, and No. 41 Ryan Preece, are all in danger of a short-end to their 2023 NASCAR season.

Bubba Wallace clenches onto his playoff eligibility this weekend, only 32 points from elimination. His team, 23XI Racing, hopes Wallace will drive his No. 23 Toyota Camry into another qualifying weekend. 

Next weekend the drivers take their second to last race before the kick start of playoffs, to the highly celebrated and most prestigious track, at the Daytona International Speedway, the racing capital often referred to as the “Superbowl” of NASCAR. Daytona is one of the most popular races that NASCAR holds. The track is known for its extreme speeds and sharp sloped turns. 

After a long regular season, racers return to Daytona, Florida, for the Racing Coke Zero 400 at the Daytona International Speedway. This upcoming race on the NASCAR calendar and the race results of next weekend will make or break it for the racers who are still in the hunt for playoffs.

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