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NASCAR Cup Charlotte

Byron needed "a little bit more" to beat Blaney at Charlotte

Despite a race filled with cautions and 31 lead changes Monday’s rain-delayed Coca-Cola 600 still boiled down to a battle between William Byron and Ryan Blaney.

William Byron, Hendrick Motorsports, Liberty University Patriotic Chevrolet Camaro, Ryan Blaney, Team Penske, BodyArmor Cherry Lime Ford Mustang

Photo by: Rusty Jarrett / NKP / Motorsport Images

Both Byron and Blaney had strong cars and never strayed far from the lead in Monday’s race.

While Blaney’s No. 12 Penske Ford may have had a bit more speed, Byron had the benefit of the No. 1 pit stall, thanks to qualifying getting rained out on Saturday.

Byron’s No. 24 Hendrick Motorsports pit crew took full advantage and repeatedly got him off pit road ahead of Blaney and the other contenders.

On a restart with 38 of 400 laps remaining, Byron easily reclaimed the lead with the help of four new tires. Blaney, however, got ahead of Byron when a caution came out for a wreck on Lap 375 to get scored as the leader.

Blaney then quickly grabbed control of the race on the restart with 20 laps to go and Byron wasn’t able to run him down before the finish.

“We just needed a little bit,” Byron, 25, said. “Really happy for Ryan. He really deserves it. He’s a good dude. Cool to see him get a win.

“We just needed a little bit. I felt like there were enough restarts for him to get back to the front. He had that one pit road where he lost a few spots, and it was kind of between us and (Kyle Larson)

“I knew if (Blaney) and (Tyler Reddick) were a little bit stronger than we were.”

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Byron has been on a roll of late.

He leads the NASCAR Cup Series in wins (three) and laps led (687) and hasn’t finished worse than seventh in the last five races.

“The car was great tonight. Just not quite good enough,” Byron said. “Really proud of the effort. Pit crew was phenomenal on pit road. Those guys are just high energy, and that pit stall helps.

“Just a credit to the few weeks before Darlington. Just proud of where our team is at. Just needed a little bit more.”

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