NASCAR Sports Update: William Byron grabs Daytona glory, Playoff field set (8/29/20) By: Josh Scott
Updated: Sep 1
William Byron held off teammate Chase Elliott by .119 seconds, in Overtime, to win the Coke Zero Sugar 400 at Daytona International Speedway on Saturday. The victory is Byron's first of 2020, as well as his first career win in the Cup Series. With this win, the Charlotte, NC native solidifies himself as one of the 16 drivers competing in NASCAR's 10-race playoff for the championship.
Denny Hamlin, who won the Daytona 500 in February, finished third, Martin Truex Jr fourth, and Darrell Wallace Jr fifth. Ryan Blaney, Alex Bowman, Brendan Gaughan, Chris Buescher, and Brad Keselowski rounded out the 10. With his fourth-place result, Truex Jr has finished in the top five in eight straight races. However, in 61 starts, he still has yet to capture a superspeedway victory at Daytona or Talladega.
Joey Logano, winner of both Stage One and Two, was involved in a lap-159 crash, the second of two massive wrecks in the race. The Middletown, CT native also led a race-high 36 laps.
Byron becomes the second driver in NASCAR history to ever win in the 24 car, next to Hall-of-Famer, and current NASCAR on FOX commentator, Jeff Gordon. Gordon won 93 races, with his last victory coming at Martinsville Speedway in 2015. Byron led a fitting 24 laps en route to his first-ever win.
While one driver at Hendrick Motorsports experienced the highest of highs under the Daytona lights, another was not so fortunate. Jimmie Johnson, like Logano, was also involved in the lap-159 "Big One" and sustained heavy damage to his number 48 Chevrolet. The seven-time champion limped home 17th and missed making the Playoffs by a mere six points. In his final season, Johnson will not be contending for a championship.
With the 26-race regular season coming to a close, the 2020 NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs have been set. The 16 drivers that will compete for the championship are listed as follows:
Veteran driver Kevin Harvick, who leads the playoff field with seven wins, makes his 10th straight postseason appearance. Cole Custer is the only rookie driver competing for the title. Kyle Busch, last year's champion, will look to go back-to-back for the first time in his career. Matt DiBenedetto, who rounds out the 16-driver field, makes his first playoff appearance.
The first playoff race takes place at Darlington Raceway next Sunday night. The "Track Too Tough To Tame" was the location of NASCAR's return to racing in May after the pandemic suspended the season for two months. The Cook Out Southern 500 starts at 6 p.m. next Sunday on NBCSN.