William Byron won his second consecutive NASCAR Cup Series race, taking advantage of a pair of late warnings to give the Hendrick Motorsports team an overtime win at Phoenix Raceway on Sunday.
Byron’s No. 24 Chevrolet got off to a great start in overtime with two laps to go, and just as he did a week earlier in Las Vegas, he passed teammate Kyle Larson for the win. He also had to hold off Ryan Blaney who finished second while Tyler Reddick was third.
Byron denied Kevin Harvick a chance to win his 10th Phoenix race. Harvick’s No. 4 Stewart-Haas Ford passed Larson for the lead with 44 laps remaining, taking advantage of the long run under green flag conditions that favored his car all afternoon.
But a caution with 10 laps remaining ended Harvick’s hopes.
Several drivers changed just two tires at the next pit stop, but Harvick took four, dropping to seventh for the restart with three laps remaining. He finished fifth.
Another warning immediately after the restart sent the race into overtime.
Larson, whose No. 5 Chevrolet was fastest during Friday practice and also during Saturday’s qualifying, was fading after Harvick’s pass, but late cautions gave him a chance until Byron’s late push. Larson finished fourth.
Harvick was trying to become the sixth driver in Cup history to win 10 times at one track, an exclusive club that includes Richard Petty, Darrell Waltrip, Jimmie Johnson, Dale Earnhardt and David Pearson. The 47-year-old has said that this will be his last season.
Byron and Larson had the fastest cars for most of the race. It continued a dominating streak by the two Hendrick drivers, who were 1-2 for much of the Las Vegas race.
Byron won the first stage, leading 59 of the first 60 laps. Larson won the second stage.
Harvick’s attempt at a 10th win at Phoenix understandably garnered the most attention, but the race was also his 20th straight top-10 finish at the track. That streak dates back to 2013 and is the most consecutive top-10 finishes at one track in Cup history.