William Byron wins the NASCAR Cup Series race at Phoenix Raceway

Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images

William Byron, who received a second chance at victory with a late-race warning flag, won Sunday’s 312-mile NASCAR Cup Series race at Phoenix Raceway, earning his second straight victory.

Byron’s team used a two-tire pitstop to get the Chevrolet driver back onto the track in front row, putting him ahead of Kevin Harvick, who appeared to be cruising to victory before warnings clustered in the final miles and lead to overtime. .

Byron and Hendrick Motorsports teammate Kyle Larson could barely be touched up front throughout the afternoon until Harvick drove under Larson to take the lead with 44 laps to go. Harvick steadily increased the lead as his car was generally stronger over longer distances.

Harvick had a four-second lead over Larson with 11 laps to go when Harrison Burton pulled out a warning with a slide and forward spin, stacking the field for a restart. Green flew with four laps to go, but another warning flew quickly as AJ Allmendinger, Ty Gibbs and Noah Gragson crashed near the back of the field. That sent the race into overtime, with Larson and Byron in the lead.

Byron passed Larson on the restart of the two-lap overtime and was unchallenged on the final lap.

Josh Berry, replacing the injured Chase Elliott, finished 10th as all four Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolets were in the top 10. Chevrolet have won all four Cup races this year.

The race featured the debut of NASCAR’s new short track package, designed to reduce downforce and improve competition. The changes generally made the cars less stable on Sunday, but there was little competition near the front except on restarts and late in the race.

Larson took the second leg, taking command of the race from Byron. Larson finished ahead of Byron, Harvick, Brad Keselowski and Tyler Reddick.

After two stages, Larson had led 121 laps to 62 for Byron. The only other drivers who had led to this point were Ross Chastain and Keselowski, who had led one lap apiece.

Byron was head and shoulders above the rest of the field on Stage 1, leading 59 of 60 laps. Larson, Christopher Bell, Denny Hamlin and Reddick followed in the top five.

Stage 1 winner: William Byron

Stage 2 winner: Kyle Larson

Who had a good race: Kevin Harvick showed the strength he had in Phoenix for much of his career. … Hendrick’s teammates William Byron and Kyle Larson were pivotal for the first two-thirds of the race. …Brad Keselowski raced in the top 10 most of the day and showed RFK Racing’s continued growth.

Who had a bad race: Aric Almirola was handed a two-lap penalty near the halfway mark when a wheel came off his car.

Following: The Cup Series moves to Atlanta Motor Speedway on March 19 (Fox, 3 p.m. ET).

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