William Byron Makes NASCAR Cup Series History at COTA

William Byron made NASCAR Cup Series history during a trip to Texas. He became the first driver to win the pole at four different road courses.

Byron achieved this feat on March 25 at Circuit of the Americas. He reached the second round of qualifying and then he posted the fastest lap at 130.76 seconds and 93.882 mph. This was his fourth pole win at the Charlotte Roval in 2019, Road America in 2021, and the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course in 2021.

Byron will now lead the field to the green flag for the first road course race without stage break cautions. Tyler Reddick will join him on the front row while continuing his streak of top-10 starts at the Texas road course. Reddick also won the pole for the inaugural Cup Series race at COTA in 2021.

These Starts Have Not Translated to Wins

GettyWilliam Byron (left) & Rick Hendrick (right) celebrate a win at Atlanta Motor Speedway.

Byron has achieved success in his short NASCAR career. He has six wins, including two in the first five weeks of the 2023 NASCAR Cup Series season. Though none have taken place on road courses.

Byron’s pole win at the Charlotte Roval was one of five times that he started from the front row. The driver of the No. 24 led 23 laps and secured points in the first two stages before finishing sixth overall in the important playoff race.

The other two road course races in which Byron started from the pole were not as successful. He finished 33rd at Road America after leading 15 laps and then he finished 33rd in the inaugural road course race at IMS after a piece of curb led to a massive incident that collected nine vehicles.

The Cup Series race at Circuit of the Americas provides Byron with another opportunity. He can pursue his third win of the season while snapping the streak associated with his road course pole wins.

Guest Drivers Had Varying Results During Qualifying

GettyJenson Button will start outside of the top 20 at COTA.

Byron continued his string of strong qualifying sessions at road courses, which set him up to pursue his seventh career win. Meanwhile, the guest drivers delivered varying results at Circuit of the Americas.

Jordan Taylor had the best performance of the guest drivers. He took over the No. 9 of Chase Elliott and secured a spot in the second round of qualifying. He then went out and posted the fourth-best lap at 131.754 seconds and 93.174 mph to secure a spot on the second row.

Kimi Raikkonen was the second-best of the guest drivers. He posted the 22nd-fastest lap, which put him next to Denny Hamlin on the 11th row. Jenson Button had the 24th-fastest lap while Conor Daly was the 35th-fastest.

Button’s starting position was not a surprise to the 2009 Formula One World Champion. He explained during a press conference on March 24 that he would not be contending for a pole win in his first-ever Cup Series qualifying session.

“I don’t expect to go out there and qualify top-three tomorrow, or to finish top-three on Sunday,” Button explained. “I expect a challenging race, but a race where I’m going to learn a lot as well.

“That’s why I wanted to do three races this year — one race isn’t enough. I need the experience of here at COTA, before I move to Chicago and lastly, Indianapolis. There’s no reason for me not to be competitive, but it just takes a bit of time.”

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