NASCAR 2024 EchoPark Grand Prix highlights and results: Byron wins at COTA

Take a look back at our coverage of the 2024 EchoPark Automotive Grand Prix from the Circuit of the Americas as William Byron returned to Victory Lane

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William Byron became the first repeat winner of the 2024 NASCAR season with an impressive victory at the Circuit of the Americas from Christopher Bell and Ty Gibbs.

Pole-sitter Byron led the majority of the race and executed the perfect three-stop strategy, handing the lead away before the end of Stages 1 and 2.

Crucially, Byron overtook Ross Chastain for the lead in the final stage before the last round of pit stops and his Trackhouse Racing crew nailed the last stop to give him a cushion over the rest of the field.

Bell overtook Gibbs with three laps to go for second place at the end of the backstraight into Turn 12 but couldn’t close down the three-second deficit to Byron, who bounced back from a disappointing result in Bristol last week.

Alex Bowman came home in fourth place with Tyler Reddick in fifth, A.J. Allmendinger in sixth, Chastain in seventh and Chris Buescher in eighth.

Former NASCAR Cup Series champions Kyle Busch and Martin Truex Jr rounded out the top 10 in a rare caution-free race.

Follow how the EcoPark Automotive Grand Prix unfolded in Austin with our Total-Motorsport blog below.

2024 NASCAR at Circuit of the Americas – How it happened

Chequered flag: William Byron wins the EcoPark Automotive Grand Prix

In a dominant showing from start to finish, William Byron scores his second win of the 2024 season after kicking off the year with a Daytona 500 victory. From the pole, Byron led 42 of 68 laps.

The win is Hendrick Motorsports’ 28th at a road course and second at Circuit of the Americas after Chase Elliott won the inaugural edition in 2021.

  1. (24) William Byron, Chevrolet
  2. (20) Christopher Bell, Toyota
  3. (54) Ty Gibbs, Toyota
  4. (48) Alex Bowman, Chevrolet
  5. (45) Tyler Reddick, Toyota
  6. (13) A.J. Allmendinger, Chevrolet
  7. (1) Ross Chastain, Chevrolet
  8. (17) Chris Buescher, Ford
  9. (8) Kyle Busch, Chevrolet
  10. (19) Martin Truex Jr., Toyota

Lap 66/68: Bell takes second from Gibbs

Bell moves past his JGR team-mate Gibbs for second with less than three laps to go. Still 2.5 seconds back, however, Bell might have to settle for a runner-up finish.

Lap 63/68: Byron in cruise control

With five laps to go, Byron leads Gibbs by over 3.5 seconds. Barring a caution or catastrophe, he is well on his way to his second win of the year and second on a road course after Watkins Glen last year.

Lap 54/68: Elliott spins

Chase Elliott spins in Turn 8, adding insult to an already tumultuous day. He was running 11th after having to claw his way back from outside the top 20 after serving his penalty.

McDowell narrowly avoids hitting him but gets on the brakes in time.

Lap 51/68: Truex pits, Byron back on top

Martin Truex Jr. pits from the lead, which he inherited after his JGR colleague Bell did the same from Byron. However, with JGR’s performance taking a bit of a dive in Stage 3, Byron cycles back to the lead and looks nigh unstoppable with Hendrick ally Alex Bowman two seconds back and Gibbs nearly five seconds behind.

Lap 45/68: Leaders pit

In what should be the final pit stop barring a turn of events, Byron and Chastain head to the pits for a round of fuel. Chastain was told by his team to emulate Byron’s strategy, only pitting should his fellow Chevrolet driver do the same.

Meanwhile, Byron’s Hendrick Motorsports team-mate Chase Elliott will have to pit a second time for fuel. He was penalised for exceeding track limits, and was not allowed to refuel while serving the penalty. Elliott’s team protested the ruling as his car being loose and causing it to slide off course, but NASCAR upheld it in the end.

Lap 43/68: Byron regains the lead

Byron is back on top after a crossover move on Chastain that the latter is unable to prevent. However, with less than 25 laps remaining and fuel getting low, pit strategy will likely be what determines the winner.

Lap 41/68: Busch, Blaney get spun in Turn 1

In a clash of drivers with names that start with the letter B, Bubba Wallace spins Ryan Blaney in the first corner. Moments later, Christopher Bell does the same to his former JGR comrade Kyle Busch.

Busch falls out of the top ten after the contact.

Lap 34/68: Chaos unfolds at the front as Stage 3 begins

A critical error for Byron sends him wide into Turn 1 on the start and Ross Chastain capitalises to take the lead. Gibbs follows Chastain and moves past Byron for second.

Lap 31/68: Pit stops underway

Unlike Bell between Stages 1 and 2, Hamlin leads the field onto pit road here. With tyre attrition not much of an issue so far, some like Larson have opted to take fuel only on this stop.

McDowell has the hood up on his car due to a steering rack issue that’s resulted in him losing power steering for much of Stage 2.

Lap 30/68: Hamlin wins Stage 2

Despite Ryan Blaney tailing him by less than a second, Hamlin cruises to the Stage 2 win with ease. Since he already has a race win, he can afford to rack up playoff points here to bolster his standing when the postseason begins in September. It’s his first stage win of 2024.

  1. (11) Denny Hamlin, Toyota
  2. ⁠(12) Ryan Blaney, Ford
  3. ⁠(19) Martin Truex Jr., toyota
  4. ⁠(38) Todd Gilliland, Ford
  5. ⁠(41) Ryan Preece, Ford
  6. ⁠(6) Brad Keselowski, Ford
  7. ⁠(42) John Hunter Nemechek, Toyota
  8. ⁠(24) William Byron, Chevrolet
  9. ⁠(31) Daniel Hemric, Chevrolet
  10. ⁠(4) Josh Berry, Ford

Lap 28/60: Byron pits from the lead

With three laps until the end of Stage 2, Byron continues with the popular formula of pitting beforehand. With so much of a gap on the field before he pitted, he stays in the top ten even after his stop.

Last week’s winner Denny Hamlin picks up the lead and plans to go for the stage points.

Lap 26/58: International stars bitten by trouble

Like at Indianapolis last year, Kamui Kobayashi and Ricky Stenhouse Jr. tangle yet again. This time, Stenhouse tried to move Kobayashi aside by bumping him twice, turning him only to get clipped by the sideways Kobayashi.

From another Pacific country, van Gisbergen gets busted for speeding on pit road and will have to serve a penalty.

Lap 24/68: McDowell and Bell pit

Staying out for both the end of Stage 1 and during the stage break blew up in McDowell’s face as he quickly fell out of the top ten. Running 11th, he finally pitted for tyres and fuel on Lap 23.

Bell, running fifth after his contact with Larson, follows suit a lap later.

Lap 20/68: Wallace, Larson, Preece spin

Bubba Wallace gets turned by Brad Keselowski. Road courses have never been Wallace’s forte, but COTA in particular has been a nightmare for him since the Cup Series began racing here in 2021 – he has yet to finish a race in Austin with his best finish being a mere 37th in 2023.

The same fate also befell Ryan Preece and Kyle Larson. Preece was hit by Corey LaJoie, while Bell got into Larson’s rear.

Lap 19/68: Stage 2 begins

After staying out Bell and McDowell lead the field back to the green flag. Bell holds his position through the sharp left hand Turn 1.

McDowell was not as lucky and ran slightly wide, and Byron and Reddick take advantage to pass him.

Lap 18/68: Pit stops begin but Bell stays out

While many would have expected Bell to pit between stages after staying out at the end of Stage 1, tyre wear has been so minimal so far that crew chief Adam Stevens is ordering him to not pit during this caution.

McDowell is also planning to operate on the same strategy, meaning he and Bell will focus on fuel-only stops as Stage 2 progresses.

Lap 15/68: Bell wins Stage 1

With everyone pitting except for him, Bell takes the opening stage win. Although he only assumed the lead after Byron pitted, he is running a solid race so far and was third prior to the pit cycle.

  1. (20) Christopher Bell, Toyota
  2. ⁠(99) Daniel Suarez, Chevrolet
  3. ⁠(34) Michael McDowell, Ford
  4. ⁠(2) Austin Cindric, Ford
  5. ⁠(3) Austin Dillon, Chevrolet
  6. ⁠(47) Ricky Stenhouse Jr., Chevrolet
  7. ⁠(24) William Byron, Chevrolet
  8. ⁠(54) Ty Gibbs, Toyota
  9. ⁠(45) Tyler Reddick, Toyota
  10. ⁠(1) Ross Chastain, Chevrolet

Lap 14/68: Byron pits, surrenders lead and stage win

Byron has opted to pit with two stages remaining, sacrificing the Stage 1 win in favour of staying out during the break. Gibbs does the same and gives up second.

Bell inherits the lead and is expected to win the stage with plenty of ground on everyone else. Daniel Suarez runs behind him, albeit over 27 seconds back.

Lap 13/68: Cars pit before the stage break

Some cars are opting to pit now so they won’t have to do it during the caution between stages.

The Fords all pitted together to start on Lap 12, followed by everyone else a lap later. Chase Briscoe uses his stop to serve a penalty for track limit extension.

Lap 7/68: Gibbs retakes second

Battle of the Monster Energy Toyotas for the runner-up spot. After losing the spot at the start, Gibbs has passed Reddick for second.

Byron still leads by 3.5 seconds.

Lap 5/68: Nemechek penalised for short cutting

John Hunter Nemechek is the first driver today to receive a black flag with a white cross for exceeding track limits after cutting through the esses. He will have to serve a pass-through penalty.

Lap 2/68: Early contact already

Didn’t take long for there to be some body damage. Bubba Wallace and Corey LaJoie collided during the first lap, forcing the former to come to pit already. Toyota colleague Martin Truex Jr. has also made an unscheduled pit stop for what he believes is a tyre going down.

Harrison Burton spins in Turn 10 but no caution.

Lap 1/68: Green flag!

We’re underway!

Reddick gets a great start to take second from his fellow Toyota Gibbs while Byron leads through the opening corner.

Track limits a topic of debate

Unlike other disciplines that race here like F1, NASCAR is unusually lenient when enforcing track limits, allowing drivers significantly more leeway when they go off course. However, they decided to clamp down slightly more during Saturday’s Xfinity and Truck races, which respectively had 17 and 20 penalties for exceeding them; Xfinity driver Brandon Jones even lost a stage win for violating them.

With the Cup Series being a more prestigious series and using a car more built for road racing, NASCAR will surely hope they won’t have to be as strict on them as they did yesterday.

A track limit extension is defined as all four tyres being on the non-track side of the red-and-white rumble strips. They will be enforced along the esses from Turns 3 through 6.

30 minutes to start

The first road course race of the NASCAR season is set to begin. William Byron starts on the pole alongside Ty Gibbs, the latter in the hunt for his first Cup win and always a threat on road courses. Defending winner Tyler Reddick starts behind both of them in third.

Other notable road racing aces include Supercars star-turned-Xfinity Series regular Shane van Gisbergen, who starts 12th, and ex-F1 driver and sports car legend Kamui Kobayashi, starting 25th. SVG is 2-for-2 in top-ten finishes in the Cup Series and dominated the Xfinity race here on Saturday before last-lap carnage took him out, while Kobayashi finished 33rd in his NASCAR début at Indianapolis last year.

Chris Buescher (steering rack) and Ryan Preece (valve springs) will start at the rear for unapproved adjustments.

What time does the 2024 start?

The race is scheduled to begin at 3.30pm ET (7.30pm UK) at the Circuit of the Americas and following the pre-race ceremonies, the green flag is expected around 4pm ET (8pm UK).

Where to watch 2024 NASCAR at Circuit of the Americas on TV

FOX will be broadcasting NASCAR at Circuit of the Americas live, allowing viewers to experience the excitement from the comfort of their homes. FOX has been a long-standing partner of NASCAR, providing comprehensive coverage of its events, including the Circuit of the Americas race. Ensure your cable package includes FOX to not miss out on the live action.

Where to watch 2024 NASCAR at Circuit of the Americas on Streaming

For those who prefer streaming, the race will also be available on various platforms. While specific streaming services offering live coverage for NASCAR events are typically accessible through platforms like FOX Sports AppfuboTV (which offers a free trial), and other services that carry FOX. These options provide flexibility for fans to watch the race live on different devices, including smartphones, tablets, and smart TVs.

Where to listen to 2024 NASCAR at Circuit of the Americas on Radio

If you’re on the move, the Motor Racing Network (MRN) and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio will offer live radio broadcasts of NASCAR at Circuit of the Americas. These platforms are perfect for fans who prefer listening to the race’s live commentary while driving or unable to watch the TV broadcast.

Justin Nguyen
Justin Nguyen is Total-Motorsport.com's resident NASCAR aficionado and is also the off-road reporter for The Checkered Flag.
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