NASCAR: William Byron breaks under-the-radar record at Atlanta

William Byron, Hendrick Motorsports, Atlanta, NASCAR (Photo by Alex Slitz/Getty Images)
William Byron, Hendrick Motorsports, Atlanta, NASCAR (Photo by Alex Slitz/Getty Images) /

Following Sunday’s race at Atlanta Motor Speedway, William Byron is the new all-time winningest driver in the Next Gen era of NASCAR Cup Series competition.

After overcoming an early spin and pit lane penalty, Hendrick Motorsports’ William Byron found himself in the right place at the right time when rain started to fall on Sunday night at Atlanta Motor Speedway. NASCAR ultimately stopped the race and declared the driver of the No. 24 Chevrolet the winner.

Byron’s win in this rain-shortened 185-lap race around the four-turn, 1.54-mile (2.478-kilometer) Hampton, Georgia oval was is fourth of the season, the most among all drivers, and it shot him to the top of the point standings for the first time in his Cup Series career. It also shot him to the top of the all-time wins list in the Next Gen era.

NASCAR introduced the Next Gen car in 2022, one year after its planned 2021 launch due to the many COVID-19-related restrictions that were in place throughout the 2020 season.

Byron was one of nine drivers who won multiple races in the 2022 season. He had never won more than one race in a season before 2022. With four wins this season, he is one of two drivers who have multiple wins in both seasons of the Next Gen era, the other being teammate Kyle Larson.

Prior to Sunday’s Quaker State 400 Presented by Walmart at Atlanta Motor Speedway, Byron was in a four-way tie atop the Next Gen wins list through 54 races. He was tied with Larson, teammate Chase Elliott, and Team Penske’s Joey Logano.

Now William Byron stands alone as the first driver to win six NASCAR Cup Series races in the Next Gen car.

Just how much has the Next Gen car “leveled the playing field”, per se? Through the first 55 races of the Next Gen era, 23 drivers have found victory lane. Just 11 of those 23 drivers have won more than once, and only one driver, Byron, has won more than 10% of the races.

Elliott won a series-high five races last season, but he is winless this season, though he has missed seven of the first 19 races.

The 2022 season saw 19 different winners, and the 2023 season has already seen 12, including four who did not win at all a year ago — and one who had never competed in a race before two weeks ago, that being three-time Australian Supercars champion Shane van Gisbergen, who won the inaugural Chicago street race in Trackhouse Racing Team’s PROJECT91 entry.

Byron is listed as the second favorite to win the 2023 NASCAR Cup Series championship at FanDuel Sportsbook, which is now offering fans an instant $200 just for signing up and betting $20. His odds are listed at +700.

Odds and availability are subject to change, so lock in your $200 now!

Next. All-time NASCAR Cup Series wins list. dark

Can Byron earn a seventh Next Gen victory at New Hampshire Motor Speedway this coming Sunday afternoon? The Crayon 301 is scheduled to be broadcast live on USA Network starting at 2:30 p.m. ET. Start a free trial of FuboTV now and don’t miss it!