RACE REPORT: William Byron Wins the United Rentals 500 at Pheonix Raceway
12 March 2023
By Bob Francis, Managing Editor
Go Full Throttle Racing News
AVONDALE, ARIZONA — MARCH 12: William Byron, driver of the No.24 Hendrick Motorsports Valvoline Chevrolet, won the NASCAR Cup Series United Rentals Work United 500 today at Phoenix Raceway. One week after capturing his first victory of 2023 on a late restart at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, William Byron goes back-2-back in NASCAR Overtime, earning his 2nd straight win and all but assuring a playoff berth.
Byron was the frontrunner early, leading the lion’s share of opening laps and winning Stage 1 after an early pass of teammate and polesitter Kyle Larson. Larson battled back in search of his first win this season after a heartbreaking finish last week, dominating much of the afternoon en route to a race-high 201 laps led of 317 circuits. Larson faded toward the end of the long run, overtaken by Harvick before a caution set up the dramatic finish.
Then-race leader Kevin Harvick was pulling away in the closing laps before the yellow flag waved on Lap 302 for a Harrison Burton spin that brought out a caution and pit stops. Harvick’s crew chief Rodney Childers elected for four fresh Goodyear tires, while many at the front changed right-side tires only, giving them the time advantage on pit road. Despite a solid effort, Harvick finished in fifth, leading 36 laps on the afternoon and extending his record top-10 streak to 20 consecutive at Phoenix.
Sandwiched between Hendrick Motorsports teammates Byron and fourth-place finisher Larson were Ryan Blaney and Tyler Reddick, who surged late to each earn their best finish to this point in the 2023 campaign. Christopher Bell, Chase Briscoe, Kyle Busch, Alex Bowman and Josh Berry (filling in for Chase Elliott) rounded out the top 10.
Bowman has finished in the top 10 in each of the season’s first four races.
Phoenix concludes the early season West Coast swing, leading up to next weekend’s Ambetter Health 400 (3 p.m. ET, FOX, PRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio) at Atlanta Motor Speedway on March 19. Byron is the defending spring race winner and inaugural winner on the reconfigured and repaved Atlanta layout.
*NASCAR Wire Service contributed to this report.