Byron’s strong effort falls short

KANSAS CITY, KANSAS - OCTOBER 20: William Byron, driver of the #24 UniFirst Chevrolet, races Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Jimmy John's 3 Dollar Little John Ford, during the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Hollywood Casino 400 at Kansas Speedway on October 20, 2019 in Kansas City, Kansas. (Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images)

For most of Sunday’s Hollywood Casino 400 at Kansas Speedway, William Byron kept his No. 24 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet in or near the top five.

Byron finished fifth, but a top five wasn’t good enough. Realistically, the 21-year-old sophomore driver needed a victory to advance to the Round of 8 in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs.

Byron finished the Round of 12 in 10th place, 16 points behind teammate Chase Elliott, who edged Brad Keselowski for the final berth in the next-to-last round.

“Yeah, it’s just a bummer,” Byron said. “But we had a great run today, and we can take pride in that, for sure. We had a great car, one of the best cars we’ve had on a 1.5-mile track. It was fun, but we just needed to win, and we couldn’t do that.

“But it is what it is. It was a great day for us overall. We’ll move on to the next couple of weeks and keep fighting. If we can go out and win, that’s all that really matters now.”

Byron is still looking for his first victory at the Cup level.

Greg Engle