As We Predicted, Byron Takes Daytona 500, First Hendricks Win Since Dale Sr.’s Death

William Byron steered his No. 24 Chevrolet to a resounding victory at the 2024 Daytona 500, marking a triumphant start to Hendrick Motorsports’ 40th anniversary season.

Byron managed to fulfill the mission set before him, albeit the final lap was fraught with tension as he circled Daytona International Speedway under caution, the race outcome hanging in the balance.

Amid the suspense, Byron’s voice crackled over the radio with persistent queries: “Did we win it? Did we win it?”

It was the emotional response from crew chief Rudy Fugle that heralded Byron’s landmark achievement.

Reflecting on the moment, Byron recounted, “Well, no one told me. And Rudy was crying on the radio, so I was thinking, ‘I certainly hope those tears are of joy.'” It turned out Fugle’s emotions were indeed a testament to their collective triumph.

Eclipsing a nine-race Daytona 500 winless spell for Hendrick Motorsports, Byron’s success on Monday was a beacon of perseverance in a race beleaguered by weather delays. As he sailed past the white flag indicating the final lap, a chain-reaction collision unfolded in his wake, with the caution flag casting uncertainty on his victorious status until the final circuit was completed.

Byron, the Charlotte-born 26-year-old, has now etched his name as the sixth Hendrick Motorsports driver to secure a coveted Daytona 500 win. The last Hendrick driver to win the Daytona 500 was Dale Earnhardt Jr. in 2014. This victory is especially poignant as it occurred precisely 40 years after team owner Rick Hendrick celebrated his first win in the Cup series, further cementing his legacy as the most successful owner in NASCAR history.