William Byron lead flag to flag in stage one and won it in dominating fashion. After dominating in stage one, Byron would fade into the back half of the top 5 in Stage Two while Kyle Larson would flex his muscles in the second stage and continue to carry the flag for HMS. After an uneven second stage, everyone stopped for gas and tires. The stage was much of the same with Kyle Larson leading most of the way up till the last stop when a hard-charging Kevin Harvick would leapfrog both Larson and Byron and take the lead late in the going. However, much like last week with about 12 to go, everyone would come down pit road for one last stop. Larson and a handful of others took 2 tires and Harvick and the rest of the field took 4. On the restart, before overtime Larson would grab the lead but AJ Allmendinger and Noah Gragson would get together and slide up the track into Ty Gibbs who was riding the wall bringing out the caution. It triggered an overtime green white checker finish.
There, we would see Byron battle his teammate Larson for the win with Byron coming out with his second win in a row. Here is how the racers finished in the United Rentals Work United 500:
Overall, I thought this race was rather boring. All race long you couldn’t catch or pass anyone. As I said last week and want to elaborate on this week. The teams have the cars dialed in so well and the drivers are so talented that mistakes at mile-and-a-half tracks are rare at this point so that means that the only chance to make adjustments to the car is at the stage breaks. Because during green flag stops taking the time to shove a wrench in the back window. So you got what you got. Which doesn’t lend to a lot of great racing week in and week out.
Before I let you go this week I want to address the comments Denny Hamlin made on his podcast this week in regard to his action at the end of this week’s race at Phoenix. It saw Hamlin get in the 1 of Ross Chastain as they were battling in the closing laps for a top-ten finish. Hamlin went on to admit that he deliberately went into Chastain as payback for what’s transpired between the two since last summer at WWT Raceway. I understand wanting to pay a guy back for ruining your day. What I don’t like is Hamlin just letting go of the wheel (which he admitted to doing on the aforementioned podcast) because it puts the rest of the competition at risk. Plus, he gets to sit on his podcast and yuck it up with his buddy while the rest of the team is back at the shop having to deal with a damaged race car losing valuable time on other projects by having to deal with replacing or repairing this week’s car