The week started with news of Chase Elliott’s leg injury and the subsequent confusion regarding replacement drivers. But any questions of the teams ability to overcome adversity went quickly out the window, as the first stages were dominated by Kyle Larson and William Byron.
Byron came in 1st for both stages with Kyle in the 5 right behind him. The pair pulled away from the pack any several occasions and spent a good chunk of the race not under any threat.
By the end of stage two Alex Bowman had caught up with his teammates and would stay up towards the front with them the rest of the race. Larson had a 2 second lead and appeared to be the winner before on lap 267 the race was turned on it’s head.
While Martin Truex briefly took the lead after deciding to stay out, the moves that would ultimately decide the race were happening on pit road. Despite the 5 team having one of the best late race stops ever, for the championship in 2021. It was Byron in the 24 that came out of pit road first, just slightly ahead of Larson.
On fresh tires, the three full time Hendrick Motorsports drivers did not have to fight hard to re-take the lead. Byron pulling away first to collect his 5th career victory and the organizations third 1-2-3 finish.
Huge congratulations to all members of the teams for an astonishing race, and best wishes for Chase Elliott’s recovery. He and team owner Rick Hendrick watched the race from South Carolina. One can only imagine how busy those phone lines were.