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Jeff Gordon: Byron “went to another level of being a superstar”

Gordon, who won four Cup titles and 93 races with Hendrick Motorsports, is now vice chairman of the organization and will one day run the organization alongside Jeff Andrews, the president and general manager, when team owner Rick Hendrick decides to step back.

The former star of HMS’ No. 24 was already impressed with the development of the car’s current driver, William Byron, but Gordon believes Byron’s victory in Monday’s rain-delayed Daytona 500 only cemented his status as an elite driver in the series.

“It’s so cool what this is going to do for this team, for all of our partners and William Byron,” Gordon said. “He was already a superstar. He just went to another level of being a superstar.

“I wasn’t driving the car, but I feel like I was making every lap with him out there. It’s just crazy to watch these guys do what they do and do it so well, and to watch them from this side of it, it makes me so happy, so proud.

“We’re going to celebrate. This is an amazing win, huge win.”

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Byron didn’t have the most dominant car in Monday’s race, but he made a timely charge to the front of the field following the final round of green flag pit stops.

After a massive late wreck, Byron bolted to the lead on a restart with four of 200 laps remaining. As he approached the white flag, signaling one lap remaining, Byron moved to block the oncoming charge of Ross Chastain.

Just as Byron reached the white flag, Chastain attempted to dive to the left of Byron to avoid a wreck and try to race him side-by-side but instead slammed into the No. 2 Ford of Austin Cindric.

That triggered another multi-car wreck and forced NASCAR to immediately display a caution, which froze the field and sealed Byron’s victory.

Not only was it Byron’s first 500 win but it also came on the day of Hendrick Motorsports’ 40th anniversary of its first Cup series race, which came in the 1984 500 with Geoffrey Bodine.

Team owner Rick Hendrick nearly shut the team’s doors seven races into the season, but Bodine won at Martinsville.

Now 302 Cup wins later – including nine Daytona victories – HMS remains firmly established as one of NASCAR’s top teams and a very happy owner.

“I’m telling you, you couldn’t write the script any better, 24 in (20)24. When we thought about coming down here the first time, we didn’t think we should be here, felt so out of place,” Hendrick said.

“We win this on our 40th to the day, so that’s awesome.”

Watch: William Byron wins Daytona 500 as cars crash coming to the line

This article was originally published by a www.motorsport.com . Read the Original article here. .

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