William Byron took control in the final stage to win Sunday’s NASCAR Cup Series race at Homestead-Miami Speedway.
MORE: Miami Cup race results
After winning the second stage in a one-lap shootout, Byron led 99 of the final stage’s 107 laps on his way to earning his second career Cup win. He led a race-high 102 laps.
“You had to go with the wall at certain times; (Turns) 3 and 4 were really fast up there,” Byron told Fox after the race. “I definitely didn’t do it as good as the Xfinity cars do it, but I used it when I had to, and this car was just awesome.
“It’s really a lot of hard work. I think we went to the simulator four or five times this offseason and it just pays off, man. It’s awesome.”
Byron’s win was also the first Cup victory for crew chief Rudy Fugle in their third race together on the No. 24 Hendrick Motorsports team. They worked together in the Truck Series before reuniting for this season.
Byron won by 2.777 seconds over Tyler Reddick, who also ran strong after the sun went down to finish in second place.
Following two crash-marred races at Daytona International Speedway to open the season, the runner-up result was needed for Reddick. That didn’t blunt his disappointment.
“Once I really saw how fast we were in clear air at the end and I saw how fast we were catching everybody – it’s beyond frustrating,” he told Fox.
“Just two or three different decisions on a restart would’ve put me miles ahead and I would’ve been within reach. Second’s great, but I saw how much faster I was than those guys at the end.”
STAGE 1 WINNER: Chris Buescher
STAGE 2 WINNER: William Byron
WHO HAD A GOOD RACE: McDowell recorded his third straight top 10 to open the season, finishing sixth. … Kurt Busch recovered from a green-flag pit stop for a loose left-front wheel with 40 laps to go to finish eighth.
WHO HAD A BAD RACE: In the day’s lone on-track incident, Aric Almirola‘s ill-fated attempt to move in front of Ryan Blaney ended with both cars tagging the Turn 4 wall on Lap 200. Blaney finished one lap down in 29th, while Almirola finished three laps down in 30th.
NOTABLE: McDowell and Harvick are the only drivers to score top 10 finishes in the season’s first three races.
NEXT: The Cup Series returns to action March 7 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway (3:30 p.m. ET, FOX). Kurt Busch, a Las Vegas native, earned a playoff win in the most recent race there last September.