William Byron at speed during NASCAR Cup Series practice Saturday at Circuit of the Americas. (Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images)
William Byron at speed during NASCAR Cup Series practice Saturday at Circuit of the Americas. (Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images)

Byron Paces Lone Cup Practice At Soggy COTA

AUSTIN, Texas – William Byron had a mostly positive opinion of the wet conditions at the end of the lone NASCAR Cup Series practice Saturday morning at Circuit of the Americas.

“It was fun. It was a blast. I don’t know how it was to watch, but it was so fun driving,” said Byron, who turned the fastest lap amid a constant shower of rain around the 3.410-mile road course.

Aboard the No. 24 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet, Byron best’s time of 2:37.694 left him at the top of the scoring pylon as Cup Series drivers prepared for their first race at the Texas circuit on Sunday afternoon.

RESULTS: EchoPark Texas Grand Prix Practice

Weather conditions are expected to be similar Sunday with more rain in the forecast, making Saturday’s practice session that much more important for Byron and the rest of the NASCAR Cup Series field.

Byron noted that should Sunday’s race be run in the rain, visibility will likely be an issue. He acknowledged that he had to rely on the amount of water being sprayed by the car in front of him to determine just how close he was to his competition.

“You can’t see the guy in front of you,” Byron said. “You’re kind of looking at how much spray you’ve got and judging how far away you are in that aspect. So if the spray is higher, typically you’re closer to a certain degree. It’s almost like a wake. It almost exactly simulates what aero does to the car. It creates that wake behind the car.

“For me, I just tried to trust my spotter and if he said somebody is checking up or something or there is a slower car in front, I tried to plan for that. But honestly I just kind of sent it and just tried to put it in the right spot and hoped nobody was stopped in front of me.”

Joey Logano was second fastest in his Team Penske Ford at 2:38.281, followed by Byron’s Hendrick Motorsports teammate Kyle Larson at 2:38.461. Kyle Busch was fourth fastest for Joe Gibbs Racing at 2:38.691 and Chase Elliott was fifth in another Hendrick Motorsports entry at 2:38.908.

NASCAR Cup Series teams will be back on track at 11 a.m. ET Sunday for EchoPark Texas Grand Prix qualifying, followed by the EchoPark Texas Grand Prix at 2:30 p.m. ET.

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