As chaos surrounded him on Atlanta Motor Speedway, young William Byron survived the war of attrition. In a NASCAR Cup Series season loaded with new – from cars to tracks to winners – Byron became the latest youngster to finish No. 1.

Byron, 24, won a “mentally and physically taxing” Folds of Honor QuikTrip 500 on Sunday, steadily staying near the front throughout a race that featured its own form of March Madness. There were more than 27 cars involved in wrecks, setting a record at Atlanta Motor Speedway. There were 11 cautions and 46 lead changes (20 different leaders), which also set a record.

The race restarted with 13 laps remaining. Byron was pushed into the lead by Erik Jones, who finished 14th, with 10 laps to go. He managed the advantage from there, holding off Bubba Wallace, Ross Chastain and Christopher Bell in earning his first victory of the season (second top-five finish). It was his first win at Atlanta Motor Speedway and third career Cup Series victory overall.

“They (the last few laps) were really wild,” said Byron, who crossed the finish line as more cars crashed behind him. “Bubba was really strong. He was playing the game of how much to back up. All those things were happening. Earlier in the race, I felt like I wanted to be second going into the end. But fortunately I was able to learn how to manage the lead a little bit better.”

Byron’s victory continued NASCAR’s youth movement. Its last 11 Cup Series races have been won by drivers in their 20s.

Chastain finished second, followed by Kurt Busch. Wallace wrecked at the end, dropping back to 13th after trying to position himself to catch Byron during the final stretch. Wallace said the crash was among the hardest hits he’s experienced.

Atlanta’s own Chase Elliott, a Dawsonville native who received his usual hometown cheers throughout the race, finished sixth for his second consecutive top-seven finish in Atlanta. He had led with 72 laps remaining.

Elliott is the only of four Hendrick Motorsports drivers yet to win this season (Kyle Larson, Alex Bowman and Byron). Sunday marked Hendrick Motorsports’ first victory in Atlanta since Jimmie Johnson won the QuikTrip 500 in 2016. Elliott nonetheless leaped atop the Cup Series standings with 171 points.

The first two stages were won under caution by Byron and Ryan Blaney, respectively. Blaney, who won the QuikTrip 500 last spring and entered this weekend the betting favorite, finished 17th. He was among the drivers wrecking at the end.

This was the first QuikTrip 500 at the new-look Atlanta Motor Speedway, which underwent repaving and reprofiling late last year. The banking went from 24 to 28 degrees, and the corners narrowed from 55 to 40 feet. Byron admits he was “shocked” by the renovated track during practice, but his team worked to adjust. Byron acknowledged the race was more exhausting than Daytona or Talladega.

“It’s cool to do anything for the first time,” Byron said. “It’s cool to have a new Atlanta. I really wasn’t sure what to expect going into this weekend. Certainly, I felt like we did good things in practice to get our car better because yesterday we were pretty far off. (It was) nothing like old Atlanta. Old Atlanta, we were off the throttle quite a bit, sliding around. It was more about managing your tires and things of that nature. This was certainly a lot different and made for a crazy race.

“I wouldn’t want to do it every week, for sure. It’s definitely mentally and physically taxing. Lots of wrecks. I don’t think that’s great but certainly for once or twice a year, it’s good.”

Elliott added: “It was crazy, for sure. Hopefully it was fun to watch because I felt like it was wild from my seat. It was very much so like a Daytona or Talladega. Just trying to position yourself there at the right spot and hope it goes your way.”

The Cup Series returns to Atlanta Motor Speedway on July 10 for the Quaker State 400, which Busch won last summer.