NASCAR Truck: William Byron dominates to win first chase race at Loudon
William Byron celebrates in victory lane at New Hampshire Motor Speedway after winning the UNOH 175 on Sept. 24, 2016 (photo courtesy of Getty Images for NASCAR).
By AMANDA VINCENT
NASCAR Camping World Truck Series rookie William Byron continued his record-breaking ways on Saturday, adding to his all-time series-leading wins tally for a first-year driver with a trip to victory lane at New Hampshire Motor Speedway in Loudon after the UNOH 175. It was his sixth win of the season in the first race of the Truck Series’ first chase.
“Just can’t thank these KBM (Kyle Busch Motorsports) guys enough,” Byron said. “Everybody on this Liberty University Tundra is doing a great job all season, and to get a win now when it counts in the chase feels so good, and I was so down on myself last week making that mistake, so to come back and get this win is really, really good for our team.”
Byron’s latest win came in dominating fashion, as the driver led 161 of the 175 that made up the race. Byron’s dominance led the way for a Kyle Busch Racing team that led all 175 laps, as his KBM teammates Christopher Bell and Cody Coughlin combined to lead the other 14 laps.
Byron started on the pole and ran up front until Coughlin stayed out during a lap 52 caution to restart the race as the leader. Bell took the lead from his teammate on lap 58 and ran up front until Byron retook the top spot on lap 69 and ran up front the rest of the way.
“These guys did a great job,” Byron said of his crew. “I think we tried to over-adjust a little bit that last run and it came back to us, but overall, just a great truck, great team, and we’ll try to keep this going.”
Bell red second to Byron throughout most of the race and was second to his teammate at the finish to give KBM a sweep of the top-two spots in the finishing order. Coughlin wound up 20th.
“I was afraid the 4 (Bell) was going to catch us there at the end,” Byron said. “We started to get tight, but that’s what happens sometimes when you get out front. It was really good, just a great race for us.”
Matt Crafton was third, while Tyler Reddick and Timothy Peters rounded out the top-five.
The race was caution filled, with the yellow flag waving eight times. A couple of chase drivers were involved in caution-causing incidents. Daniel Hemric spun as a result of a flat tire on lap 25 and the damage from the incident led to him spending several laps in the garage. He wound up 28th at the finish.
Hemric was one of two chase drivers finishing outside the top-10. The other was Ben Kennedy, who finished 11th.
Chaser John Hunter Nemechek brought out a caution with a spin on lap 52, but he remained on the lead lap and recovered to finish ninth.
Other top-10 finish included Cole Custer in sixth, Kaz Grala in seventh, Brett Moffitt in eighth, and Johnny Sauter in 10th.