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NASCAR Xfinity: William Byron scores first win at Iowa

William Byron celebrates in victory lane at Iowa Speedway after winning the American Ethanol E15 250 on June 24, 2017 (photo courtesy of Getty Images for NASCAR).

William Byron celebrates in victory lane at Iowa Speedway after winning the American Ethanol E15 250 on June 24, 2017 (photo courtesy of Getty Images for NASCAR).


After just missing out on a first-career NASCAR Xfinity Series win the previous weekend at Michigan International Speedway when he lost to Denny Hamlin by a scant 0.012 seconds, with Hamlin a car the eventually failed post-race inspection, William Byron achieved that career-first Saturday night in the American Ethanol E15 250 at Iowa Speedway.

“Man, it feels awesome,” Byron said. “Thank you Mr. Hendrick for giving me this opportunity. It’s so cool to run full-time in this series. Everything has come full-circle for me. Just to see it all come to fruition, now, and have a victory is really awesome, and I think we had a first or second-place car. Really proud of these guys.”

The win for Byron follows NASCAR Camping World Truck Series and K&N Pro Series East wins at Iowa in the last two seasons.

A late-race caution on lap 218, the eighth of nine total yellow flags, during a cycle of green-flag pit stops resulted in a shuffling of the field that put drivers who had run up front through most of the race toward the back and other drivers up front. That was somewhat evident in the race finishing order, with Ryan Sieg taking runner-up honors, Tyler Reddick finishing third and Ross Chasten and Dakoda Armstrong rounding out the top-five.

“Yeah, it was crazy,” Sieg said. “It was surreal. I just can’t that everybody enough.”

After leading a race-high 152 laps and winning the first 60-lap stage of the race, Christopher Bell wound up 16th. He received a penalty for pitting before pit road opened after being involved in a late-race incident, but recovered to retake the lead from Byron. In the end, though, he was shuffled back toward mid-pack.

Justin Allgaier had run in the top-five throughout the race but wound up off the lead lap with a wave of the yellow flag after pitting under green. He recovered to finish in the top-10 in ninth.

Other top-10 finishers included Michael Annett in sixth, Jeremy Clements seventh, Elliott Sadler eighth, and Garrett Smithy in 10th. Sadler started the race in the back because of an unapproved change made between qualifying and the race, but he was in the top-five by the end of the first 60-lap stage. Once inside the top-five, he ran there throughout the remainder of the race until the ill-timed caution after some had pitted under green.

Saturday night’s race was attrition-filled, with the yellow flag waving nine times, and Bell wasn’t the only front-runner involved in incidents that resulted in cautions. Sam Hornish Jr., last year’s winner making his first start of the season, ran third early in the race and finished second in stage one, but he hit the wall after contact with Bell early in the second stage.

“Car was pretty good,” Hornish said. “It was getting better, and we were heading in the direction we needed. I tried to move my line up just a tad bit in through (turns) three and four, and that allowed the No. 20 (Bell) to get a run on me and seemed like he just overdrove the corner, got loose and got into us. It’s a shame for all the guys on this car. Not the way I wanted to debut, being back here with Team Penske. I’ve made my own fair share of mistakes, but man, I hate being on that end of it.”

Bell led the entire first stage after starting on the pole, with Joe Gibbs Racing teammate Kyle Benjamin behind him in second. But on lap 113, Benjamin spun and Ty Majeski, with nowhere to go, hit him.

Brendan Gaughan won the second 60-lap stage by staying out during a yellow flag for Benjamin’s spin and was still up front when the stage ended a few laps later. After winning stage two, Gaughan made his pit stop.

Although Bell dominated the race lead, Byron also was a consistent frontrunner, leading 78 laps of his own. Byron was the race leader, having not yet pitted under green when the lap 218 caution came out. He was third off pit road, but as soon as the race returned to green, he returned to the lead. After another caution with 16 laps remaining, Byron maintained the lead as Sieg and Reddick battled for second behind him.

“I think we had a first or second-place car,” Byron said. “We got a little bit loose one run, then we got back on cycle, there, at the end, and we were able to take off. It’s really cool.”

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Posted by on June 25, 2017. Filed under Breaking News,Featured,NASCAR. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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