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NASCAR Xfinity: William Byron wins at Indianapolis

William Byron kisses the yard of Bricks at Indianapolis Motor Speedway after winning the Lilly Diabetes 250 on July 22, 2017 (photo courtesy of Getty Images for NASCAR).

William Byron kisses the yard of Bricks at Indianapolis Motor Speedway after winning the Lilly Diabetes 250 on July 22, 2017 (photo courtesy of Getty Images for NASCAR).


William Byron claimed his third NASCAR Xfinity Series race of 2017 Saturday after holding off Paul Menard in the closing laps of the Lilly Diabetes 250 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. He took the lead on lap 85 of the 100-lap race by passing JR Motorsports teammate Elliott Sadler and ran up front the remaining distance.

“It’s so cool; this is awesome,” Byron said. “I’d never been to a Brickyard 400 or an Indy 500, but I watched it as a kid. It takes a lot to win these races, and to win here is so special.

Paul Menard finished second, Joey Logano was third, Elliott Sadler fourth, and Cole Custer rounded out the top-five.

“He [Byron] was better than me through turn one,” Menard said of his inability to get by Byron in the closing laps. “I just had to lift too much and play catch-up through turns two, three and four back to the start/finish line. I made a pretty aggressive dive into one that last lap, just to see if I could get him loose, but he made it stick.”

The Xfinity Series race at Indianapolis was an experiment, of sorts, for NASCAR, with an aim of improving stock car racing at IMS. Cars in Saturday’s race ran with restrictor plates and aero ducts, along with an aero packages more like the one ran in 2016. The sanctioning body was pleased with the end result. The experiment resulted in a race-record 16 lead changes and the closest series finish at Indy. Byron took the checkered flag 0.108 seconds ahead of Menard.

“Overall, certainly pleased with what we saw on the race track from an eye test,” NASCAR Executive Vice President and Chief Racing Development Officer Steve O’Donnell said. “Definitely passing. When you look at metrics, it’s the most leaders we’ve had, most lead changes, closes finish.”

After Byron took the lead from his teammate, Menard moved up from fourth to second after lap 90, passing Sadler and Logano. Logano had taken second by following Byron by Sadler.

Saturday was a productive day for JR Motorsports. In addition to having two cars inside the top-five of the finishing order, courtesy of Byron and Sadler, those same two drivers claimed stage wins, with Byron winning stage one and Sadler the second stage.

All four JRM drivers started the race in the top-five, with Sadler on the pole and Byron, Justin Allgaier and Michael Annett qualifying third through fifth.

Allgaier led laps early, running up front for four laps before his race efforts fell apart on pit road. During yellow-flag pit stops between the first two stages, Allgaier’s car struck his jackman. The crewman was uninjured, and Allgaier lost several positions, restarting 12th. Allgaier pitted under green just before the end of the second 30-lap stage of the race. He overshot his pit stall and ran over his team’s air hose when leaving the pits. Also, his team didn’t have one of the wheels of the car properly installed before he left his bit box, and as a result, the wheel came loose and got lodged under the fender. Allgaier stopped on the track, bringing out a caution a lap before the end of the second stage, and his car was taken to the garage for repairs.

Allgaier returned to the track and finished 35th, 14 laps down. Annett also wound up outside the top-20. He finished 25th, one lap down.

Kyle Busch led a race-high 44 laps, but a call to pit under green in the final 20 laps because of tire wear resulted in a 12th-place finish. Several other drivers also pitted under green in the closing laps.

Busch wasn’t happy with the results of NASCAR’s experiment.

“They wanted to slow down the fastest guy here so the rest of the field could keep up, and they did,” Busch said.

Byron was second to Busch in the laps-led category, running up front for 26 laps. Sadler led 22. They were the only three drivers to lead a double-digit number of laps. Allgaier’s four laps led was the only other figure over one.

Other top-10 finishers included Ryan Reed in sixth, Brennan Poole seventh, Daniel Hemric eighth, Brandon Jones ninth, and Ty Dillon was 10th.

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Posted by on July 23, 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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