William Byron adds to historic rookie season with Pocono win
William Byron celebrates winning the Pocono Mountains 150 at Pocono Raceway on July 30, 2016 (photo courtesy of Getty Images for NASCAR).
By Amanda Vincent
William Byron added another win to his tally on Saturday, winning the fifth race of his NASCAR Camping World Truck Series season in the Pocono Mountains 150 at Pocono Raceway in Long Pond, Pa. The five-win mark gives Byron the Truck Series record for most wins by a rookie.
“Just to get one is hard enough,” Byron said. “Everything has just lined up for us this year. I’ve been extremely blessed, and we’ve had a lot of things that have happened good for us, and we’re bringing fast trucks and we’re doing our homework, so that’s the biggest thing and the key to success.”
It just so happens, the previous record holder, Kurt Busch, is the brother of Byron’s truck owner, Kyle Busch. Kurt Busch set his then-record of four wins by a Truck Series rookie in 2000.
“Honestly, this is just a credit to this team,” Byron said. “I mean, this team is a great group of guys. Rudy Fugle (crew chief) leads them all. The pit crew is great; we just have good chemistry. We show up and do our jobs and I just love being here.”
Cameron Hayley finished second, tying a career-best. Brett Moffitt finished third, Timothy Peters was fourth, and Cole Custer rounded out the top-five.
The short 60-lap distance was caution filled with a record nine yellow flags waving to put the race under caution for nearly half the distance. Twenty-seven of the total 60 laps were run under the yellow flag. The longest green-flag run of the race was six laps.
With the high number of cautions, the first of those coming early on lap five, pit strategies varied throughout the race distance. Despite varying strategies, only three drivers led laps. Byron dominated, leading 44 laps. Spencer Gallagher led 12 laps, while Peters led four.
“Restarts ere tough, but we had a couple things that were working our way on those, and we were getting good launches, so just a credit to Rudy and all the guys that have put a lot of hard work into this truck and each truck that we race,” Byron said.
After being the only driver other than winner Byron to lead a double-digit number of laps, Gallagher spun, bringing out the final caution of the race inside the final 10 laps.
Finishing sixth through 10th were Rico Abreu, Ben Kennedy, Johnny Sauter, John Hunter Nemechek and Christopher Bell, who started the race in the back after sitting on pit road with the hood up on his truck because of an electrical problem.