William Byron’s championship hopes went up in smoke at Phoenix International Raceway.
With 13 laps remaining in the Lucas Oil 150 on Friday night, Byron radioed to the No. 9 Kyle Busch Motorsports crew, “Motor is blowing up! Motor is blowing up!”
Byron said there was no indication that his engine was ready to expire.
“We had been running hot the last run — kind of all night,” Byron said. “It stayed within 10, but it started to vibrate, maybe the lap before…but it didn’t seem like a big deal, then it sputtered and flames came out from underneath the truck.”
Byron started from the pole, his fifth of the season. Byron had led 112 laps and was at the point when his engine expired.
After winning six races this season, Byron was one of the favorites to win the Camping World Truck Series title. He was second in the standings entering Phoenix. Byron completed 41 laps before finishing 27th and failed to advance to the final round at Homestead-Miami Speedway next weekend. He ended this round fifth in the standings, 15 points adrift of the final transfer position.
“I just hate it for this team,” Byron said. “They worked so hard. It just happens, I guess.
“We’ll just go to Homestead and get the win.”
Byron will drive for JR Motorsports next season in the NASCAR Xfinity Series.