William Byron claims "humbling" NASCAR Xfinity win at Indianapolis
William Byron’s successful rookie NASCAR Xfinity Series season just got a whole lot better.
Byron, a 19-year-old native of Charlotte, N.C., out-dueled veteran Paul Menard and hung on to win Saturday’s Lilly Diabetes 250 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
The win is Byron third of the season, all coming in the last five races.
“I’m just really thankful to be here,” Byron said on pit road after completing a victory burnout. “I have a lot of great people around me. It’s very humbling to be in Indianapolis and win.
“I can’t believe that tire held on. That was awesome.”
The final 20 laps, Byron complained of a growing vibration of right-front tire, likely a sign of extreme wear.
After he passed his JR Motorsports teammate, Elliott Sadler, for the lead with 16 of 100 laps remaining, had to fend off challenges from both Joey Logano and Menard.
“This is so cool. This is awesome,” Byron said. “I’ve never been to a Brickyard 400 or an Indy 500 but I watched it as kid. It takes a lot to win these races and to win here is so special.”
Byron’s victory came as part of a successful test of a new aero package at IMS, which included spoiler changes, the use of a 7/8-inch restrictor-plate and aero ducts on the front bumpers.
The race produced series track records in lead changes (16) and different leaders (eight).
Logano finished third, Sadler was fourth and Cole Custer completed the top-five.
“I thought I had a chance at catching William,” Menard said. “But he was better than me in Turn 1. Everywhere else we were pretty even.”
Sadler inherited the lead when several of the race leaders elected to pit with three laps left in the segment and claimed the Stage 2 victory when the race went under caution.
Justin Allgaier, who was leading, was one of the cars that pit before the Stage break but overshot his pit stall. His crew began work on the car before he corrected its position, then when Allgaier left the stall, he ran over the air hose.
Shortly after reaching the track, his right-front tire appeared to dislodge causing Allgaier to come to a rest in Turn 2, which brought out the caution.
“I think you are definitely seeing a lot closer racing out here than we’ve seen here the last couple of years,” Sadler said during the break.
Brennan Poole ended up second in Stage 2 followed by Daniel Hemric, Brendan Gaughan and Brandon Jones.
The first incident of the race occurred on Lap 39 when Ryan Sieg got into the back of Spencer Gallagher, which also collected the cars of Tyler Reddick and Blake Koch.
The race returned to green on Lap 45 with Busch in the lead followed by Logano and Custer.
Garrett Smithley spun after getting hit from behind by Mario Gosselin on Lap 50 to bring out the fourth caution of the race. Busch led on the restart on Lap 53.
Byron passed Busch on Lap 23 of the 30-lap first segment and held on to claim the Stage 1 victory. That was only the second Stage win by Byron this season.
Logano ended up third, Custer was fourth and Poole was fifth.
Sadler, who started from the pole, led the way until a competition caution was displayed on Lap 15 to allow teams to check tire wear.
During the round of pit stops, Erik Jones got spun by Poole and got his No. 20 Toyota stuck sideways. Jeb Burton was also penalized for speeding on pit road.
Busch was the first off pit road, but Hemric – who had to pit early in the race due to debris on his grille – stayed out and took over the lead on Lap 21. Busch took over the lead almost immediately after the restart.
|20||28||Dakoda Armstrong||Toyota||99||1 lap|
|21||0||Garrett Smithley||Chevrolet||99||1 lap||1|
|22||01||Harrison Rhodes||Chevrolet||99||1 lap||1|
|23||20||Erik Jones||Toyota||99||1 lap|
|24||07||Ray Black Jr.||Chevrolet||99||1 lap|
|25||5||Michael Annett||Chevrolet||99||1 lap|
|26||78||Tommy Joe Martins||Chevrolet||99||1 lap|
|27||90||Mario Gosselin||Chevrolet||99||1 lap|
|28||23||Spencer Gallagher||Chevrolet||99||1 lap|
|29||99||David Starr||Chevrolet||99||1 lap|
|30||52||Joey Gase||Chevrolet||98||2 laps|
|31||51||Jeremy Clements||Chevrolet||98||2 laps|
|32||40||Chad Finchum||Toyota||98||2 laps|
|33||8||B.J. McLeod||Chevrolet||93||7 laps|
|34||74||Mike Harmon||Dodge||90||10 laps|
|35||7||Justin Allgaier||Chevrolet||86||14 laps||4|
|36||13||Timmy Hill||Dodge||40||60 laps|
|37||42||Tyler Reddick||Chevrolet||38||62 laps|
|38||15||Reed Sorenson||Chevrolet||23||77 laps|
|39||89||Morgan Shepherd||Chevrolet||22||78 laps||1|
|40||93||Jeff Green||Chevrolet||9||91 laps|
Watch the race recap by clicking on image:
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