William Byron wins long, action-packed Xfinity race at Daytona

DAYTONA BEACH, FL - JULY 01: William Byron, driver of the #9 AXALTA/Vorteq Chevrolet, celebrates in Victory Lane after winning the NASCAR XFINITY Series Coca-Cola Firecracker 250 at Daytona International Speedway on July 1, 2017 in Daytona Beach, Florida. (Photo by Brian Lawdermilk/Getty Images)

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – In a wild race that ended more than 21 hours after it started, William Byron won his second NASCAR XFINITY Series event in seven days, taking the checkered flag in overtime in Saturday’s weather-delayed Coca-Cola Firecracker 250 at Daytona International Speedway.

Byron took the lead from Joey Logano on Lap 98 of a scheduled 100, when off-center contact from Byron’s front bumper sent Logano’s No. 22 Ford plowing through the infield grass below the backstretch.

“I was just trying to push him to make it a two-man race,” Byron said after doubling up on his victory last week at Iowa Speedway. “There was some room, and I got him a little squirrely.”

Byron picked up his first win at the 2.5-mile superspeedway and the second of his career, two weeks after finishing second to Denny Hamlin by .012 seconds at Michigan.

The race, which started on Friday night but was postponed after 11 laps, ended under caution when NASCAR threw the yellow flag for a wreck on the backstretch after Byron had crossed the overtime line. The 19-year-old driver of the No. 9 Chevrolet led JR Motorsports teammate Elliott Sadler to the checkered flag.

In between the Friday start and the Saturday finish were three red-flag periods – the first of more than 16 hours for the rain delay, a second of 2 hours 29 minutes for lightning and rain and a third to clean up a late wreck.

Dakoda Armstrong ran a career-best third, bettering his fifth-place finish last Saturday at Iowa. Jeb Burton and David Starr set career highs as well, with finishes of fourth and fifth, respectively.

Logano’s trip through the grass didn’t necessitate a caution, but a massive 18-car wreck on the backstretch brought out the eighth yellow on Lap 99 and forced the overtime. With a push from Sadler, Byron surged to the front after a restart on lap 103 and held the spot until NASCAR called the final caution for the wreck on the backstretch.

Sadler’s push of his teammate was a planned move.

“He and I talked for a long time during qualifying (on Friday) about what we would do on a restart,” Sadler said. “He nailed it.”

Sadler, 42, continues to be impressed by a teammate less than half his age.

“William Byron is the real deal,” Sadler said. “He knows where the edge is with his car, and he keeps it in one piece.”

Byron led a race-high 29 laps.

“We’ve had a great last three weeks,” he said. “I think, as a team, we’re getting more and more confident.”

NASCAR Xfinty Series Race – Coca-Cola Firecracker 250

Daytona International Speedway

Daytona Beach, Florida

Friday, June 30, 2017

1. (3) William Byron #, Chevrolet, 104.

2. (7) Elliott Sadler, Chevrolet, 104.

3. (21) Dakoda Armstrong, Toyota, 104.

4. (17) Jeb Burton, Toyota, 104.

5. (33) David Starr, Chevrolet, 104.

6. (20) Ross Chastain, Chevrolet, 104.

7. (1) Brennan Poole, Chevrolet, 104.

8. (10) Joey Logano(i), Ford, 104.

9. (9) Brendan Gaughan, Chevrolet, 104.

10. (34) Joey Gase, Chevrolet, 104.

11. (31) BJ McLeod, Toyota, 104.

12. (30) Ray Black II, Chevrolet, 104.

13. (37) JJ Yeley, Toyota, 104.

14. (24) Scott Lagasse Jr., Toyota, 104.

15. (38) Jeremy Clements, Chevrolet, 104.

16. (2) Ben Kennedy #, Chevrolet, 104.

17. (36) Timmy Hill, Dodge, 104.

18. (6) Matt Tifft #, Toyota, 104.

19. (16) Brandon Jones, Chevrolet, 104.

20. (40) Jeff Green, Toyota, 104.

21. (15) Ty Dillon(i), Chevrolet, 104.

22. (19) Cole Custer #, Ford, 104.

23. (35) Mike Harmon, Dodge, 104.

24. (22) Spencer Gallagher #, Chevrolet, 104.

25. (14) Erik Jones(i), Toyota, 104.

26. (29) Chris Cockrum, Chevrolet, 104.

27. (13) Tyler Reddick, Chevrolet, Accident, 103.

28. (27) Garrett Smithley, Chevrolet, Accident, 102.

29. (39) Mark Thompson, Toyota, Accident, 102.

30. (25) Justin Allgaier, Chevrolet, Accident, 100.

31. (12) Ryan Reed, Ford, Accident, 100.

32. (5) Daniel Hemric #, Chevrolet, Accident, 99.

33. (11) Michael Annett, Chevrolet, Accident, 98.

34. (23) Casey Mears, Ford, Accident, 98.

35. (18) Ryan Sieg, Chevrolet, Accident, 98.

36. (26) Harrison Rhodes, Chevrolet, Rear Gear, 94.

37. (28) Brandon Brown, Chevrolet, Accident, 50.

38. (4) Blake Koch, Chevrolet, Accident, 50.

39. (8) Daniel Suarez(i), Toyota, Accident, 50.

40. (32) Josh Williams, Chevrolet, Accident, 50.

Average Speed of Race Winner:  116.476 mph.

Time of Race:  2 Hrs, 13 Mins, 56 Secs. Margin of Victory:  Caution.

Caution Flags:  9 for 35 laps.

Lead Changes:  18 among 10 drivers.

Lap Leaders:   B. Poole 0; B. Kennedy # 1; B. Poole 2; B. Kennedy # 3; B. Koch 4-15; D. Suarez(i) 16; B. Koch 17-32; J. Allgaier 33-34; B. Poole 35-41; B. Kennedy # 42-43; T. Dillon(i) 44-48; B. Poole 49-53; E. Sadler 54-58; B. Jones 59; E. Sadler 60-61; W. Byron # 62-83; T. Dillon(i) 84-91; J. Logano(i) 92-97; W. Byron # 98-104.

Leaders Summary (Driver, Times Lead, Laps Led):  W. Byron # 2 times for 29 laps; B. Koch 2 times for 27 laps; T. Dillon(i) 2 times for 13 laps; B. Poole 3 times for 13 laps; E. Sadler 2 times for 7 laps; J. Logano(i) 1 time for 6 laps; B. Kennedy # 3 times for 4 laps; J. Allgaier 1 time for 2 laps; B. Jones 1 time for 1 lap; D. Suarez(i) 1 time for 1 lap.

Stage #1 Top Ten: 11,2,48,21,1,19,98,24,3,42

Stage #2 Top Ten: 1,9,28,3,42,5,48,33,2,23

Greg Engle
About Greg Engle 7421 Articles
Greg is a published award winning sportswriter who spent 23 years combined active and active reserve military service, much of that in and around the Special Operations community. Greg is the author of "The Nuts and Bolts of NASCAR: The Definitive Viewers' Guide to Big-Time Stock Car Auto Racing" and has been published in major publications across the country including the Los Angeles Times, the Cleveland Plain Dealer and the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. He was also a contributor to Chicken Soup for the NASCAR Soul, published in 2010, and the Christmas edition in 2016. He wrote as the NASCAR, Formula 1, Auto Reviews and National Veterans Affairs Examiner for Examiner.com and has appeared on Fox News. He holds a BS degree in communications, a Masters degree in psychology and is currently a PhD candidate majoring in psychology. He is currently the weekend Motorsports Editor for Autoweek.