Byron Takes Inaugural Chase Race
William Byron came to New Hampshire Motor Speedway as the top overall seed for the inaugural Camping World Truck Series Chase. After Saturday's UNOH 175, the 18-year-rookie is now locked into the next round of the Chase. Byron led 161 laps and drove away from the field in a dominant performance for his series-leading sixth victory of the season.
"To get a win when it counts in the Chase feels so good," said Byron, who earns an automatic spot in the Round of 6. "We were fortunate to test here a couple months ago and we came in this weekend with the right mindset. The practice was so important, it really paid off."
The Camping World Truck Series Chase features eight drivers and two elimination rounds over six races, beginning with Saturday's UNOH 175 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway. After the first three races, the bottom two drivers will be eliminated, leaving six pilots to fight it out over the next three races for the final four spots in the Championship 4 race at Homestead-Miami Speedway on Nov. 18.
Byron is the fifth straight driver to win a Camping World Truck Series race at NHMS from the pole position. Byron's Kyle Busch Motorsports teammate, Christopher Bell, who is also a Chase contender, finished second. Byron and Bell were both part of a KBM test session at NHMS back at the end of August, and the extra laps obviously paid off.
"When we came here and tested it obviously proved to be helpful," said Bell. "I was pretty aggressive today, but William was really strong today. If we had a couple more laps maybe I would have had a shot at him."
Two-time Camping World Truck Series champion Matt Crafton finished third, while Tyler Reddick (not in Chase) and Timothy Peters round out the top-five.
"We just weren't as good as we were yesterday in practice," said Crafton. "At the end of the long runs those two (Byron and Bell) were really good in front of us."
Chasers Cole Custer (sixth), John Hunter Nemechek (ninth) and Johnny Sauter (10th) all finished inside the top-10, while Ben Kennedy wasn't far behind in 11th. Kennedy sits one point out of the final spot in the next round of the Chase heading to next week's race at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, while Daniel Hemric will have his work cut out for him after a 28th-place finish on Saturday that puts him 21 points behind Sauter in sixth.
For Byron, the next two weeks will provide the young driver a chance to race without pressure.
"A win like this is not anything new for this guy and team," said team owner Kyle Busch. "On a flat mile like this we knew track position would be important and even when he fell back to fifth or sixth, he showed he could still get back to the lead. This sets the tone and gives us an opportunity to move forward and get us ready for (the next round)."
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