Hickory, N.C. (August 16, 2014) – William Byron and the No. 9 JR Motorsports Team earned their fourth NASCAR Whelen All-American Series Late Model pole on Saturday night at Hickory Motor Speedway (HMS). Byron was running up front with the leaders for the first 70 laps when a right front tire went down forcing him into the pits for repairs. The team fixed the car and Byron returned to the race to finish 14th. Byron remains atop the rookie standings with six races remaining on the track schedule.
Byron had two practice sessions Saturday morning in preparation for the race. The team was consistently quick and one of the best cars on older tires in the hot and humid temperatures. When it came time for qualifying, Byron ran two almost identical lap times to earn the top starting position. Byron and his Liberty University-sponsored car have now earned four poles in 14 races at HMS this season.
“I was really pleased with our qualifying effort,” said Byron. “This makes our third pole in the last four weeks. It is so advantageous to qualify up front at these races because it leads to stronger races and less of a chance to get caught up in someone else’s wrecks. This has really become a strong suit of this team.”
Byron and his blue and white Liberty University Chevrolet led the field to green alongside of JR Motorsports teammate Josh Berry. There were side-by-side battles through most of the field as drivers were jockeying for position early on. As the dust began to settle, Byron was running in the top four on the hot, slick short track. He continued to race up front between second and fourth until the caution flag waved two-thirds through the race.
The green flag waved again on lap 70 and the right front tire on Byron’s car began to leak air. The car got extremely tight for Byron and the tire eventually went flat causing him to dive into the pits for repairs. It took the team just five laps to fix the car and get Byron back onto the track to finish the race. When the checkered flag was displayed, Byron was scored in the 14th position.
“It was really disappointing to have a tire go down that late in the race when we were running so well,” continued Byron. “With that being said, I take a lot of positives out of tonight’s race because there are things that are going to happen that are simply out of our control and this was one of them. We know when we come back next week we have good notes to work off of and a really fast car. We should be really strong for the Twin races next weekend.”
Byron and the team will compete in two 50-lap races on Saturday, Aug. 23 at Hickory Motor Speedway. They will look to continue their strong qualifying runs and finish up front remain in the hunt for the rookie championship.