JR Motorsports Race Report
Saturday, October 7, 2017
Race 29 of 33: Drive for the Cure 300 at Charlotte Motor Speedway
Track Specs: 1.5-mile quad-oval / 200 laps
Weather: Cloudy; 70 degrees
Race Winner: Alex Bowman
Byron's Finish: 16th
Charlotte native William Byron finished 16th in the Drive for the Cure 300 at Charlotte Motor Speedway on Saturday evening. Byron clinched a spot in the Round of 8, following his sixth-place finish in Stage One. The 19-year-old is currently leading the NASCAR Xfinity Series point standings by three markers.
Weather was a factor for the majority of the day on Saturday, which forced the Xfinity Series teams to start the race via owner points. The Liberty University machine rolled off sixth and was battling two JR Motorsports drivers for position during the first eight laps. While running seventh, Byron radioed to the team that his Chevrolet was tight in the center, but mainly tight overall. When the first caution flag was shown on lap 30, the Liberty University team stayed out on track to maintain their position. On lap 35, Byron was scored in the sixth position and would maintain that position through the end of Stage One. By finishing sixth, Byron locked himself into the Round of 8.
The Liberty University team elected to hit pit road under caution on lap 47 for four tires, fuel and a track-bar adjustment. After a quick stop, the team gained three positions and restarted fourth on lap 52. The caution flag was shown on lap 63 and Byron reported that his Chevrolet had better take-off, but was still tight on exit. The team stayed out on track and restarted fifth on lap 67. Byron battled the No. 00 of Cole Custer through the remainder of Stage Two, but ultimately beat him to the line to finish seventh.
At the conclusion of Stage Two, Byron radioed that his machine was tight as he continued to progress through a run. The team elected to hit pit road for four tires, fuel and a wedge adjustment. The Liberty University team was able to gain three positions on that pit stop, but was caught speeding and had to restart at the tail-end of the field. The team knew they had some ground to make up and Byron did just that on the restart. By lap 117, Byron was scored in the 12th position and reported tight conditions. Byron was in the 10th position on lap 127 and when the caution was shown on lap 142, the team decided to come to pit road for four more tires, fuel and another track-bar adjustment. With fresher tires than some of the cars in front of him, Byron was able to advance to the sixth position on lap 159.
When the final caution flag waved on lap 161, the Liberty University team was in a great position. As most of the cars in front of Byron needed to pit, the No. 9 Chevy would restart from the first position on lap 167. Byron was able to lead the field for six laps, until the cars with fresher tires were able to get by. On lap 192, the driver radioed to the team that he had a right-rear tire going down and the Liberty University pit crew was ready on pit road. Byron was able to take care of his tire and cross the line in the 16th position.
Alex Bowman captured his first-career NXS win and was followed by Sam Hornish Jr., Ryan Blaney, Austin Dillon and Brennan Poole.
William Byron's Thoughts:
"We battled tight conditions all throughout the night here in Charlotte. Dave (Elenz, crew chief) and the guys made great adjustments all night on pit road to help free up the car. We had a tire going down at the end, so I am just glad that it didn't let go. It is a great feeling going into the off weekend as the points leader and I feel strong about what we can bring to Kansas in a few weeks."
No. 9 Liberty University Camaro
Laps Completed (Led): 200 of 200 (6)
Points (Bonus): 30 (0)
Point Standings (from leader): 1st (+3)