JR Motorsports Race Report
November 4, 2017
JR Motorsports Race Report
Saturday, November 4, 2017
Race 31 of 33: O'Reilly Auto Parts 300 at Texas Motor Speedway
Track Specs: 1.5-mile quad-oval / 200 laps
Weather: Partly Cloudy; 77 degrees
Race Winner: Erik Jones
Byron's Finish: 9th
William Byron and the Liberty University team crossed the finish line ninth in Saturday night's O'Reilly Auto Parts 300 at Texas Motor Speedway. This was Byron's 20th top-10 finish of the 2017 season. Byron remains second in the NASCAR Xfinity Series point standing, five points behind Elliott Sadler.
The Liberty University machine rolled off ninth for Saturday's 200-lap race. By lap 2 Byron was running in the fifth position. When the first caution of the day was shown on lap 10 and the No. 9 machine was scored in the fourth position. Byron relayed to the team that his machine fired off good on that run. The team elected to stay out on track and restarted fourth.
On lap 22, the driver radioed to the team that his Chevrolet was too tight in the center of Turns 1 and 2. At the conclusion of Stage One, Byron was scored in the seventh position. Byron told the team that his machine needed to be freed up, so the team called him to pit road for right-side tires, fuel, a track-bar and an air-pressure adjustment. After a quick stop by the Liberty University crew, Byron restarted from the first position.
The No. 9 Chevy was leading the field to green on the lap 67 restart when the field got shuffled and Byron was bumped back to the sixth position. While running in the eighth position on lap 81, Byron relayed that he believed the left-side tires were worn out and that his car needed to be tightened up. The team elected to pit for four tires, fuel and another adjustment under the lap 83 caution. The team restarted from the 13th position with five laps remaining in the stage. Byron knocked off four positions before the Stage Two end to finish ninth. Following the stage, the team elected to stay out on track and would restart second on lap 98.
When the final caution of the day was shown on lap 126, Byron relayed that his Chevy needed to rotate better in the center. The team called Byron to pit road for four tires, fuel and to pull a rubber out of the left rear. With 65 laps to go in the 200-lap event, Byron was running in the seventh position and reporting that his car was driving a little better. Crew chief Dave Elenz radioed to Byron on lap 159 that they were about four laps short on fuel and would need to make a pit stop before the end of the race.
Elenz called Byron to pit road on lap 189 from the ninth position for right-side tires and fuel. After green-flag pit stops cycled through, Byron was scored in the ninth position. The 19-year-old would maintain this position through the conclusion of the race. Byron scored his 20th top-10 finish of 2017 on Saturday night and is now five markers behind the NXS points leader.
Erik Jones brought home the win in Texas and was followed by Ryan Blaney, Kyle Larson, Sadler and Cole Custer.
William Byron's Thoughts:
"We struggled a little bit tonight. Our car just didn't have the speed we needed to get the finish we needed. Going into Phoenix next week will be good for us. That is a track that has been good to us in the past, so I know we are all looking forward to that. This Liberty University team has worked hard all year and I am confident that these guys have put together some great cars for the next two races."
No. 9 Liberty University Camaro
Laps Completed (Led): 200 of 200 (17)
Points (Bonus): 34 (0)
Point Standings (from leader): 2nd (-5)