Charlotte’s William Byron Kisses The Bricks In His Brickyard Debutby Camille Jones July 23, 2017
SPEEDWAY, Ind.– William Byron prevailed in a thrilling battle with Paul Menard in the closing laps of the Lilly Diabetes 250 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway on Saturday afternoon.
Byron captured his first victory at the historic 2.5-mile speedway, his third victory of the 2017 NASCAR XFINITY Series season. The driver of the No. 9 Liberty University Chevrolet for JR Motorsports won the event in his debut at the Brickyard.
“It’s so cool–this is awesome,” said Byron. “I’d never been to a Brickyard 400 or an Indy 500, but I watched it as a kid. It takes a lot to win these races and to win here is so special.”
In the final laps of the event, Paul Menard, driving the No. 2 Richmond/Menards Chevrolet for Richard Childress Racing, had battled his way up to the second position as Byron led the field. He reached the bumper of Byron’s car with three laps to go after the two weaved through lapped traffic.
Menard gave it all he could to make a pass on Byron, but the 19-year-old Charlotte, North Carolina native was able to dive high and low to block the Menard in each corner in order to maintain the lead. Coming out of Turn 4 for the final time, Menard pulled out to make one final effort to pass Byron, but ultimately, he came up short and was forced to settle for a second-place finish.
Joey Logano claimed the third-place finishing position, his fifth top-10 finish in five NASCAR XFINITY Series races at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
Elliott Sadler in the JR Motorsports No. 1 OneMain Financial Chevrolet, and Cole Custer in the Stewart-Haas Racing No. 00 Haas Automation Ford completed the top-five in the finishing order, while Ryan Reed, Brennan Poole, Daniel Hemric, Brandon Jones and Ty Dillon rounded out the top-10 on Saturday afternoon.
The event was broken up into three stages of 30 laps, 30 laps and 40 laps. Byron won Stage 1 of the event, while his teammate Elliott Sadler claimed the Stage 2 win.
There were a series record-high number of lead changes with 16 total over the course of the 100-lap event. Kyle Busch led a race high of 44 laps. The yellow flag flew five times to bring the field under caution for a total of 22 laps.
Elliott Sadler still leads the points standings, now by 40 points over Byron. Sadler has no race wins, compared to Byron’s three wins this season.
The NASCAR XFINITY Series heads to Iowa Speedway next weekend for the US Cellular 250 Presented by American Ethanol on Saturday, July 29 at 3:30 p.m. ET. Race coverage will be held on NBC and Motor Racing Network (MRN).
Photo Credit: Sean Gardner/Getty Images