Byron wins back-to-back races, captures Coca-Cola Firecracker 250 victory

 

By Daniel Courson

July 1, 2017

 

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla.—NASCAR Xfinity Series rookie William Byron captured his second victory in 15 starts in the 16th Annual Coca-Cola Firecracker 250 at Daytona International Speedway.

 

Byron led twice for 29 laps in the postponed event at DIS.

“It feels really cool, its definitely special winning here at Daytona,” Byron said post-race in the media center.

STAGE ONE

Brennan Poole led the field to the green flag for the first time in his career. Ben Kennedy started alongside him, and led the first lap.

 

The first caution of the evening came out on lap seven for precipitation, which led to a red flag being displayed on lap 11 for a total of 16 hours and 13 minutes.

 

The race was delayed until 12:00 p.m. Eastern time on Saturday, marking only the second postponement in XFINITY Series racing at Daytona.

 

On the restart, Daniel Suarez took the lead away from Blake Koch, but was unable to hold on to the top spot.

 

Koch led the remaining 14 laps, while mostly riding single file around the speedway, enroute to his first stage victory. Ben Kennedy, Brennan Poole, Daniel Hemric and Elliott Sadler rounded out the top five.

 

STAGE TWO

Justin Allgaier took the green flag after electing to stay out on the track during the caution for the stage end, with Michael Annett on the inside.

 

On lap 35, the caution flag was displayed for a lightning strike that occurred within 8 miles of the track, and eventually the red flag waved for the second time on lap 37.

 

After a two-and-a-half-hour rain delay, the race resumed on lap 40. Poole led the first lap on the restart, but Ben Kennedy had other plans and swiped the lead back on lap 42.

 

On lap 49, a multi-car crash occurred off of Turn 4, triggered by Erik Jones. Jones tapped Cole Custer in the right-rear quarter panel, and got him free. Daniel Suarez, Blake Koch, Brandon Brown, and  Josh Williams were unable to avoid the slow car of Custer and crashed into the inside wall just before the entrance to pit road.

 

The race resumed on lap 57 with Elliott Sadler leading the field, but he wasn’t able to hold off a hard charging Brandon Jones. Sadler took the lead back on Lap 59 and went on to win the second stage, followed by teammate William Byron, Dakoda Armstrong, Ty Dillon, and Tyler Reddick rounds out the top-5.

 

STAGE THREE

William Byron elected to stay out on the track under caution, and led the field to the green flag on lap 66. The field remained single file until lap 82. The outside line formed up as Joey Logano pushed Ty Dillon past William Byron.

 

On lap 85, the yellow flag was displayed due to a spin off Turn 4 by Jeremy Clements, and collected the driver of the No. 25 Chevrolet driven by Chris Cockrum.

 

Dillon and Logano drag raced into Turn 1 on the restart, with Dillon getting the advantage down the backstretch.

 

On lap 92, Rookie-of-the-Year contender William Byron got into the back of second place driver Brennan Poole and sent him spinning down the exit of the tri-oval, collecting Ty Dillon.

Joey Logano restarted first, and battled rookie William Byron down the back stretch. Byron had a strong run down the backstretch and sent Logano down the track into the grass. Logano was able to correct the issue and bring the car back onto the racing surface.

 

The caution flag flew on lap 98, as Brandon Jones and Michael Annett triggered ‘The Big One’ at the entrance of Turn 3. Several drivers were involved, including Daniel Hemric, Cole Custer, Ryan Reed, Justin Allgaier, and Spencer Gallagher. The red flag flew for the third time, and was displayed for nine minutes and 46 seconds.

 

The race went into overtime, with Byron leading the field. The field made it passed the overtime line when a 11-car crash on the backstretch halted the race. Byron beat teammate Elliott Sadler for his second victory of 2016.

 

OVERALL Five drivers picked up career-high finishes in the race; Dakoda Armstrong (third), Jeb Burton (fourth), David Starr (fifth), B.J. McLeod (11th) and Ray Black Jr. (12th).


Sadler remains the point leader with a 59-point lead over William Byron. Justin Allgaier is 69 points behind in third. IMAGES Sarah Crabill/Getty Images Brian Lawdermilk/Getty Images SOURCES Racing-Reference.info