|Credit: Amy Branch for Skirts and Scuffs|
Rookies don't often win in their first five races, and they rarely win their first time at a track. But young William Byron did just that Friday night, driving his No. 9 Toyota through a chaotic race to his first Camping World Truck Series victory.
Cautions breed cautions, and the Camping World Truck Series Toyota Tundra 250 in Kansas City had plenty of them. By Lap 126 of 170, there had already been nine cautions and 13 lead changes with seven different leaders. At the end of the race, the yellow flag had been displayed 11 times for 47 laps.
Rico Abreu brought out the caution flag on Lap 1 after getting loose and hitting the wall. Twice, the caution clock expired. Other trucks involved in wrecks included John Wes Townley, John Hunter Nemecheck, Cole Custer and Tyler Reddick.
With three laps to go, and 17 trucks on the lead lap, Kyle Busch Motorsports driver Reddick lost control and spun his No. 29 Toyota, bringing out a tenth caution and NASCAR overtime. He had been battling for fifth place with Clint Bowyer, driving the No. 24 truck for Maurice Gallagher Jr.
Two Kyle Busch Motorsports drivers, Matt Tifft and Byron, led the field into overtime, with Johnny Sauter third and Daniel Hemric fourth behind them. Sauter took the lead, but Ben Rhodes spun him and Byron took advantage, taking the checkered flag and the all-important win. The Rookie of the Year contender is now eligible for the Camping World Truck Series Chase.
Team owner Busch said, "The limited experience [Byron] has in the truck series, and limited experience in racing in general, I'm well impressed with the way he's been able to drive in the different vehicles he's driven over the years. The success that he's had in those races [is impressive] as well, too, and being able to move up the ladder as quickly as he has. We sought William early last year, and fortunately it all came together and we were able to be here tonight and be in this moment. It's pretty special to have William win this soon in his career in the truck series, and hopefully there's many more to come."
Byron added, "There's lots of ebbs and flows during a race. It's really important to keep your head in the game, and that was really evident tonight the way the last 30 laps went; getting the lead, then on that last restart falling back to third. You just can't give up. I'm just really proud of this whole Liberty University Team; we had a really fast Toyota Tundra and KBM is giving me a great platform."
In all, there were 19 lead changes and nine leaders. Matt Crafton led the most laps with 57, followed closely by Reddick's 56 laps led. Crafton got shuffled back during one of the last restarts to 12th, but battled back to finish second. Brad Keselowski Racing's Daniel Hemric came in third, and Kyle Busch Motorsports' Christopher Bell finished fourth. Clint Bowyer rolled across the finish line fifth, surely a confidence booster for the struggling Sprint Cup driver.
Ryan Truex, Cole Custer, Timothy Peters, Ben Kennedy and Spencer Gallagher rounded out the top 10.
Byron graduates from high school on May 22, yet his future is likely secured for some time to come.
Tomorrow the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series tackles Kansas Speedway at 6:30 PM Central on Fox Sports 1.
|24||10||Jennifer Jo Cobb|
|25||22||Austin Wayne Self|
|26||5||John Wes Townley|
|28||8||John Hunter Nemechek|
|32||44||Tommy Joe Martins|