Byron Punches Title Ticket with Win at Phoenix

by Tucker White On Sat, Nov. 11, 2017

William Byron celebrates victory in the NASCAR XFINITY Series Ticket Galaxy 200 at Phoenix Raceway. Photo: Robert Laberge/Getty Images

Despite a last-minute rag-tag pit crew, due to extraneous circumstances, William Byron took advantage of a late caution to exit pit road ahead of the dominant driver of the race and drove on to win the NASCAR XFINITY Series Ticket Galaxy 200 at Phoenix Raceway.

The day for JR Motorsports hit a potential speed bump when news broke that the charter plane carrying Hendrick Motorsports’ Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series pit crews, who also pit the JRM cars, made an emergency landing in Little Rock, Arkansas due to electric problems. HMS dispatched a plane from Phoenix to pickup the crew in Arkansas, but the six-hour round trip meant the crew wouldn’t make it in time.

While the makeshift crews the three JRM Playoff teams used lost some spots on pit road throughout the day, they got Byron, who took just right-side tires and fuel, out first.

“We grinded all day. Great job by this team to make that pit call by Dave (Elenz). It’s awesome man. We’re ready to go to Homestead.”

On the final restart with 13 to go, he set sail going into Turn 1 and drove on to his fourth career victory in 32 XFINITY Series starts.

Ryan Blaney finished second and Erik Jones rounded out the podium.

Christopher Bell and Daniel Hemric rounded out the top-five.

Blake Koch, Cole Custer, Alex Bowman, Austin Dillon and Justin Allgaier rounded out the top-10.

RACE SUMMARY

Jones led the field to green at 3:47 p.m. and led the first 34 laps, before Blaney drove under him in Turn 4 and edged him out at the line to take the lead on Lap 35. Jones responded the following lap by powering right outside him exiting Turn 4 to retake the lead.

Blaney took it for good on Lap 39 entering Turn 3 and drove on to win the first and second stages.

Brendan Gaughan’s wreck with 20 laps to go setup the run to the finish.

CAUTION SUMMATION

Caution flew for the first time on the first lap when Gaughan got loose and spun out in Turn 4, as did Corey LaJoie (unrelated). Caution flew for the second time on Lap 24 when Caesar Bacarella made contact Brennan Poole and Poole veered up into the outside wall in Turn 1. The end of the first stage on Lap 60 brought out the third caution. The conclusion of the second stage brought out the fourth caution on Lap 120. The fifth and final caution flew when Guaghan got loose and slammed the outside wall on the exit of Turn 4.

NUTS & BOLTS

The race lasted one hour, 54 minutes and 33 seconds, at an average speed of 104.758 mph. There were four lead changes among three drivers and five cautions for 26 laps.

Byron, Justin Allgaier, Elliott Sadler and Daniel Hemric advance to the Championship 4 round to race for the XFINITY Series championship next week at Homestead-Miami Speedway.

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