NEWTON, Iowa — After coming up short by mere inches from his first career victory last weekend at Michigan International Speedway, William Byron shook it right off Saturday night at Iowa Speedway.
This week, the 19-year-old driver had no Cup drivers to deal with and got out front when it mattered in Saturday night’s American Ethanol E15 250 at Iowa Speedway. Byron pulled away from runner-up Ryan Sieg with 10 laps to go and never looked back for his first-career XFINITY Series win.
“Man, it feels awesome.” Byron said. “Thank you Mr.H for giving me this opportunity. It’s so cool to run full time in the series, everything has come full circle for me. I raced late models for JR Motorsports a few years ago and I remember LW telling me that he wanted to see me in an XFINITY car. Just to see it all come to fruition now and have a victory is really awesome. I think we had a first or second place car, we got loose one run and then we got back on cycle there at the end and was able to take off.
“I’m really proud of these guys, Dave and everyone on the Axalta team. It’s really cool.”
Byron benefited from the race’s major turning point with 32 laps to go, after a dominant Christopher Bell got tangled up with lapped cars Ryan Reed and Brennan Poole, sending the No. 20 ToyotaCare Camry spinning into the turn 3 wall while leading the event. The wreck occurred during a cycle of green-flag pit stops which shuffled up the running order.
The caution was also a blessing for Ryan Sieg and his No. 39 team.
Sieg gained valuable track position and recorded his career-best series finish with a second at Iowa Speedway, holding off Tyler Reddick in the process for the small team’s strong run.
“It was crazy!” Sieg said. “I just can’t thank everybody enough, Bruce and Cowboy, they work hard and it’s amazing! It’s crazy when I was driving around and I kept saying I can’t believe we’re second! It’s really awesome! It’s a lot of fun racing with Tyler there and race for the win. Just can’t thank everybody enough.”
Tyler Reddick came home third in his No. 42 Chevrolet as the top-five drivers all scored their best-series finish-to-date, with the exception of Dakoda Armstrong who tied his career-best with a fifth that also came at Iowa last July.
“We had a car that could really roll the center good, but I couldn’t get back to the throttle and unfortunately that is where I was getting eaten up for most of the night.” Reddick said. “We really couldn’t make passes on the bottom or anywhere for that matter because I couldn’t get off the corner. It’s really cool to race here at Iowa under the lights, it’s really cool to see the racetrack really open up.”
“We had the car with the freshest set of tires on and I just feel like we should have come home with a victory tonight. The odds were in our favor. I just wish on that last restart that we could have been on the outside, then we would have a shot but I just couldn’t get anything on the bottom. I feel like we gave one away here, it’s going to be a tough one to swallow.”
Ross Chastain finished fourth in the No. 4 car while Dakoda Armstrong (fifth) registered JGL Racing’s best finish on a non-restrictor plate track in XFINITY. It previously tied J.J. Yeley’s fifth-place run at Road America in 2014.
Iowa native Michael Annett was sixth followed by Jeremy Clements, points leader Elliott Sadler, Justin Allgaier and Garrett Smithley, making it two JD Motorsports cars in the top-10.
Defending race winner Sam Hornish Jr. endured tough luck early when Christopher Bell got sideways underneath the No. 22 Discount Tire Ford and slid into Hornish while the two made contact and ended the NASCAR veteran’s night early.
“It was pretty good.” Hornish said. “I felt this thing was getting better and headed into the direction we needed to be. I tried to move my line up just a tad bit through 3 and 4 and that allowed the 20 to get a run on me. Seemed like he just overdrove down in the corner, got loose and into us.”
About Race Chaser Media
The genesis of Race Chaser Online actually took place in 2001 when Senior Editor Tom Baker formed a partnership with a news group in Central New York State to put together a motorsports news site called Inside Groove, aligning it with Baker’s motorsports talk show based in the Syracuse area.
Though it was only online for two seasons, Inside Groove quickly became a focal point for race coverage across the Empire State. The same passion, drive and determination to provide interesting, energetic and unique content that went into that site was recalled when creating Race Chaser Online.
Throughout the past 28 years, Baker has successfully served the motorsports community in several capacities, including track promoter, writer, broadcaster, marketing and public relations specialist, driver coach and spotter, and returned to his journalistic roots in May of 2013 (he started writing for his local paper in 1988) as the CEO and Senior Editor for Race Chaser Online.
“I am blessed to be able to have a second chance at a motorsports news site,” Baker said. “I love giving people a chance to share their stories and recognizing them for their hard work and achievements. We were quite successful with Inside Groove back several years ago, but I didn’t really understand where the Internet was going as a news source so I didn’t stay with it. With my experience over the years and the encouragement of a number of highly regarded people in our sport, I believe we are creating something that every race fan will enjoy.”
“Our goal is always to gather together all the latest technologies so we can bring our audience a high-octane multimedia buffet and provide unique coverage of drivers, teams, tracks and series you will not find elsewhere.”
“We can also provide those same teams, tracks and series with all the marketing and promotional materials and consultation they need to be successful, and we customize each program to the needs of the client. We can do everything from graphic design to marketing presentations, websites, videos, copy writing, press releases and even live radio broadcasts for races, tracks or series that want to elevate their online presence to a more exciting form of coverage. We can also set up a support program to work with them on refining their marketing efforts and increase their chances at success in that area.”
“I enjoy helping others to develop better strategies and approaches to their marketing in the sport,” Baker continued. “You cannot shortcut the process. It takes a lot of time to cultivate and maintain sponsors and you have to invest in the right materials and spend the time it takes to help them reach your audience. For those willing to make the investment of time and money to get it right, the investment is much more likely to pay off than for those who just think it’s about putting a decal on the car and having a Facebook page. As soon as you introduce sponsors into your race team, it’s not a hobby anymore. It’s a business. We can work with you to polish and promote your racing business.”
As a way of “giving back” and also of focusing on the future of motorsports, Race Chaser Online and its wireless mobile radio station — the Performance Motorsports Network — specialize in telling the stories of those who are climbing the racing ladder and highlight both the national levels of NASCAR and IndyCar as well as the niche divisions of the sport, including Australia’s Supercars Championship, the mighty supermodifieds, Legends cars, go-karts and even online sim-racing, including iRacing’s NASCAR PEAK Antifreeze Series!
Making this story even more unique, Baker has assembled — for the second time in his media career — a staff of inexperienced but surprisingly knowledgeable young racing journalists with a desire to learn the business and work in the sport, and he is providing the coaching and mentoring to help them take advantage of the opportunity to display their talents and skills to a worldwide audience.