18-year-old William Byron wins Truck race at Kansas Speedway
KANSAS CITY, Kan. (AP) William Byron survived the chaos at Kansas Speedway for his first Truck Series victory Friday night, then ran into a rather unexpected problem when the 18-year-old finished a victory lap.
''I didn't even know how to do a burnout,'' he said with a grin. ''I just kind of found the gears and watched the smoke come out the back. It was pretty cool.''
Pretty cool for team owner Kyle Busch, too, who doused him once they reached Victory Lane.
Byron had built a nearly 5-second lead before Tyler Reddick spun with four to go, bunching the field up for a green-white-checkered finish. Byron got shuffled to third behind Johnny Sauter and Ben Rhodes on a restart, but he was ready to pounce when the two ahead of him got together in Turn 4 on the final lap.
''It was crazy, the last couple of restarts,'' Byron said. ''I had the lead there on the last green-flag run and I was just praying for no cautions. But you know, you have to earn it.''
The North Carolina driver was making his fifth start in the series.
Matt Crafton rallied after his own late spin and wound up second, Daniel Hemric was third and Christopher Bell - Byron's teammate with Kyle Busch Motorsports - finished in fourth. Clint Bowyer rounded out the top five in his first Truck Series race in two years.
''That last restart was just chaos,'' said Crafton, who led a race-high 57 laps. ''I shoved it three-wide and was like, `Yeah, this probably isn't the way to go.'''
The race was wild right from the start, when Reddick made an audacious three-wide pass to take the lead. He remained there as the field began to string out during a long green-flag run that triggered the caution clock.
After the mandatory pit stops, the wrecking ensued.
Points leader John Hunter Nemecheck got into John Wes Townley shortly after the restart, and Townley slid along the wall before hitting Parker Kligerman. The impact sent Kligerman barreling into the outside wall.
''It was a hard it,'' said Kligerman, who had been second in points. ''Wrong place at the wrong time.''
Spencer Gallagher got sideways a few minutes later. Brandon Brown did likewise. And Mike Bliss and Jordan Anderson made contact during a three-wide move that triggered yet another caution.
Another caution-clock stop came with about 46 laps left, and that caused even more trouble, because several trucks were right at the end of their fuel window and ran out before they could make pit road.
Crafton, the two-time series champion, had been dominating the middle portion of the race, but he got pushed out of the way when the green flag flew once more. Byron went to the front and Bell began to give chase, the two teammates pulling away until Reddick got sideways with four laps to go.
That set up the wild green-white-checkered dash to the finish.
''I was 6-years old watching truck races. I didn't start racing until I was 14,'' said Byron, who finished third at Martinsville in his last race. ''This is a dream.''