Hickory, N.C. (April 27, 2014)---William Byron captured his first career NASCAR Whelen All-American Series pole in just his fifth start in a full-size stock car at Hickory (N.C.) Motor Speedway on Saturday night. Byron led several laps in the 100-lap event before finishing third in the No. 9 Liberty University car for JR Motorsports (JRM).
“To get my first Late Model pole is an awesome feeling,” said the 16-year-old Byron. “I’m getting better at qualifying as I learn the stock cars. The team gave me a great car and I was able to hit a great lap. I can’t thank them all enough.”
Byron led the 21-car field to the green flag and ran up front for the first 10 laps. He settled into the second position after being passed by the No. 7 car while trying to save his tires for the long race. Byron took over the top spot again on the lap 21 restart following one of only two cautions in the race. His veteran teammate and eventual winner Josh Berry got around Byron and the JRM pair held the top two spots for the next 40 laps.
With 30 to go, Dillon Bassett got around Byron while he battled a loose-handling car and he settled into the third position. The top three cars were in a class of their own and maneuvered through lapped traffic at the end of the race. Byron crossed the finish line in the third position while Berry earned the win for JRM.
“It felt great to lead laps in the Liberty University car,” said Byron. “The No. 7 car was running faster than I wanted to that early in the race so I let him go. I retook the lead on a caution around lap 21 and restarted on the bottom in first. The track was covered with speedy dry from the most recent caution so the bottom groove was slow. My teammate Josh passed me from second to take the lead and I ended up finishing third behind Josh and Dillon. I learned a ton by following those two throughout the race and know it’s just a matter of time before we put the No. 9 car in victory lane.”
Byron has finished on the podium in all four late model starts at Hickory Motor Speedway this season. He will make his fifth start at the .363-mile asphalt oval next Saturday, May 3.