Richmond, Va. (September 11, 2015) --- Rain ended the UNOH 100 early in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series race at Richmond International Raceway on Thursday night. It turned out to a lucky break for William Byron and the No. 9 Liberty University Chevrolet. Byron started on the pole, led several laps and finished sixth. Byron told the team following the first caution, the handling on the car had changed, and the team determined post race there was a slow leak in the right rear tire that would have forced him down pit road if the race went the scheduled distance
"We had a great race going tonight in the Liberty University Chevy," said Byron. "Unfortunately we had a tire going down, but the rain ended up being a blessing because it wouldn't have lasted until the end. I'm happy to bring home a sixth-place finish for our team and we're looking forward to Dover."
Byron stepped foot into Richmond International Raceway for the first time on Friday morning, and after just his third lap around the .75-mile track, set the fastest lap of the day. He finished atop the leader board in the first practice session, told his team he loved the track and was confident about the race.
Qualifying was rained out later that afternoon and owner points set the 35-car field. Byron, the current points leader, started the scheduled 100-lap race from the pole position. The green flag waved and Byron set out to an early lead in the Liberty University Chevrolet. He led the first 18 laps when the caution flag waved for a spin on the backstretch. Racing resume on lap 26, and William reported the car was much tighter that run. He was passed by eventual race winner Austin Hill and slid back to fourth.
Byron ran in the fourth position for several laps, but told crew chief Kevin Bellicourt it felt like the car was losing power and extremely tight. He dropped two additional spots just before the caution flag waved for rain on lap 62. NASCAR called the race on lap 70, still 30 laps shy of the schedule distance. Byron was credited with a sixth-place finish.
During post-race tear down by the No.9 HScott Motorsports with Justin Marks team, the crew determined Byron must have picked up some debris on his right rear tire during the first caution period on lap 18. The tire had just 9 pounds of air pressure left in it, when it usually contains over 30. The rain was a fortunate break for the championship contender, as the tire probably would have only lasted a few more laps.
There is just one race left on the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East schedule to determine the series Champion. Byron has a 13-point lead over teammate Scott Heckert and a 14-point lead over Austin Hill. The Liberty University car hits the track at Dover International Speedway in Delaware on October 2 for the season finale.
The race from Richmond International Raceway is scheduled to air on Wednesday, September 16 at 7 pm on NBC Sports Network.
2015 NASCAR K&N Pro Series East Standings - As of 9/11/15
|Pos||Driver Name||Points||Starts||Wins||Top 5||Top 10|
|1||William Byron *||510||13||4||5||10|
|4||Dalton Sargeant *||473||13||0||6||9|
|6||J.J. Haley *||453||13||0||6||9|
|7||Rico Abreu *||450||13||1||3||7|
|9||Kyle Benjamin *||415||12||1||3||6|
|11||Collin Cabre *||376||13||0||1||2|
|12||David Garbo, Jr. *||369||13||0||1||2|
|13||Dillon Bassett *||364||11||1||2||4|
|14||Devon Amos *||335||13||0||0||1|
|15||Ronnie Bassett, Jr.||324||11||0||2||3|
|18||Christian Celaya *||265||11||0||0||0|
|22||Codie Rohrbaugh *||144||5||0||0||1|
|25||J.P. Morgan *||122||5||0||0||0|
|* - Denotes Sunoco Rookie of the Year|