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William Byron certainly wasn’t the favorite heading into the Toyota Tundra 250 in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race at Kansas Speedway. Byron started on the front row along polesitter John Wes Townley but had never won a NCWTS race in his career and would have to go through many of the series’ veterans and other talented young drivers in order to make it to Victory Lane.
The 18-year-old driver led 34 laps en route to his first career victory in this series after contact between Johnny Sauter and Ben Rhodes in turn three on the final lap allowed third-place Byron to drive through to the lead. The race ended under caution, the field was frozen, and the No. 9 Toyota had the win.
“It’s awesome,” said Byron. “I mean, all the way from like the first race in Phoenix, I knew there was a lot to this. There are so many different ebbs and flows to the race. It’s just really important to keep your head in the game. I was really doing that tonight with the way the last 30 laps went tonight, with getting the lead and on that last restart falling back to third, it really was a lot. Just proud of this whole Liberty University team. We had a really fast Toyota Tundra. KBM is just really giving me a great platform.”
Byron did not just luck his way into the victory, however. Byron had a commanding lead when the second-to-last caution came out for a spin by Tyler Reddick while racing for position with Clint Bowyer. The caution for Reddick’s spin put the race into overtime.
On the restart, Sauter pulled through with the lead and Byron fell back to third. Rhodes moved into second. Heading into turns three and four, Rhodes drove into the back of Sauter, causing both cars to crash.
Behind Byron, Matt Crafton pulled through the carnage after a long day to finish second. Daniel Hemric, who had his own ups-and-downs finished third. Christopher Bell and Clint Bowyer rounded out the top five.
Ryan Truex came home sixth, followed by Cole Custer in seventh. After challenging for the lead earlier in the race, Peters had to settle for eighth. Ben Kennedy and Spencer Gallagher rounded out the top 10.
The 250-mile was stopped several times for various reasons. Nine cautions involved spins or crashes and twice the field was slowed because the caution clock expired, for a total of 11 cautions for 47 laps.
Aside from Sauter and Rhodes, drivers involved in wrecks included Rico Abreu (finished 22nd), John Wes Townley (26th), John Hunter Nemechek (28th), Parker Kligerman (31st), Gallagher (10th), and Reddick (13th).
With the victory, Byron has now qualified for the 2016 NCWTS Chase which begins this fall. Byron’s first career victory came in his fifth career start.
Following the calamity, Peters jumped two spots in the standings to take the points lead. He now holds an eight-point lead over Hemric. Truex is third, followed by Tyler Young and Nemechek.
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