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XFINITY

Strong Texas Run Shows Byron Adapting Well

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One of William Byron’s greatest strengths is his ability to adapt to change well. Not being phased by the challenges associated with quickly moving through racing’s ranks has been key to success early in his career.

In just his second K&N Pro Series East start, he captured a victory. When he moved up to the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series last season, it only took him four races to score a win.

Now he’s excelling in the NASCAR XFINITY Series and continued to impress at Texas Motor Speedway.

Byron qualified fifth and quickly advanced to third by Lap 10. He finished Stage 1 in fourth after remaining in the top-five throughout the stage.

Strategy came into play to begin Stage 2 as the No. 9 Axalta Chevrolet took just two tires and won the race off pit road. He led early in the stage but fell back to fifth with 25 laps remaining.

Byron mounted a comeback late in the stage and was in second when a caution came out with seven laps to go. He opted to stay out while some leaders pitted and inherited the top spot with three laps to go.

Byron went onto capture the Stage 2 victory and picked up his first playoff point of the season. He now pitted under caution, shuffling him back to 12th for the restart.

The JR Motorsports driver climbed forward throughout the Final Stage and finished seventh. While finishing outside the top-five wasn’t representative of his day, Byron made his presence known throughout the event.

“I feel like we had a top-five car for sure and just got back in traffic and it’s hard to pass with one lane right now,” Byron said. “It didn’t play out the way we wanted it to with the pit strategy but got some valuable points and overall pretty good day.”

It marked his fifth top-five result through six races in 2017, and this consistency has placed him second in points, just six markers behind teammate Elliott Sadler.

Byron is known for winning races early when competing in a new series, and it may not be much longer before he breaks through for a victory.

April has historically been a good month for the No. 9 JRM car. In 2014, Chase Elliott captured his first career series win at Texas and then won again during the following week at Darlington. 

Byron has two more opportunities this month at Bristol and Richmond. While Byron will visit Richmond for just the second time in his career, it may provide a better chance as JRM has won two of the last three races at the short track.

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Jason Schultz

Jason Schultz aspires to enter the public relations field of NASCAR. Schultz, 19, attends UNC Charlotte and is a communication studies major with a focus in public relations. In addition to contributing to POPULAR SPEED, Schultz produces podcasts for Dale Earnhardt Jr.'s Dirty Mo Radio. He also completed a semester as a social media intern at Charlotte Motor Speedway. Each year, he volunteers as the social media correspondent for Autism Delaware's Drive for Autism golf tournament featuring NASCAR personalities and the AAA 400 Drive for Autism Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series race at Dover.