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William Byron Dominates At Greenville-Pickens Speedway To Claim First NASCAR K&N Pro Series East Win

William Byron Dominates At Greenville-Pickens Speedway To Claim First NASCAR K&N Pro Series East Win

by April 5, 2015 0 comments

Photo Credit: Thomas Clanton

By: Hunter Thomas
Twitter: @HunterThomas08

EASLEY, SC – William Byron, 17-year old from Charlotte, N.C. led all 152 laps in the Kevin Whitaker Chevrolet 150 at Greenville-Pickens Speedway on Saturday night to claim his first career NASCAR K&N Pro Series East victory.

Out of the 14 NASCAR K&N Pro Series East events at Greenville-Pickens Speedway, 13 of those races featured a different winner. After leading flag-to-flag, William Byron joined Joey Logano, Austin Dillon, Darrell Wallace Jr., Brandon Gdovic and last year’s champion, Ben Rhodes in capturing his first series win at the .500-mile asphalt oval in South Carolina. Saturday night’s race marked Byron’s second career start in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East. He finished seventh in the season opener at New Smyrna back in February.

“I didn’t want anybody to get within like three car lengths or two car lengths because I feel like then they can taste it, and then they’d go after it harder,” Byron said after winning on Saturday night. “I felt like we brought a fast race car to the track, and it helped me a lot last year racing at Hickory Motor Speedway all year.”

In his first career NASCAR K&N Pro Series start, Daniel Hemric sat on the pole with William Byron alongside of him. At the start of the race, Byron quickly jumped to the race lead, and by lap 14, Hemric began fading deep inside the top-10.

The first caution of the night came out on lap 21 when Mike Senica spun in Turn 2. By lap 35, it was still Byron atop the leaderboard with J.J. Haley, Dalton Sargeant, Scott Heckert and Gray Gaulding right behind him.

Heckert who was strong early on pounded the outside wall in Turn1 to bring out the second caution. Unfortunately for Heckert, he was unable to drive away and had to settle for a 25th place finish. He took quite a hit in the championship point standings, falling from fourth, all the way down to 13th.

Just before the halfway break on lap 76, there were a series of cautions. Mike Senica spun in Turn 4 on lap 57, and J.P. Morgan, along with Travis Miller got together in Turn 2 to bring out the caution on lap 65.

At the halfway break, it was William Byron leading the field, followed by Gray Gaulding, Kaz Grala, J.J. Haley, and Dalton Sargeant rounding out the top-five. The field went back to green on lap 79, and began shuffling for position to finish out the dash to the finish.

“I hate to lose, and I had a shot at it, but we just needed to fine tune a little bit more in practice,” second place finisher, Gray Gaulding said. “I just kept getting tight in the middle, and that’s where he (William Byron) could beat me. This deal came in so late notice, leaving a team and coming to this one. The thing is we’re having fun, and when you have fun, you’re going to have success.”

On lap 116, the caution flew once again as Rev Racing’s Kenzie Ruston and Devon Amos, along with Travis Miller got together in Turn 4. The field got the green with only 27 laps to go. However, it wasn’t long before the caution was back out, this time, for David Garbo, Jr. spinning in Turn 4.

The eighth and final caution of the night came out when J.J. Haley spun around in Turn 2, setting the field up for a green-white-checkered finish. On the restart, it was William Byron on the outside with Dalton Sargeant on the inside. In the end, it was Byron on top, followed by Gray Gaulding, Dalton Sargeant, Austin Hill and Daniel Hemric.

“I just kind of gassed it up in the center of the corner to try and give a gap to myself, but I kind of overshot it a little bit and then had to use more brake – just whatever I could do to keep on the bottom,” Byron said about the green-white-checkered restart. “That was the key to winning the race.”

The NASCAR K&N Pro Series East will visit Bristol Motor Speedway on Saturday, April 18 for the PittLite 125.

Kevin Whitaker Chevrolet 150 Results:
1.) #9 William Byron
2.) #12 Gray Gaulding
3.) #51 Dalton Sargeant
4.) #22 Austin Hill
5.) #20 Daniel Hemric
6.) #3 Kaz Grala
7.) #15 Nick Drake
8.) #04 Ronnie Bassett Jr.
9.) #98 Rico Abreu
10.) #18 Peyton Sellers
11.) #81 Jeremy Burns
12.) #27 Kyle Benjamin
13.) #31 David Garbo Jr.
14.) #4 Kenzie Ruston
15.) #2 Collin Cabre
16.) #44 Dillon Bassett
17.) #49 John Holleman IV
18.) #5 J.J. Haley
19.) #6 Devon Amos
20.) #42 Jay Beasley
21.) #45 Christian Celaya
22.) #40 Travis Miller
23.) #23 J.P. Morgan
24.) #47 Mike Senica
25.) #34 Scott Heckert

NASCAR K&N Pro Series East Top-10 Point Standings:
1.) #22 Austin Hill 88
2.) #9 William Byron 85
3.) #51 Dalton Sargeant 83
4.) #12 Gray Gaulding 83
5.) #15 Nick Drake 73
6.) #27 Kyle Benjamin 71
7.) #44 Dillon Bassett 66
8.) #3 Kaz Grala 64
9.) #04 Ronnie Bassett Jr. 64
10.) #2 Kenzie Ruston 64

Hunter Thomas
Hunter Thomas is a journalist who grew up in Darlington, S.C. His first motorsports-based endeavor was working as the Public Relations Director at Dillon Motor Speedway in Dillon, S.C., and his journalism start came while he was freelancing at his hometown newspaper, the News & Press while in college.

Hunter has been working within the NASCAR industry since 2010, and throughout the years, he has done everything from PR/Marketing for drivers and teams in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, NASCAR XFINITY Series and NASCAR Camping World Truck Series, to working at Rockingham Speedway. As a journalist, Hunter has covered everything from regional short tracks to NASCAR, ARCA Racing Series, World of Outlaws, Red Bull Global Rallycross, NHRA and much more.

Follow Hunter Thomas on Twitter by following, @HunterThomas08

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