Brandon Breaks Through: McReynolds Outduels Byron to Take Maiden K&N Victoryby Kyle Pokrefky May 16, 2015 1 comment
NEWTON, Iowa — Prior to Saturday’s Casey’s General Stores 150 at Iowa Speedway, Brandon McReynolds had entered 33 races in both of the NASCAR K&N Pro Series divisions with no victories for the 24-year-old.
At the conclusion of Saturday night’s 150-lap race, McReynolds turned that 0-for-33 figure into 1-for-34.
McReynolds successfully out-dueled pole winner William Byron to score his first career K&N Pro Series win, taking over the lead with seven laps to go after an aggressive move made on a restart.
Byron gave it his all with several crossover attempts yet wound up unsuccessful in trying to repass McReynolds’s No. 16 NAPA Auto Parts Toyota.
McReynolds admitted in his post-race presser that this victory was anything but easy and that he picked up a few tricks from a current NASCAR star that helped him into victory lane.
“It was definitely hard fought, that’s for sure,” McReynolds said. “The No. 9 [Byron] and I were kind of battling back and forth between whoever could have clean air. I think that was pretty apparent just watching the race. I knew that whoever could get a good jump on the last restart was probably going to come away with the victory. It’s just kind of whoever could get out there and pace themselves.
“William did a really good job. I kind of joked in victory lane that I tried pulling a Kasey Kahne a little bit, watching him in the Truck race last night on the restarts and seeing how he’d side draft some guys. I probably didn’t do as good of a job as he did but I tried to apply some of those things I was watching there, so I think that helped. So, I’ve got to thank him for showing some of his tricks.”
Although he dominated the race and appeared to be on his way to his second K&N East victory of the year, Byron stated that he has no big issues with finishing second (although he was the highest finishing K&N East driver.)
“It’s a little bit disappointing,” Byron stated. “We kind of fell off a little bit at the end but we had a pretty good car the whole race. I’m just proud of my team.
“I hadn’t seen this race track before today and we worked really hard to adjust on the car throughout practice and we’ve got the East win – I guess you could call it – it’s kind of disappointing to come home second but I’m just glad to be here, honestly.”
Late in the race, McReynolds was able to get right on the back bumper of Byron’s No. 9 car with the help of lapped traffic at end of a long green-flag run after the halfway break.
Even after having what was a double-digit car length lead shrink to less than a single car length, Byron stated in his post-race press conference that he’s blaming lapped traffic for his loss of the race lead.
“I mean, they’re trying their best, so I can’t blame anybody there,” Byron said. “I just have to get a little bit better at getting runs on people and when he started to close the gap, I did. It was tough, some of the guys on the outside and some of them were a lot slower and two to three laps down.
“Everyone’s here just to race and I treat everybody the same and it was fine.”
Rounding out the top-10 of the finishing order were Ronnie Bassett Jr., Jesse Little, Christopher Bell, J.J. Haley, Noah Gragson, Scott Heckert, Kyle Benjamin and Austin Hill.
Five cautions (excluding the halfway break) flew during the 150-lap race with the final caution of the night including a brief red flag period.
Two tire-related issues brought out the first two cautions of the night with Gray Gaulding and James Bickford respectively bringing out each yellow.
An accident between Rob Powers and Johnny White was the cause for the third yellow flag of the night while another tire-related issue – this time for Dillon Bassett – brought out caution No. 4.
A solo accident by Rico Abreu brought out the final caution of the night with the red flag being displayed to allow safety crews to clean the Turn 1 area where Abreu hit. Abreu got out of his car under his own power and was checked and released from the infield care center.
The NASCAR K&N Pro Series West will next head to Shasta Speedway for a May 30th race while the East division heads to Bowman Gray Stadium for a race on the same day.
A replay of the Casey’s General Stores 150 will air on NBC Sports Network on Friday, May 22nd after the Anaheim Ducks v. Chicago Blackhawks NHL playoff game.
Top-10 Finishers of the Casey’s General Stores 150
- 16 – Brandon McReynolds – Toyota – Bill McAnally Racing
- 9 – William Byron – Chevrolet – HScott Motorsports with Justin Marks
- 04 – Ronnie Bassett Jr. – Ford – Ronnie Bassett Sr.
- 97 – Jesse Little – Toyota – Jason Little
- 54 – Christopher Bell – Toyota – Bill McAnally Racing
- 5 – J.J. Haley – Chevrolet – HScott Motorsports with Justin Marks
- 7 – Noah Gragson – Ford – Jerry Pitts
- 34 – Scott Heckert – Chevrolet – HScott Motorsports with Justin Marks
- 27 – Kyle Benjamin – Ford – Benjamin Motorsports
- 22 – Austin Hill – Ford – Bryan Hill
Photo credit: Kyle Pokrefky/The Fourth Turn