Just 18, William Byron already has a slice of NASCAR history.
Byron, the Charlotte native and promising young driver for Kyle Busch Motorsports, continued his dominance in the NASCAR Truck Series and won Saturday at Pocono Raceway for a rookie-record fifth time this season.
“These things don’t come easy at all,” Byron said. “It’s a good thing when you get one.”
One? Try five.
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Byron added the Pocono victory to wins at Kansas, Texas, Iowa and Kentucky. He surpassed Kurt Busch, the 2004 Sprint Cup champion, who had four wins as a rookie in 2000.
Byron survived a race that saw nearly half of its 60 laps run under caution. Cameron Hayley was second, followed by Brett Moffitt, Timothy Peters and Cole Custer.
“The No. 9 is really so fast,” Hayley said. “We have to go back and look at things. He’s definitely a step above us.”
At least Hayley was running up front at the end of the wreck-marred race. There were a whopping nine cautions – that kind of number not even usually found in the Sprint Cup race at Pocono – that allowed Christopher Bell to finish 10th, though he was five laps down at one point.
The race never ran more than eight laps without a caution.
Pagenaud on Mid-Ohio pole; Rahal looks to defend title: Graham Rahal grew up at this track.
The Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course is about an hour north of his home in suburban Columbus. And he watched his father, 1986 Indianapolis 500 winner Bobby Rahal, navigate its 13 turns.
Before that, Bobby Rahal’s father, Mike, also raced there.
“This track, probably to my dad, means more to him on a personal level than it does a driving standpoint,” Graham Rahal said Friday. “We all enjoy driving here, we all love this facility. If you go back to (track owner) Jim Trueman, my grandfather raced here in the early ‘60s. My dad raced here like ‘72.
“This is a special track to the Rahal family. It goes back to Jim Trueman and the opportunity he gave my dad to go racing.”
Bobby Rahal won two IndyCar races at Mid-Ohio and Graham finally joined him in the winner’s circle last year, his third victory in the series.
Rahal, driving for Rahal Letterman Lanigian Racing, will defend his Mid-Ohio title Sunday after qualifying Saturday for the sixth position on the outside of Row 3.
Series points leader Simon Pagenaud earned his sixth pole this year by setting a course record for the fastest lap at 127.271 mph. Team Penske teammate Will Power, who was has won three of the past four races, will join him on the front row.