William Byron holds off a late race charge from John Hunter Nemechek and Daniel Hemric to win the Buckle Up Your Truck 225 at Kentucky Speedway. This is Byron’s fourth win of 2016, and Kyle Busch Motorsports 51st career win, becoming the winningest team in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series.
“I can’t say enough about this organization. It’s so awesome to have Kyle (Busch, owner) and Samantha’s support, Toyota’s support with great Toyota Tundras and great JGR (Joe Gibbs Racing Engines) tonight. It’s a dream come true to get a win like this. It just keeps going, I have a great team behind me. I have to thank Liberty University and everyone that puts it together,” said William Byron post-race.
The Buckle Up in Your Truck 225 went the advertised distance of 150 laps. The race saw 9 lead changes among six different drivers. William Byron led the most laps throughout the race with 70 laps followed by, Daniel Suarez (59), Johnny Sauter (14), Timothy Peters (5), and Tyler Reddick and Tommy Joe Martins both led one lap.
The caution flag flew five times for a total of 32 laps. The first caution of the day occurred from lap 27 to 35 from oil laid down on the track by Brett Moffitt. Debris found in turn one brought out the second caution. The third and fourth caution were brought out by accidents on the speedway. The final caution of the night flew due to the expiration of the caution clock.
William Byron leads the points standings by 13 over Matt Crafton, followed by, Daniel Hemric (-17), Timothy Peters (-17), and Johnny Sauter (-30).
Byron tends to the top seeding in the Camping World Truck Series Chase with four wins on the season. Matt Crafton holds the second spot with two wins, Johnny Sauter, John Hunter Nemechek, and Christopher Bell all have one win that clinched their spot in the Chase.
Inspection at the track received the all clear. No trucks are being taken back to the NASCAR R&D Center in North Carolina.
The average speed of tonight’s race was 116.698 MPH. Time of the race was 1 hour, 55 minutes, and 41 seconds. The margin of victory from William Byron over John Hunter Nemechek was .190 seconds.
The NASCAR Camping World Truck Series will take 13 days off before returning to Eldora Speedway on July 20, the only race of 2016 on dirt. Coverage will be on Fox Sports 1 and Motor Racing Network.
Tires are a major concern this weekend at Kentucky Speedway. Goodyear had a tire test and noticed some blistering happening within the tires, which resulted in the tire compound to be changed last minute. Goodyear has asked teams to scuff their tires. Because of this last minute change, NASCAR has given teams in all three series an extra set of tires.
For the Sprint Cup Series, the left side tires are the same ones used at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. The right side tires are a single tread version of the tires used at Michigan. Cup teams have six sets for practice and qualifying. Teams were given six sets of tires for practice and qualifying and 11 sets for the race.
For the Xfinity Series, the right side tires feature the multi-zone tread, similar to what was used at Las Vegas Motor Speedway in March. The left side tire used this weekend at Michigan is the same as the Sprint Cup. 10 sets of tires were given.
For the Camping World Truck Series, the left side tires are the same as Cup and Xfinity. The right side tires are the same as Xfinity. Teams were given 8 sets for the whole event.
Goodyear is awaiting teams to have long runs to see how the tires are holding up.
Carl Edwards in his media availability stated, “For us, we scuffed a bunch of tires. While we’re doing that, I’m looking at the little nuances of the track, where are the bumps, the grip level, exactly where is the speed. This track is difficult. Determining how you’re going to balance the car to be aggressive and how loose you need to be here or there, it’s kind of hard to figure it out, but that’s what I was working on.”
Austin Dillon was made available to the media early in the day. Dillon talks about Kentucky and the 2016 season.
When asked about the first half of 2016 and his outlook on Kentucky, Dillon stated, “For us it’s an opportunity I think coming to a track that is freshly paved. The racing has been pretty solid this year. We look at this as an opportunity for us coming to a place that not anybody has a real true advantage. There are some guys that tested here, but as far as the banking and the layout of the track, I’ve been pretty fast here. I’m looking forward to this weekend’s race and the opportunities it brings. It was nice getting in the Xfinity car and kind of learning a little bit before we get in the Cup car. I think it will be interesting for sure come Saturday night.”
Dillon was also asked about the difference between 2015 Kentucky and 2016 Kentucky. "“Yeah, it is still very unique. The way the banking enters Turn 3 it’s a flat corner and in (Turns) 1 and 2 is very high banked. You run wide open getting through 1 and 2. In 3 and 4 you kind of have to back up your corner and figure out how to carry momentum and speed because of the banking. I think it’s still Kentucky. There are just not as many bumps and a lot of grip right now. I do think that the way it’s paved, eventually the higher line in 3 and 4 will come into play. “
Dillon also talked about how he believes the low downforce package would come into affect this weekend. “I think you will see similar racing that you saw at Michigan. I think getting underneath a car is going to be the hardest part. I think you will be able to run closer to guys, but exit of the corner will be tough. Carrying speed off of Turn 4 is going to be tough like Brad (Keselowski) was saying. Entering (Turns) 3 and 4 will be a challenge and then exiting beside somebody. But, with all the grip I think it will be very similar to any package that is out there because you have a lot of grip right now. Hopefully, it does present some passing lanes as we move throughout the weekend and create a strong race for us.”
Austin Dillon believes that racing in Friday’s Alsco 300 will be a benefit to him in Sunday’s Quaker State 400. "Definitely hope it’s the advantage I think it is. Not only that it’s just good for me to be prepared when I get in that Cup car to be ready to go.”
Since the last time the NASCAR circuit was at Kentucky Speedway, changes have been made. These changes were necessary for the facility that was incepted in 2000.
Despite the traffic concerns that ensued on their inaugural race for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, Kentucky had more issues within the racing surface. Drainage issues and a rough track surface were the culprit for a new Kentucky Speedway.
When Kentucky announced they were going to repave the track, they also announced that they will reconfigure the track as well during the repave.
What did the repave and reconfiguration project include?
29,700 feet of draining pipe will be included in the subsurface draining system. An addition of 3200 feet of SAFER Barrier was added, in addition to the 2500 feet installed in 2015. SAFER Barriers cover 11,300 feet of the wall, resulting in nearly all the walls being covered by SAFER. The apron of turns one and two and the pit exit drive line were widened from 14 feet to 30 feet. The track was narrowed in turns one and two from 74 feet to 56 feet. The banking was increased from 14 to 17 degrees. Over 17,000 tons of asphalt was poured over the entire 1.5-mile facility.
Work began on Kentucky Speedway with the removal of the SAFER Barriers in January. Once SAFER was removed, work on the drainage system occurred. At the end of April, the repave began and was completed in May.
Surveying, track design, and layout was done by Line and Grade. Grading, excavating, under drain, and soil stabilizing was done by Baker’s Construction Services. Ohio Valley Asphalt provided the mix for paving. SAFER Barriers were provided by Southern Bleacher and Seal Pro.
A standard racing asphalt mix was used to pave the track with a minor tweak for surface wear. A curing process was used to help age the track to be “seasoned” by this weekend.
Changes to the pit lane were made because the exit was narrow making traffic merges nearly impossible. This allowed for a shorter racing groove and steeper banking in the turns. The first and second turns are considered more difficult than three and four.
"I am excited about the finished product as we wanted to present a unique challenge to the drivers," project manager Steve Swift said, vice president of operations and development for parent company Speedway Motorsports Inc. "This design, with Turns 1 and 2 completely different than 3 and 4 accomplishes that goal. The big winner will be the race fan."
The NASCAR Xfinity Series bluegrasses into the 1.5-mile Kentucky Speedway for the 16th annual Alsco 300, the 16th race of the 2016 season. 40 cars are slated to compete for 40 spots in Friday evening’s events. This is the first of two trip for the NASCAR Xfinity Series to Kentucky Speedway. Friday night’s race will be 200 laps and 300 miles.
The top drivers at Kentucky Speedway for the NASCAR Xfinity Series are Austin Dillon, Joey Logano, Kyle Busch, Brad Keselowski, and Kevin Harvick, all are regulars in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series. The top Xfinity regular is Ty Dillon.
There have been 14 pole winners at Kentucky. Joey Logano, who won the pole in 2008, is the youngest, and Jay Sauter, who won the pole in 2001, is the oldest pole winner. Kentucky Speedway has seen 12 different winners in 19 races. Joey Logano, who won in 2008, is the youngest winner, and Brendan Gaughan, who won in 2014, is the oldest winner. Six races have been one from the pole. The last race won from the pole was in 2012 by Austin Dillon. Dillon also holds the race record set in 2012 with a speed of 151.643 mph. Carl Edwards see the qualifying record in 2005 with a speed of 181.287 mph.
Elliott Sadler, who has one win in 2016, explains what the new surface means. “The surface is new to everyone. We are all going in with a blank notebook. We know it’s going to be fast and smooth. The unknown is what makes it fun and exciting for this weekend. We want to unload fast and adapt as quickly as we can to what we feel like the car will need during the race. Kevin (Meendering) and I are really looking forward to it.”
Bubba Wallace Jr., who was fined by NASCAR this week, explains what it means to race at Kentucky. “Kentucky is going to be fast. That new pavement will mean that the inside line will be key all race long. Hopefully we will have a strong Ford EcoBoost Ford that will get up front and we can contend for the win come the end of the night.”
Austin Dillon ponders on what it means to race at Kentucky. "I love Kentucky Speedway. I had my first two NASCAR XFINITY Series wins there. I didn't run the XFINITY Series car there last year, but I'm ready to get back to Kentucky this weekend with the No. 2 Rheem team. We'll have a lot of track time on Thursday to get used to the new surface. Danny (Stockman, crew chief) and the guys have been working really hard and I'm sure we'll unload a fast Chevrolet.”
The NASCAR Xfinity Series will have three practice session on Thursday on NBCSN. Qualifying will be Friday afternoon at 4:45 pm on NBCSN. The Alsco 300 will be live on NBCSN and Performance Racing Network on Friday evening beginning at 8:30 pm.