Tha Sports Junkies 101

William Byron Wins Xfinity Series Championship



At only 19 years old, William Byron is now a NASCAR Xfinity Series champion. By finishing 3rd in Saturday night’s Ford Ecoboost 300 at Homestead-Miami Speedway, Byron was able to beat his 3 competitors to the title.

1 short year ago, Byron was a rookie in the Truck Series. He had a breakout season, winning 7 times, but failing to capture the series crown. For 2017, Bryon jumped up to the Xfinity Series as a rookie for Jr Motorsports. After some early season struggles, Byron won 4 times. These wins included major races at Daytona and Indianapolis.

Homestead Race Recap

4 drivers entered Saturday night racing for a championship. These included JRM teammates William Byron, Elliott Sadler, Justin Allgaier, and Richard Childress racing’s Daniel Hemric. Aside from these 4, there were plenty of other fast cars looking to win at Homestead.

Stewart-Haas Racing rookie Cole Custer started the day from the pole position. At 19 years old, Custer narrowly missed advancing to the Championship 4 one week ago in Phoenix. In short, Custer put on a driving clinic in Homestead. He won both stages, led a race-record 182 laps, and won by nearly 16 seconds.

Championship Battle

The Championship 4 all started the race in mixed positions. Ranging from 4th to 16th, some drivers had bigger hurdles to overcome than others. Daniel Hemric stunned everyone in qualifying by running the 4th-best lap, ahead of his 3 JRM rivals. Hemric showed great speed early on, he was leading the championship in Stage 1.

However, Hemric’s title hopes would come to an abrupt end on lap 63. He was forced to pit with battery issues. His team was able to change the battery, but he lost several laps. This unfortunate turn of events clinched the championship for Jr Motorsports, as the 3 remaining contenders were all JRM cars.

Much like the Truck Series race the night before, this race was defined by long green flag runs. Other than the 2 Stage breaks, there was only 1 other caution.

Byron and Sadler would swap the championship position multiple times throughout the race. The veteran and rookie teammates raced each other hard but cleanly all night long. They both made contact with the wall on multiple occasions but saved it.

With only 6 laps remaining, Sadler made his way to Byron. He was trying to pull off a pass on Ryan Preece, but was unable to complete the pass. Due to the loss of momentum, Byron squeaked by Sadler for the top spot in the championship. Sadler would blame his loss in the championship on Preece racing him too hard. After the race, Sadler and Preece exchanged words in a heated context. Race officials were there to prevent any further altercations.

The top 10 finishers in Saturday’s Xfinity finale were Custer, Sam Hornish Jr, Byron, Tyler Reddick, Ryan Preece, Brennan Poole, Matt Tifft, Elliott Sadler, Michael Annett, and Ty Majeski. Due to the blistering pace set by Custer, only 8 cars finished on the lead lap.

The Championship 4 drivers finished 3rd, 8th, 12th, and 34th. Allgaier had a mediocre day at best, running in the back half of the top 10 all race long. He did not have the speed to contend against Byron or Sadler.

William Byron marks the 2nd champion to come from Jr Motorsports, along with Chase Elliott. he is also the second-youngest Xfinity Series champion, at the age of 19 years, 11 months, 20 days. He will take this Xfinity title with him as a rookie next year in the Cup Series.

In closing, the Xfinity Series championship battle was one for the ages. The race was very unpredictable and action-packed. In the end, 1 rookie got their first career win, and another one was crowned champion. This race was a microcosm for the whole season, as there were 18 different winners in 2017. This parity was a great sight to see, as the health of the Xfinity Series appears to be in good hands.