After leading the most laps in the first two eNASCAR iRacing Pro Invitational Series races, William Byron was finally able to seal the deal in Sunday’s Food City Showdown at the virtual Bristol Motor Speedway.
Byron, who started from the pole and led 116 laps, took the lead for the final time with 42 laps to go when he got by Chris Buescher following a restart and went on to score his first series win ahead of John Hunter Nemechek.
"I thought we had a pretty solid race," said Byron, who recorded his his 309th iRacing win in his 1,499th start. "Obviously there was a lot to kind of decipher through and try to get through, but I thought we stayed up close to the front. We had the one tire strategy call that got us back to the top five and then we just had to work through the top five methodically after that.
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Byron became the third different winner in as many iRacing Pro Invitational Series races. He led a combined 108 laps in the previous two races at the virtual Homestead-Miami and Texas Motor Speedway.
"To finally close the deal this week was really awesome," Byron said. "I think it just is cool to see the hard work kind of pay off from obviously myself but the guys behind the scenes that are working with my esports team and stuff like that, It’s cool and it’s great for AXALTA and gives me some confidence, so I like that."
Nemechek’s runner-up was his best finish of the season and second consecutive top 10.
Last week’s winner Timmy Hill was third with Homestead-Miami winner Denny Hamlin in fourth and Matt DiBenedetto rounding out the top five.
Ryan Preece, Parker Kligerman, Tyler Reddick, Garrett Smithley and Michael McDowell completed the top 10.
Hill is the only driver that has finished in the top five in all three races while Preece and Smithley are the only to have top 10s in each.
Buescher led 30 laps after staying out under caution on Lap 80. He finished 23rd after getting swept up in an incident between Penske teammates Joey Logano and Brad Keselowski late in the race.
The race featured 12 cautions for 66 laps.
One of those cautions resulted in Kyle Larson and Daniel Suarez being parked after retaliation under caution on Lap 71.
"I was waiting for iRacing to get him disqualified like I was last weekend in 5 seconds, but they never did," Suarez tweeted, "and by the way our "racing incident" was him pushing me to the apron… if this was real life my amigo would get his but kicked."
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The starting lineup for the race was set by a pair of 50-lap heat races. Byron, who was the fastest in qualifying, won the first heat and Nemechek won the second race in a photo finish over Preece.