Byron Scores Third Victory of 2017 at Indy
INDIANAPOLIS— Battling a bad vibration towards the end of the event and a late race charge by Paul Menard that required blocking, William Byron was victorious in the Lilly Diabetes 250 from Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
“This is so cool. This is awesome,” Byron stated post-race. “I’ve never been to a Brickyard 400 or an Indy 500 but I watched it as kid. It takes a lot to win these races and to win here is so special.”
This is Byron’s third win of 2017. He is the youngest winner in the NASCAR Xfinity Series at Indianapolis. Byron also won the first stage scoring six playoff points on the weekend.
After a late race charge, Menard came up short to finish in the second position.
“We had long run speed. We didn’t fire off that fast. After five to 10 laps, we started getting tight. I thought we had a shot at William. He made it stick. He won. Congratulations to him. I think he is going to be ok,” said Menard.
Being up front all day, Joey Logano finished in the third position.
“Had to race really smart. We may not have had the fastest Ford, but we had a good restart at the beginning for track position. Our put crew did a great job maintaining that position. If you start losing momentum, you lose five to six spots. I was being smart inside the car,” said Logano.
Elliott Sadler, Cole Custer, Ryan Reed, Brennan Poole, Daniel Hemric, Brandon Jones, and Ty Dillon rounded out the top-10.
The race saw a record of 16 lead changes among eight different drivers. Kyle Busch led 44 laps, the most of any driver on the day. The average speed of the race was 124.030 mph. The margin of victory was.108 seconds, the closest finish at Indianapolis for the Xfinity Series. 19 cars finished on the lead lap.
Next up for the NASCAR Xfinity Series is a trip to Iowa Speedway on July 29th at 3:30 p.m. ET for the US Cellular 250 Presented by American Ethanol. The race will be on NBC and Motor Racing Network.
Sadler Scores First 2017 Pole At IMS
INDIANAPOLIS— Elliott Sadler will start from the pole from Indianapolis Motor Speedway in the running of the Lilly Diabetes 250. Sadler was able to beat Erik Jones at the line by .004 seconds to score his first pole of 2017.
Sadler posted the second fastest speed in the first round of qualifying at 164.760 mph. E. Jones was the fastest in the opening round at 165.089 mph. William Byron was third fastest in the opening round at 164.045 mph. Michael Annett was fourth fastest at 164.045 mph. Kyle Busch rounded out the top-five in the opening round at 163.931 mph.
For Ky. Busch, he was attempting to go for his fourth straight pole at Indianapolis in the NASCAR Xfinity Series. However, that streak is came to an end in the second round of qualifying. Busch posted the 11th fastest speed in the round at 163.610 mph.
Sadler will start from the pole. E. Jones will start second. Byron will start third with his speed of 164.573 mph. Justin Allgaier will start fourth with his speed of 164.402 mph. Annett will round out the top-five with his speed of 164.258 mph.
Cole Custer, Matt Tifft, Ryan Sieg, Ben Kennedy, and Ryan Reed round out the top-10.
The Lilly Diabetes 250 from Indianapolis will be broadcasted on NBCSN and IMS Radio Network at 3:30 p.m. ET.
Hamlin Explains Eldora Infrastructure Comments From Wednesday
INDIANAPOLIS— As the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series finished the Fifth Annual Eldora Dirt Derby from Eldora Speedway on Wednesday, there were many claims that the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series and NASCAR Xfinity Series should look at special events like the Trucks have at Eldora.
For Denny Hamlin, the question pops out of whether or not the infrastructure is there to compete at tracks like Eldora. When it comes to infrastructure, Hamlin is talking about the garage area, amenities at the track for sponsors, and the amount of equipment the traveling circus brings to each event.
Hamlin would love to see the Cup series return to places like North Wilkesboro and Rockingham, but sees it as not feasible for today’s NASCAR.
“I think the truck series carries one certain amount of circus to it. With the Cup series, it is times 10. It would be tough as much as the Cup series has grown to bring that traveling circus to short track somewhere to be able to put on a show that makes sense, organized,” said Hamlin. “Does Eldora have timing and scoring loops or not? Probably not. When it gets down the nitty gritty of the Cup races and we are arguing who is leading at the line at this point or that point. How does that work with a track that doesn’t have scoring loops. I know Wilkesboro doesnt’t. That’s what I mean by infrastructure.”
When it comes to amenities, Hamlin looks at what each track can bring to a sponsor and ultimately the fans.
“Its tough to get these sponsors to come to these race tracks unless the amenities are about here (Indianapolis) or Daytona. You wanna have really nice everything. It seems like some of those old tracks got phased out because they were antiquated,” said Hamlin.
Hamlin commends tracks like Phoenix Raceway and Richmond Raceway for upgrading their facilities to be the best for fans and sponsors.
“I like to see the new updates to tracks like Richmond. That’s state of the art. It’s going to bring a lot of new eyes and hopefully sponsors to those type race tracks,” said Hamlin.
Great Unknowns Minimized After Two NXS Practices for Drivers
INDIANAPOLIS— As the NASCAR Xfinity Series runs a new package this weekend at Indianapolis Motor Speedway for the Lilly Diabetes 250, many drivers saw a great unknown coming into the event. However, those unknowns have been minimized after two practice sessions on the infamous 2.5-mile speedway.
“I kinda had a head start on it. Testing in October, I kinda knew the direction they were going to go in. I wasn’t sure if they were going to pull the trigger. When they decided to make the change, I already knew what it was going to feel like,” said Blake Koch about his initial reaction to the package. “The track temperature here at Indy changes more than anywhere we go. When it was 65 degrees back in October, it was a totally different car.
For Justin Allgaier, the race will still provide some unknown for teams.
“I think there was a lot of unknowns. I think there still are some unknowns. I probably wasn’t as on board with it before we got here. Granted I have a fast race car. Of course, I am not disappointed in the package,” said Allgaier
The drivers and NASCAR have the same outlook on this package that it is for the fans that the sport puts on the best show the can.
My outlook on it is that for us we need to put on a great race for the fans. This racetrack, this area of the country, Indianapolis is a racing town. Indianapolis is built on that racing foundation. We need to put on the best race can. It doesn’t matter if we all drive pink race cars, we gotta put on the best race we can,” said Allgaier. “I applaud NASCAR for at least trying. At the end of the day, they spent a lot of money to make this happen. They put a lot of time, effort, and research into this. Will it fix it? I can’t tell you that will be the case. I tell you that the fans that come here, watch it on TV, if nothing else, it will be exciting,” said Allgaier.
Fans can watch qualifying for the Lilly Diabetes 250 at 12:30 p.m. EDT on NBCSN. The race will be broadcasted on NBCSN and the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Radio Network beginning at 3:30 p.m. EDT.
Auton Discusses New NXS Package at Indianapolis
INDIANAPOLIS— For the Lilly Diabetes 200 from Indianapolis Motor Speedway, the cars in the NASCAR Xfinity Series will have a different look when they hit the track for practice. Teams in the Xfinity garage will be running the 2016 splitter and spoiler, air ducts, and a restrictor plate in effort to create more passing and a better race.
Wayne Auton, Managing Director of the NASCAR Xfinity Series, emphasized on Friday morning that the changes were just for the Xfinity Series only.
“We did some extensive testing with sim work, we did a track test back in October before we went to the next race. This is all about the NASCAR Xfinity Series here at Indianapolis. I want to make that crystal clear,” said Auton.
In October, three teams came to Indianapolis to test the package. The drivers who participated in the test were Ryan Reed, Blake Koch, and Brandon Jones.
During the test, single car speeds were running around 56 seconds, but decreased to around 54 seconds when the cars were in a small pack.
“The one thing we did see was three cars running together once they got there cars dialed in is that halfway down the front stretch we had two cars lock up and run the single car down and pass them. We feel very confident that it will create some excitement to the race,” said Auton.
NASCAR added aero ducts in the same place where brake ducts went. The aero ducts are the most notable change according to Auton. Teams cannot make any changes to the aero ducts. NASCAR went to each shop over the past two months to make sure that the aero ducts would fit.
When it comes to returning to the 2016 splitter and spoiler, Wayne Auton said the teams still had those pieces still in the shop from last season. The spoiler and splitter were added to create some balance and wake to create some passing.
“The bigger spoiler it gets the balance back in the car, but we had to add the splitter to the front end to keep the balance there. The bigger spoiler will also make the wake. it’s a combination of the four ingredients on the car that make this package work.”
As teams look for ways to cut costs, NASCAR fully funded the effort this weekend at Indianapolis. Teams only had to build the cars to where NASCAR could place the appropriate parts.
“We supplied the ducts, the foam sealant, and all the bolts. The teams had absolutely no costs in the parts and pieces on the car. They had the spoilers and splitters from last year. We had the ducts in our possession at all times. Nobody could get their hands on them. We personally put them in every car here today.”
Auton emphasized that this was a collaborative effort amongst all partners. Auton stressed that everyone wants this package to work. NASCAR will constantly be in the garage talking to teams and sharing information across manufacturer lines in an effort to make this package work. “The teams were very instrumental in this package. They were all in,” said Auton.
After the event, NASCAR will talk to teams after the event to determine if the package was successful or not. However, Auton emphasized it will be what the fans thought about the event.
“It’s going to be hard to say if this will be a successful race or not. We will talk to fans and see what they say about it. We are very excited about it. It has been awhile since I have been excited about getting to a racetrack to try something new,”
When asked if this package could potentially be used in future races this season or in 2018, Auton stated, “Let’s concentrate on Indianapolis right now. This is a big test for us to. The results of that test in October showed it was the right way to go. We will be out in the garage listening to the drivers to see if we need to make any adjustments before tomorrow,” said Auton.
Ultimately, Auton hopes that it “is going to better than what we saw with three drivers at the test.”