NXS: Hamlin Handles the Field in Irish Hills 250

17 Jun 2017
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The final lap of the Irish Hills 250 was a shootout between the likes of Denny Hamlin and two JR Motorsports teammates William Byron and Elliott Sadler. In the end, it was Hamlin who emerged victorious. This is the first time the driver of the No. 20 Hisense 4K TV Toyota has taken home a race win this season in either the XFINITY Series or the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series. He led 34 laps.

“The Hisense 4K TV Camry was fast all day,” Hamlin told FS1 in Victory Lane. “Definitely didn’t want that debris caution at the end. I didn’t see it up in turn three, I was just hoping they weren’t going to call it but proud of this whole team. Pit stops were awesome. It definitely feels good.”

 Coming to the white flag, Byron looked to have his first XFINITY win in the bag but Hamlin nipped him on the last lap. Although Hamlin caught the XFINITY rookie at the wire, he still raced him respectfully. In fact, Hamlin had praise for Byron than himself.

“He did a great job,” Hamlin said. “I knew he had a really good car on that last long run. He was about to pass me. He’s one of NASCAR’s future superstars.”

“I wanted to race him clean,” Hamlin said, explaining the last lap. “I wasn’t going to turn him or anything like that. He got a little bit loose through (turns) one and two, that allowed me to get position. Into turn three, we both got sideways. He slid up just enough to let me barely get to that left rear. It was just enough to drag race past him.”

After a successful stint in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series a year ago, Byron has been showing promise in the NXS. The driver of the No. 9 Liberty University Chevrolet may not have gotten the job done today but it is only a matter of time before he will. He led eight laps today.

“We were so close,” Byron told FS1 post-race. “It hurts to be that close and not win but (Hamlin) just got the side draft off me off (turn) four and I just couldn’t quite get back to him to get to the line faster. It hurts but we’ll get one soon. This is how we need to run and we’ll keep running like this.”

Brad Keselowski started on the front row and won the first stage. When the checkered flag flew, the driver of the No. 22 Discount Tire Ford finished fourth.

“I think Denny was the class of the field there at the end,” Keselowski said after the race. “The next to the last restart, I thought I had the (No.) 9 cleared and he just got a big pull. He got up beside me and pulled a side draft.

Keselowski came up short after winning Pocono but the Michigan native was still pleased with his run. “It was a good run all in all, a lot to be proud of,” he said. He led the most laps of the day at 54.

Elliott Sadler finished third and retook the NXS points lead over Justin Allgaier who finished 16th in today’s event. The No. 1 One Main Financial driver also gained playoff points and now has three stage wins. He also led 14 laps.

Cole Custer finished 10th overall. The driver of the No. 00 Haas Automation Ford also earned a top-10 stage placing and led 15 laps.

Kyle Busch started on the pole but spun out on the first lap. The No. 18 NOS Energy Drink Toyota driver rallied back to a fifth-place finish.

The race took two hours, and 19 seconds to run. There was a total of seven cautions for 32 laps.

NASCAR XFINITY action resumes Friday at Iowa Speedway.

RESULTS

Stage 1

  1. Brad Keselowski
  2. Denny Hamlin
  3. Elliott Sadler
  4. Paul Menard
  5. William Byron
  6. Tyler Reddick
  7. Spencer Gallagher
  8. Ty Dillon
  9. Cole Custer
  10. Justin Allgaier

Stage 2

  1. Elliott Sadler
  2. Brennan Poole
  3. Justin Allgaier
  4. Brendan Gaughan
  5. Blake Koch
  6. Brandon Jones
  7. Ross Chastain
  8. Harrison Rhodes
  9. Josh Williams
  10. Denny Hamlin

Race

  1. Denny Hamlin
  2. William Byron
  3. Elliott Sadler
  4. Brad Keselowski
  5. Kyle Busch
  6. Ty Dillon
  7. Paul Menard
  8. Ryan Reed
  9. Brandon Jones
  10. Cole Custer

 

 

 

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Katie Williams

Coming off the ranch, I didn’t have a motorsports background but my passion was and still is very strong. My first taste of NASCAR came at the age of seven while waiting for music videos to come on the old TNN network. As I grew up, I pursued other interest but eventually rediscovered cars going left when I found the SPEED channel during the 2011-2012 offseason.

I didn’t decide I wanted to pursue a career in NASCAR until the summer of 2012. I’m not a wrench head or strong enough for a pit crew so media was the next best thing. At the beginning of 2013, I started going to races and making connections within the sport. I also studied Motorsports Management at Sports Management Worldwide. Although I love what happens on the track, I’ve always been interested in what goes on behind the scenes and I’ve gotten to know many people throughout the radio, TV and digital media world.

While I’m a long time writer, 2015 was my first year actually covering the sport with www.nascarfemale.com . I also became a media correspondent for Raceline. I’ve been able to help the TV show gain recognition on social media. My current goal is to acquire more experience in covering NASCAR and move up the media ladder. Outside of motorsports, I have been an equine-sports statistician for 16 years.

I currently reside in Gillette, WY where I’m still involved with horses. I enjoy riding them, rodeo, swimming, traveling and meeting people.

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