Byron was able to run down Sadler with less than 20 laps to go and pass his JR Motorsports teammate for fourth. Byron then got past Ryan Preece for third to put Preece between himself and Sadler.
With five laps to go Sadler made contact with Preece. Was it an attempt to wreck him intentionally and cause a caution? If it was, it backfired spectacularly. Preece didn’t spin and Sadler hit the wall.
Byron cruised to the title while Cole Custer won the race. Sam Hornish finished second.
After the race Sadler was unhappy with Preece and claimed Preece cost him a championship. While it’s understandable that the 42-year-old driver was unhappy he failed to win the first title of his NASCAR career, thinking Preece cost him a title is absurd and laughable.
Sadler previously hit the wall while racing with Byron long before Preece was even involved in their battle. And when he hit Preece, he should have hit Preece hard enough to make him spin if he was truly looking to wreck Preece.
A Preece spin would have caused a caution and given Sadler a chance to race Byron on fresh tires following a restart.
Sadler also apparently felt Preece wasn’t racing for anything either. Again, that’s a laughable notion. The No. 20 car of Joe Gibbs Racing that Preece was driving was racing for the owner’s championship. Preece has every right to race Sadler hard and hadn’t done anything wrong while battling with both JR Motorsports drivers.
If drivers who aren’t racing for the title are expected to get out of the way of those that are, the final race of the season should simply be among the four title contenders.
The win gives Byron a championship that cruelly avoided him last year in the Camping World Truch Series. Byron was the best driver all season in the series but a blown engine in the penultimate race of the season at Phoenix meant he wasn’t one of the four drivers racing for the title a week later at Homestead. Oh, and Byron won that Homestead race ahead of eventual champion Johnny Sauter.
Byron drove the 2016 Truck Series season for Kyle Busch Motorsports and moved to JR Motorsports for 2017. He’ll continue his rapid ascent in 2018 when he moves to the No. 24 car for Hendrick Motorsports. Byron, 19, will drive the No. 24 as Chase Elliott moves to the No. 9 but keeps his current team. Byron’s No. 24 team will be the same No. 5 team Kasey Kahne drives for now.
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