William Byron Wins Visit Hampton Va 175 | Race Report

NASCAR K&N Pro Series East &
NASCAR Whelen All-American Series
at Langley Speedway – Hampton, VA
Visit Hampton Night
Race Report
Saturday, June 20, 2015

HAMPTON, Va. (June 20) — William Byron of Charlotte, N.C., led 174 of 175 laps on the way to his third win of the season in the Visit Hampton VA 175 for NASCAR’s K&N Pro Series East, the featured event of Saturday evening’s racing program at Langley Speedway.
Rico Abreu, one of 14 rookies in the field, claimed the pole position in afternoon qualifying, clocking in at 89.323 mph. Byron was second-fastest and shared the front row with Abreu. Kaz Grala and Nick Drake made up Row 2. Gray Gaulding was slated to start fifth, but radio problems forced him to the pits during the parade laps. He returned to the track at the tail of the 24-car lineup.
When the green flag dropped, Abreu and Byron raced side-by-side until they reached Turns 3 and 4 for the first time. Exiting the fourth corner, Byron gained the clear-cut advantage, relegating Abreu to second.
On lap 3, Grala scooted ahead of Abreu to moved into the runner-up spot. As he pulled away, he left the inside lane open for Dalton Sargeant, who drove underneath the pole-sitter. The Abreu/Sargeant faceoff lasted until lap 7 when Sargeant powered ahead, bringing J.J. Haley along with him, to fourth.
At the front, Byron had opened a five-length lead over Grala. That margin vanished, however, when Sam Hunt spun in Turn 2 on lap 9, collecting Dylan Hoffman and prompting the first caution flag.
Back under green, to begin lap 15, Byron quickly disposed of Grala. Sargeant nosed into second, clearing Grala in Turn 2 on the following circuit. Haley tagged along with Sargeant and advanced to third.
The second caution flag waved on lap 24 when Haley and Grala tangled in Turn 3, sending Haley for a spin. Officials held Grala in the pits for a lap as a penalty for aggressive driving. Just before that incident unfolded, Sargeant had taken a strong run at Byron as the lead duo sorted through slower traffic in Turns 3 and 4.
On the double-file restart, Sargeant beat Byron to the green flag by inches and was credited with leading lap 33. It was the only circuit Byron would fail to lead all night. Byron rallied on lap 34 and edged back out front at the flagstand. He cleared Sargeant on lap 35 and set sail as the field began what would turn out to be a 91-lap green-flag run.
After opening a four-length advantage, Byron saw that margin shrink as a pair of slower machines went door-to-door in his path. Sargeant capitalized on the leader’s predicament and drew to within a couple car-lengths.
Breaking free of the lapped cars, Byron began to extend his lead again. Meanwhile, Sargeant was struggling to bypass David Garbo Jr. He finally muscled him aside in Turn 4. By then, though, Byron was up by almost half a straightaway.
At the crossed flags, Byron’s margin had grown to a full straightaway. Seemingly on cruise control, he easily maintained that separation over Sargeant.
Byron endured one anxious moment on lap 113 when he overtook two slower cars and got caught on the outside of a three-wide joust down the backstretch. Things quickly settled down, though, as he pulled ahead and set off after Scott Heckert, the last driver on the lead lap.
With a comfortable lead, Byron didn’t press the issue with Heckert. That played to Heckert’s advantage when Grala and Haley tangled for a second time on lap 125, bringing out the last of the race’s three yellow flags. By staying just ahead of Byron, Heckert kept his place on the lead lap.
Setting the running order for the final restart, Byron and Sargeant were 1-2, followed by Abreu and Kyle Benjamin. Drake was fifth, sharing the third row with Jay Beasley. Langley Late Model regular Justin Carroll was seventh, while Austin Hill, Gaulding and Heckert rounded out the top 10.
Perhaps mindful of Sargeant’s earlier aggressiveness, Byron wasted no time when the green flag waved to begin lap 132, clearing Sargeant before they reached the flagstand. Deeper in the field, Abreu, Benjamin and Beasley battled for the third spot, causing a brief logjam in Turn 4 on lap 133. Benjamin emerged with the position, but trailed second-place Sargeant by five car-lengths.
As the race headed into its closing stages, Byron continued to exhibit dominance at the head of the pack. By lap 145, he had fashioned a six-length lead over Sargeant, who saw Benjamin growing larger in his mirror.
Byron experienced one more white-knuckle episode on lap 160 when he got boxed in by two slower cars. He remained trapped for one circuit, then freed himself with another three-wide pass on the backstretch on lap 161. While Byron navigated through traffic, Sargeant had his hands full with Benjamin, who had tracked him down.
On lap 164, Benjamin ducked underneath Sargeant in Turn 1 in a bid for second. He was forced back in line on lap 165, though, as a lapped car loomed ahead.
Clearing the slower machine on lap 166, Benjamin immediately renewed his attack on Sargeant, booting Sargeant’s #51 car up the track in Turn 1 to take over the runner-up spot on lap 167.
The Benjamin/Sargeant scuffle allowed Byron to pad his lead to better than half a straightaway. For the leader, the added separation came in handy when he ran up behind Collin Cabre and Devon Amos, battling door-to-door for position, on the white flag lap.
Displaying patience beyond his 17 years, Byron just tailed Amos and Cabre for the final circuit. He surrendered a few car-lengths from his margin of victory, but still won comfortably by 1.217 seconds over Benjamin.
Sargeant was third to the line, while Gaulding rallied from his pre-race setback to take fourth. Beasley was fifth and Heckert came home in sixth. Carroll posted an impressive seventh-place finish in his K&N debut, ahead of Drake and Abreu. Hill was 10th, the last driver to complete the entire distance.
Pulling his #9 Liberty University Chevy into Victory Lane, Byron reflected on his night’s work: “I gave it all I had there, the whole race really. That’s our longest race and it’s the constant turning, so just thanks to my whole crew for a great race car and thanks to everybody for racing me hard. We earned this one, for sure. We had a tough race at Bowman Gray (a 15th-place finish) and we bounced back really strong here.”
Asked about the challenges of a lengthy green-flag run, Byron noted a lesson learned in his Late Model appearance on June 13: “Just figuring out a little bit different line around the racetrack because when the tires wear down, especially around this place with as flat as it is, you have to search around a little bit. I learned that couple weeks ago in the Late Model race. It’s a lot of fun to be here in Victory Lane, just proud to be here.”
Runner-up Benjamin delved into the mindset that carried him to a podium finish: “It was a lot of fun racing out there. We had a good car. We kinda knew we had something good coming into it. We just made out way to the front slowly, kept the tires on it and ended up up towards the front. Really proud of all my guys who worked really hard the past few days and I can’t thank them enough.”
Like Byron, Benjamin also emphasized the importance of tire management: “A lot of people started getting loose and spinning the tires down the straightaway. You just want to keep it under you and you’ll have more grip up off after about 20 laps of them doing that.”
Third-place Sargeant confirmed Benjamin’s observation: “Couldn’t have asked for much more. Unfortunately, we started back in seventh and we were able to get up to third, so it’s a pretty good night. Those long green-flag runs just kinda killed us a little bit. We just started to lose some forward drive there off the corner, started spinning ‘em a little bit too much. I feel like, if we would have had a few more cautions, the rear tires could’ve cooled down a little bit more and it could’ve helped us out a little bit. But, it is what it is and we’ll go and try to get ‘em at the next one.”
For the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East, that “next one” will be the NAPA 150 on Saturday, July 4, at the Columbus (Ohio) Motor Speedway.
With his Langley win, Byron extended his lead in the series standings to 23 over Benjamin, who leapfrogged Hill for second place. Hill, Heckert and Gaulding complete the top five in the updated points rundown, followed by Sargeant, Drake, Ronnie Bassett Jr., Grala and Abreu.
Highlights from the Visit Hampton VA 175 will be shown on Thursday, June 25, at 5:30 p.m. on the NBC Sports Network.

In the evening’s other feature events:

Tommy Sweeney moved out front on lap 9 and motored to his third straight victory in the 40-lap Pepsi Grand Stock race, which ran caution-free.
Mark Frye started on the pole, at 78.925 mph, and paced the first eight circuits. Meanwhile, Sweeney, who started third, swiped second from Carl Livingston on the opening lap and was soon parked on Frye’s rear bumper.
On lap 8, Frye drifted wide in Turn 4, clearing the inside lane for Sweeney, who drove underneath him on the frontstretch. He took the lead in Turn 2 on lap 9. Just one lap later, Sweeney had already driven away by three lengths.
Frye slipped wide in Turn 4 again on lap 11. This time, he gave way to Thomas Marks, as well as Livingston. Jamie Sample bypassed Frye for fourth on lap 13, but Frye returned the favor four laps later.
At the halfway mark, Sweeney was up by four lengths over Marks, who was nibbling away at the margin. Half a straightaway separated the lead duo from third-place Livingston. By lap 30, that gap had grown to a full straightaway.
The best opportunity for a yellow flag came on lap 36 when Shawn Scovel looked to the inside of Bubba Johnston in a bid for fifth. The two made contact and Scovel slowed in Turn 2 with a cut right-front tire. He limped back to the pits, though, as the caution flag remained under wraps.
At the white flag, Marks had trimmed Sweeney’s lead to just two car-lengths. In search of his first win, Marks barreled into Turns 3 and 4, trying to get close enough to rattle Sweeney.
In the middle of the corner, though, his car began to skitter sideways, sealing the victory for Sweeney, who won by 0.779-second — about four lengths. Livingston tailed the two leaders to the line, in third, followed by Frye and Johnston.

In a 40-lapper for the Butterfoss & Barton Orthodontics Super Streets, Renno Marchetti IV started on the pole, at 76.039 mph, and led all the way for his fourth win of the season.
Marchetti dashed away from the pack in the early going. By lap 10, he had forged a half-straightaway advantage over second-place Landon Abbott.
Marchetti’s healthy margin vanished on lap 12, however, when Sean Calway and Sammy Gaita tangled and spun in Turn 2 while tussling for fourth, bringing out the first caution flag.
The second, and final, yellow flag flew just one lap later when Randy Akers and Bill Eaker made contact off Turn 4, leaving Akers with a cut right-front tire. He ground to a halt in Turn 2.
As the field bunched for the ensuing restart, Gaita and Calway seized the opportunity to make up lost ground and headed for the outside lane, pulling alongside the leaders.
Back under green, Marchetti quickly disposed of Gaita and began to ease away. It took Abbott nearly a full lap to get past Gaita, allowing Marchetti to widen his advantage. By the halfway point, Marchetti’s lead had swelled to half a straightaway and was continuing to grow.
Marchetti almost saw his lead wiped out for a second time on lap 33 when Calway slammed the outside wall between Turns 1 and 2, another victim of a cut right-front tire. Calway made it back to the pits, though, and the yellow flag stayed hidden.
At the finish, Marchetti was the winner by a whopping 4.114 seconds — a full straightaway — over Abbott. Gaita and Akers rebounded from their early-race mishaps to take third and fourth, respectively, while Eaker posted a fifth-place result.

In a caution-free 25-lapper for the B&C Seafood Super Trucks, Chase McAdams started on the pole, at 74.704 mph, and wired the field for his first win of the year.
While McAdams took the lead at the drop of the initial green flag, Trevor Battoia and Tommy Nixon battled for second in his wake. Battoia gained the upper hand in Turn 1 on lap 2. The skirmish allowed McAdams to build an early five-length advantage.
Without a yellow flag to help bunch the field, McAdams was never really challenged on his way to the checkers. At the finish, his margin of victory stood at 1.576 seconds — about half a straightaway — over Battoia.
Nixon was third to the line, holding off Richard Ellis by a nose at the stripe to secure the position. Jacob Carr completed the top five.

In the 25-lap Carroll’s Automotive UCAR race, the evening’s first feature, Eric Schaffer started on the pole, at 73.447 mph, and led wire-to-wire for his first win.
The event was no walk in the park for Schaffer, though, as he faced a race-long challenge from four-time winner Jesse Jones IV, who never trailed by much more than a car-length.
After tailing Schaffer throughout the race, Jones made his bid for the win on lap 24, trying to root past the leader through Turns 1 and 2. He came up empty, however, as Schaffer held on and pulled away down the backstretch.
Jones may have had similar plans for the white-flag lap, but he couldn’t quite catch back up to Schaffer, who won by 0.244-second. Dusty Connor was third to the stripe, fighting off Mike Perkins by less than a car-length. Kevin Morgan was fifth.
• • •
MEDIA CONTACT: Gary Daughtrey
Track: (757) 865-7223
E-mail: daughtrey@langley-speedway.com

NASCAR K&N Pro Series East &
NASCAR Whelen All-American Series
at Langley Speedway – Hampton, VA
Visit Hampton Night
Race Results
Saturday, June 20, 2015

++ Visit Hampton VA 175 ++
Fin. Pos. (Car #) Driver; Laps Compl.
1. (9) William Byron; 175
2. (27) Kyle Benjamin; 175
3. (51) Dalton Sargeant; 175
4. (12) Gray Gaulding; 175
5. (42) Jay Beasley; 175
6. (34) Scott Heckert; 175
7. (91) Justin Carroll; 175
8. (15) Nick Drake; 175
9. (98) Rico Abreu; 175
10. (22) Austin Hill; 175
11. (04) Ronnie Bassett Jr.; 174
12. (4) Kenzie Ruston; 174
13. (44) Dillon Bassett; 174
14. (6) Devon Amos; 174
15. (2) Collin Cabre; 174
16. (08) Tyler Hughes; 173
17. (3) Kaz Grala; 173
18. (23) J.P. Morgan; 172
19. (31) David Garbo Jr.; 172
20. (5) J.J. Haley; 171
21. (18) Sam Hunt; 170
22. (45) Christian Celaya; 168
23. (19) Chuck Buchanan Jr.; 152
24. (94) Dylan Hoffman; 61
Pole: Abreu – 89.323 mph.

Fin. Pos. (Car #) Driver; Laps Compl.
1. (11) Tommy Sweeney; 40
2. (88) Thomas Marks; 40
3. (77) Carl Livingston; 40
4. (29) Mark Frye; 40
5. (19) Bubba Johnston; 40
6. (36) Andrew Condrey; 40
7. (28) Jamie Sample; 40
8. (75) Jeff Driskill; 39
9. (22) Mike Borden; 37
10. (6) Shawn Scovel; 35
11. (5) Jonathan White; 26
Pole: Frye – 78.925 mph.

Fin. Pos. (Car #) Driver; Laps Compl.
1. (01) Renno Marchetti IV; 40
2. (70) Landon Abbott; 40
3. (24) Sammy Gaita; 40
4. (21) Randy Akers; 40
5. (22) Bill Eaker; 40
6. (50x)Matt Morgan; 40
7. (46) Jason Michaud; 39
8. (2) Rod Busitzky; 39
9. (50) Jim Bennett; 39
10. (47) Craig Warren; 39
11. (12) Sean Calway; 32
Pole: Marchetti – 76.039 mph.

Fin. Pos. (Trk #) Driver; Laps Compl.
1. (62) Chase McAdams; 25
2. (26) Trevor Battoia; 25
3. (8) Tommy Nixon; 25
4. (41) Richard Ellis; 25
5. (88) Jacob Carr; 25
6. (3) Brad Adams; 13
7. (22) Jim Bennett; 2
Pole: McAdams – 74.704 mph.

Fin. Pos. (Car #) Driver; Laps Compl.
1. (3) Eric Schaffer; 25
2. (5) Jesse Jones IV; 25
3. (14) Dusty Connor; 25
4. (57) Mike Perkins; 25
5. (11) Kevin Morgan; 25
6. (8) Dean Ballew; 25
7. (7) Ashten Mullett; 25
8. (41) Richard Ellis; 18
9. (4) Nick Isidro; 2
Pole: Schaffer – 73.447 mph.