By Seth Eggert, NASCAR Writer
CONCORD, N.C. – Charlotte hometown drivers William Byron, and Daniel Hemric were both looking for some hometown magic at their home track. Byron started on the pole after posting the fastest time in practice and qualifying being washed out by rain. Meanwhile Hemric started the race in eighth. Byron got off to an early start, leading the first 24 laps before pitting under the competition caution.
After the first round of pit stops, both Byron and Hemric restarted in the top five. Byron slid back on the restart, going three-wide with teammate Christopher Bell and competitor John Hunter Nemechek. The Chevrolet of Nemechek and Toyota of Byron made slight contact as the mad scramble after the restart took place. Meanwhile, Hemric took his Ford F-150 up to the lead, battling Sprint Cup Series regular Kyle Busch for a time.
During a round of pit stops under the second caution, Hemric dropped from second to fifth after the team went the wrong way on an adjustment and had to reverse it. Meanwhile, Byron’s pit crew helped him gain positions on pit road, allowing him to restart second. Hemric jumped back up to the second position as the caution waved again for a spin by Bell.
On the next restart, both Byron and Hemric slid back, Matt Crafton, Daniel Suarez, and Timothy Peters powered by. With 30 laps to go, both Byron and Hemric sat in fourth and fifth respectively.
Byron eventually passed Peters for third as Hemric ducked onto pit road with 15 laps to go. Byron pitted six laps later. With five laps left, both Byron and Hemric had worked their way back into the top 10 and onto the lead lap.
Coming to the checkered, Bell, Byron, Hemric, Peters, and others were all fighting for enough room on the racetrack. Byron and Hemric fought each other for the ninth position as they attempted to pass the lapped truck of Austin Wayne Self. Coming to the line, Hemric and Self made contact, sending Self hard into the wall with Hemric narrowly avoiding the wall himself. Hemric won out over Byron for the ninth position. Byron finished in 10th.
Byron commented on his day by saying, “We started first and we were able to get a pretty good lead there early in the race. We just had a couple strategy things work out the way they did and restarts weren’t my strong suit, starting on the bottom. I’m just going to have to look back at those and see what I can do when I’m starting fifth or so like that. The track was really slick, which made it fun and fun to pass – you were able to move around, but at the same time it was harder to pass because you were sliding around so much. Now we’ll move on to Texas.”
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