RICHMOND, Va. – William Byron made winning his second straight eNASCAR iRacing Pro Invitational Series race look easy on Sunday afternoon at the virtual Richmond Raceway.
After polesitter Ryan Preece’s tires burned off in the first half of the Toyota Owners 150, Byron rolled to the front and stayed there at the three-quarter-mile, D-shaped oval, diving underneath Preece on lap 60 and pacing all but one of the laps from that point on.
Byron had to deal with a pair of late-race restarts, including one in eNASCAR Overtime after a multi-car accident on the frontstretch that ended with Christopher Bell getting upside down – but never faltered.
The Charlotte, N.C., rocketed away from iRacing rival Timmy Hill on the two-lap sprint to the finish and took the checkered flag in front by .256 seconds, despite having older tires after staying out under caution inside of 35 to go.
“I was really, really concerned that we were going to have too (much) older tires there on the restart, but we were able to get good exits off the corner and just have a pretty decent restart and get the win,” Byron noted.
Byron’s car was sporting a special Gold Rush paint scheme designed by @Rusty_Walrus on Twitter, the second week in a row that the virtual No. 24 Chevrolet has carried a unique Axalta look on track.
It was his 320th oval win on iRacing, the platform that he tipped helped to launch his racing career.
“I wasn’t in a racing family growing up, so this was really my avenue to cut my teeth,” noted Byron. “Obviously, much different way than most guys grew up, but I feel like in my generation, it’s pretty normal, so I’m very thankful for what it’s done for me.”
In a reversal of their finish from Texas Motor Speedway two races ago, Hill chased Byron to the finish line as the runner-up, followed by Parker Kligerman.
Landon Cassill transferred in out of the last chance qualifier on Sunday morning before earning a fourth-place finish, with two-time NASCAR Cup Series champion Kyle Busch filling out the top five.
Sixth through 10th were Denny Hamlin, Erik Jones, Dale Earnhardt Jr., Bubba Wallace and Brad Keselowski.
Sunday’s race saw Preece lead the first 59 laps before giving way to Byron. He was later involved in a dust-up with Matt DiBenedetto that saw DiBenedetto deliver payback later on, leading to a disqualification for the Wood Brothers Racing driver.
In all, six cautions slowed the race for 36 laps, with three lead changes among three drivers.
The eNASCAR iRacing Pro Invitational Series schedule continues April 26 at the virtual Talladega (Ala.) Superspeedway.
1. 24-William Byron , 2. 66-Timmy Hill , 3. 77-Parker Kligerman , 4. 89-Landon Cassill , 5. 18-Kyle Busch , 6. 11-Denny Hamlin , 7. 20-Erik Jones , 8. 8-Dale Earnhardt Jr. , 9. 43-Bubba Wallace , 10. 2-Brad Keselowski , 11. 9-Chase Elliott , 12. 31-Tyler Reddick , 13. 6-Ross Chastain , 14. 19-Bobby Labonte , 15. 13-Ty Dillon , 16. 38-John Hunter Nemechek , 17. 51-Garrett Smithley , 18. 96-Daniel Suarez , 19. 37-Ryan Preece , 20. 1-Kurt Busch , 21. 17-Chris Buescher , 22. 88-Alex Bowman , 23. 12-Ryan Blaney , 24. 95-Christopher Bell , 25. 22-Joey Logano , 26. 48-Jimmie Johnson , 27. 21-Matt DiBenedetto , 28. 3-Austin Dillon , 29. 4-Kevin Harvick , 30. 14-Clint Bowyer .
Lead Changes: Three among three drivers
Lap Leader(s): Ryan Preece 1-59, William Byron 60-99, Chase Elliott 100, William Byron 101-154
Laps Led: William Byron 94, Ryan Preece 59, Chase Elliott 1
Caution Flags: Six for 36 laps
Margin of Victory: .256 seconds
Time of Race: One hour, 14 minutes, 31.705 seconds
Average Speed: 92.985 mph
Pole Winner: 37-Ryan Preece (21.683 seconds, 124.522 mph)