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Byron Holds Off Menard by .108 Seconds On Way to Lilly Diabetes 250 Victory

William Byron soared to his third NASCAR XFINITY Series victory of the season, battling through a late-race vibration and holding off Paul Menard’s late charge Saturday at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

Byron led 26 of 100 laps in the JR Motorsports No. 9 Chevrolet, including the final 16 laps of the Lilly Diabetes 250. The 19-year-old driver’s first triumph at the 2.5-mile track was the third of his career in the series.

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“I can’t believe that tire held on, man,” Byron told NBCSN of his final green-flag stretch to the finish. Byron also prevailed in the race’s first stage.

The fast-closing Menard finished second in the Richard Childress Racing No. 2 Chevrolet, just .108 seconds behind at the checkered flag. Joey Logano, Elliott Sadler and Cole Custer completed the top five.

Kyle Busch led six times for a race-high 44 laps, but dropped from contention with a pit stop on an alternate strategy with less than 20 laps left. He wound up 12th.

The race was the first for a new, track-specific rules package for the series, using most horsepower-sapping restrictor plates, plus air duct and spoiler modifications to alter drafting and handling characteristics. The result was reduced speed, but a record number of lead changes and an increase in side-by-side racing through the pack.

Pole-starter Sadler led three times for 22 laps in the JR Motorsports No. 1 Chevrolet to keep his lead in the series standings. He prevailed in Stage 2, adding a point to his postseason tally.

Sadler teammate Justin Allgaier also led four laps, but endured a pair of pit-road miscues that knocked him from contention. First, Allgaier’s No. 7 Chevy made contact with jackman Kyle Tudor, upending him during an early stop.

Then, just before the end of Stage 2, Allgaier missed his pit stall, then drove away after his crew chief’s direction. His car ran over the air hose and exited pit lane without the right-front tire secure, damaging his fender and suspension. He finished 35th, but remained third in the series standings.

The series’ next race is scheduled for next Saturday at Iowa Speedway (3:30 p.m. ET, NBC).

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