Byron takes third win of Pro Invitational Series at Dover

Nick DeGroot
·4-min read

Ross Chastain led the field to the green flag for the 150-lap race at the Monster Mile. Each driver was allotted one quick repair.

Parker Kligerman took over the lead five laps into it with Chastain slipping back to third.

On Lap 14, the first caution flag flew after Daniel Suarez got loose out of Turn 2 and collected several cars.

Denny Hamlin took over the race lead with the two-tire call. On the ensuing run, Timmy Hill got into the back of Parker Kligerman for second, sending the No. 77 machine spinning. Kligerman would never get back into contention after getting caught up in another wreck later.

Hamlin opted to pit and fell back to 15th as a good number of cars stayed out. William Byron took over the race lead.

After a couple more short runs, Byron continued to lead the way until a backstretch pileup after Kurt Busch spun sideways.

Garrett Smithley took control after staying out during the caution period. Alex Bowman was able to move into the race lead on the restart as the battle raged behind him. Ross Chastain, Jimmie Johnson, Denny Hamlin and Dale Earnhardt Jr. were going at it around the top-five.

They come up on a slowing J.J. Yeley, who blew his engine and the field struggled to avoid. Christopher Bell ran into the back of him and a handful of cars were collected.

The race finally had a length green flag run where Byron and Hill went back-and-forth for the lead until 44 laps to go when contact between Bowman and Suarez brought the caution flag back out.

A rash of yellows then plagued the race for some time until 30 laps to go. John-Hunter Nemechek came together with Hamin while running third, but the race stayed green.

He then waited for Hamlin and took him out late in the race, collecting Earnhardt Jr. Nemechek was removed from the server.

On the final restart with ten to go, Byron was coming with fresh tires and made a move to the inside of Cassill entering Turn 1. The two drivers collided and Cassill was sent spinning. Smithley and Chastain were involved, but the race stayed green.

Byron then ran down Hill and took the lead with six laps to go. Bell moved into second, but was unable to run down the No. 24 machine.

Byron took the checkered flag for his third Pro Invitational Series win just ahead of Bell and Hill.

Erik Jones was fourth and Michael McDowell fifth. Hamlin, Blaney, Bowman, Smithley and Almirola rounded out the top-ten.

"It was fun. We had to go on that (last) restart, we had four (new) tires. The strategy made us to where we knew we would be back in the back on that final restart so it was all about getting clear," Byron said. "Once we got to Timmy, I knew we had better stuff and just had to work him over for a couple corners. It was fun.

"I've enjoyed this iRacing series that we've had going but I'm definitely ready to get back in my normal car as well. This has taught me a lot the last few weeks. Racing anything is going to give you confidence if you're winning. It's been really fun for me. Honestly, I've never been in such a competitive environment for weeks on end in iRacing."

The Pro Invitational Series will take place at the iconic North Wilkesboro short track, which was scanned last December and will be added to the iRacing service this week.

NASCAR will get back to the actual track May 17 at Darlington Raceway for the first time since the COVID-19 pandemic forced the sporting world to a standstill in early March.

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