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William Byron Stays Hot at Richmond

Sunday marked the fourth race in the NASCAR iRacing Pro Invitational Series and the second win for the driver of the #24 Chevrolet. William Byron cruised to his second win in a row ahead of Timmy Hill and Parker Kligerman. This comes after Byron’s win two weeks ago at the virtual Bristol Motor Speedway.

Before the main event, NASCAR held a qualifier in which the top two finishers would move onto the primary race. Bobby Labonte and Landon Cassill finished first and second to move onto the Toyota Owners 150 at virtual Richmond Raceway. Fox also had the opportunity to select two drivers that would move onto the main event to complete the 30 car field. They selected former NASCAR Cup driver Dale Earnhardt Jr. and current competitor Daniel Suarez. The pair had finished the qualifier fourth and third respectively.

Trouble for Preece

The race began with Ryan Preece on the pole and William Byron beside him on the front row. Preece quickly jumped out to a lead over the rest of the field. He held that position for the next 59 laps before being caught by Byron. 

Preece quickly fell back in the field after surrendering the lead. He would fall all the way to 11th before being spun by Matt DiBenedetto on lap 100. This wouldn’t be the end of the story for these two as Matty D was eventually parked for the remainder of the event after attempting to intentionally wreck Preece on lap 113. This marks the third event in a row in which at least one competitor was parked by iRacing for intentionally trying to wreck a fellow driver.

Matt DeBenedetto reflected post-race about his issues with Ryan Preece.

Late Race Dominance

The caution on lap 113 brought most of the field to pit road except for Byron, Bell, Jones and Smithley who all elected to remain on track. With about 10 more laps on his tires, Byron was still able to jump out to a sizeable lead. 

It seemed that Byron would easily cruise to his second victory in the iRacing series when a caution with 4 laps to go would force the cars to line back up for overtime. Byron lined up inside Timmy Hill, who has also shown his strength in the iRacing system. For Byron, this must-have felt like déjà vu. Hill had moved Byron for the win a few weeks earlier at virtual Texas Motorspeedway. In the end, Byron was too strong and was able to hold off the late-race push by Hill. 

Byron has been dominant since NASCAR went virtual last month. This should come as no surprise due to Byron’s extensive experience on the iRacing platform. In fact, he began his racing career online before exploring how he could bring his talents to the track. From there, he quickly moved through the ranks before being brought on to compete full time in the Cup Series in 2018.

What’s Next

The series will continue next week as drivers head to virtual Talladega Superspeedway. This will surely be an interesting event as this is the first time the series heads to a restrictor-plate track. Tune in next Sunday, April 26th, for the fifth installment of the NASCAR iRacing Pro-Invitational Series.

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