David McGrath looks to make mark at New Hampshire
RELATED: Buy tickets for New Hampshire If you happen to be a track promoter or a race fan, there is a pretty good chance you believe there is no such thing as too much racing. At least that's the case for New Hampshire Motor Speedway Executive Vice President and General Manager David McGrath and the fan base that fills the grandstands two weekends a year at the 1-mile track located in Loudon, New Hampshire. "The crowds tell you no," McGrath told NASCAR.com. "Those stands don't empty. "They get it twice a year (at our facility) and they live for it. Like any other part of the country, the Northeast race fan is a rabid fan of our sport. They love it; they can't wait to get up to New Hampshire. They plan their summers and early fall around those races." McGrath, a native New Englander, understands the region's race fans, the bulk of whom arrive from in-state, with nearby Massachusetts and those making the trek from across the Canadian border making up a sizable chunk as well. Named to oversee the Speedway Motorsports Inc. track in October of '15, McGrath has quickly become acquainted with the intricacies and aspects of running such a facility. "Yeah, jack of all trades, master of none," he said. "You have to work at state level, local level, know your governor, senators, representatives and local selectmen. ... We care a great deal about our municipalities and our towns we work with, because we are all in the same boat together. We are the largest driver of economic revenue (in the state), but we don't do that with a swagger. "You are always trying to be understanding, tolerable and work together to figure out solutions. But make no mistake, the vision of the speedway is to be able to utilize that 1,100 acres with the team we've got and find new, cool events, create things for fans to come and experience." The typical race weekend at New Hampshire will see anywhere from three to four series competing during the course of three days. A Sprint Cup/XFINITY Series doubleheader in the summer and a Sprint Cup/Camping World Truck Series doubleheader in the fall headline programs that also include events from the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East, Whelen Modified Tour and American Canadian Tour. It's rare to wander into the facility during a race weekend and not hear cars of one sort or another on the track, either practicing, qualifying or racing. Competing at New Hampshire is a big, big deal, especially for the grassroots circuits. "Certainly in the case of the Modifieds it is, no question," McGrath said. "They are a touring series that travels all over the Northeast and they look at New Hampshire as their big, big event. Their Daytona, if you will." The track has played host to the Whelen Modified Series since 1990, three years before Sprint Cup came calling, and the list of previous winners includes such standouts as Mike McLaughlin, Steve Park, Reggie Ruggiero, Mike Stefanik, Tony Hirschman and Ted Christopher . "Saturday on either race weekend at our track, whether it's July or September, I think is one of the best deals in all of motorsports as far as for the race fans," McGrath said. "Absolutely. You get three great races. In July you've got the K&N race to end the day, you've got XFINITY and then you've got Modifieds. And then in September, you've got Modifieds, Trucks, and the ACT. That's just a great day." In addition to hosting two Sprint Cup Series races, including one that falls in the Round of 16 of the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup, the fall Truck Series race will serve as that series' opener for its inaugural seven-race Chase. Off the track, McGrath said his vision is to continue to develop those things that track ownership -- the facility is one of eight operated by Speedway Motorsports Inc. -- has already undertaken. "We work for the fans," he said. "One of my visions is to continually improve the facility to make it more fan friendly than it already is. Our company has invested a lot of money since we purchased the track back in 2007 going into 2008. We're going to continue to do those things as it makes sense. "We will continue to evaluate areas where we can improve the fan experience. We've built bath/shower houses, increased and improved site drainage ... and have new paving areas all over the campgrounds and the facility. "But the vision would really be to evolve and improve the track and think about new ways to increase the fan experience."
New Hampshire Motor Speedway: 25 Years, 25 Moments
Buy Tickets - SYLVANIA 300 New Hampshire Motor Speedway 's September event weekend will mark the facility's 25th Anniversary. Relive some of the top moments over the past 25 years. From Rusty Wallace capturing the inagural NASCAR Sprint Cup race win to Cole Custer becoming the youngest driver to visit Victory Lane in a National Series event - check out the top 25 moments below. 1. August 13, 1989: Groundbreaking for New Hampshire International Speedway (formerly Bryar Motorsports Park). 2. June 5, 1990: Track owner Bob Bahre and N.H. Governor Judd Gregg cut the ribbon to officially open “New Hampshire International Speedway.” 3. July 15, 1990: In NASCAR's debut at NHMS, Tommy Ellis wins the Grand National Series ( XFINITY ) race. 4. August 23, 1992: Joe Nemechek and Dale Earnhardt (Sr.) bump each other on the way to the finish line with Nemechek taking home the win. 5. July 11, 1993: Rusty Wallace wins the inaugural NASCAR Cup Series race at NHMS. 6. July 9, 1995: Jeff Gordon earns his first win at NHMS en route to his first Cup Series championship. 7. July 14, 1996: Ernie Irvan captures the win in one of the more emotional victories in NASCAR history. The win came less than two years after Irvan suffered a near-fatal crash at Michigan, where he was given less than a 10 percent chance of survival. 8. June 28, 1998: In his final season as an IndyCar driver, Tony Stewart wins the IRL New England 200, his final career win in the series. 9. Sept. 17, 2000: Jeff Burton leads all 300 laps of the Dura Lube 300 to earn his record-setting fourth Cup Series win at NHMS. The race is infamously remembered for its use of restrictor plates. 10. Nov. 23, 2001: The New Hampshire 300 runs as the last race of the season on Friday after Thanksgiving. Robby Gordon wins the race and Jeff Gordon holds the Sprint Cup Series trophy for the fourth time. 11. Sept. 19, 2004: The Chase for the Sprint Cup Championship debuts with its opening race, the SYLVANIA 300. Kurt Busch wins the race and goes on to become crowned Champion. 12. Sept. 18, 2005: Robby Gordon chucks his helmet at Michael Waltrip after a wreck on the backstretch. 13. June 28, 2008: Chuck Hossfeld edges Ted Christopher by 0.001 seconds in the Whelen Modified Tour’s New England 100, the closest margin of victory in speedway history. 14. June 28, 2009: Joey Logano becomes the youngest winner in NASCAR Sprint Cup Series history at 19 years, 35 days. 15. Sept. 20, 2009: Fifty-year-old Mark Martin takes the lead in the Chase for the Sprint Cup championship with the 40th and final win of his illustrious career. It was his first and only win at NHMS. 16. June 26, 2010: Kyle Busch ends a streak of 23 straight different winners at NHMS in the XFINITY Series by becoming the first two-time series winner in the track's history. He also won the '09 race and followed up with wins in '11 and '13. 17. July 16, 2011: Kyle Busch earns his 100th NASCAR National Series win and ties Mark Martin ’s record for most XFINITY Series wins with 49. 18. Sept. 25, 2011: Tony Stewart assumes his only lead in the SYLVANIA 300 with two to go when Clint Bowyer runs out of gas. The win was Stewart’s second in as many Chase races and propelled him to the championship. 19. July 14, 2012: NASCAR Hall of Fame nominee Mike Stefanik beats Ron Silk in the Whelen Modified Tour Town Fair Tire 100 by 0.003 seconds. 20. Sept. 23, 2012: Denny Hamlin follows through on his guarantee to win, and celebrates with military personnel in victory lane. 21. July 11, 2013: Toomas Topi Heikkinen wins the SYVLANIA SilverStar zXe Global RallyCross race when leader Tanner Foust crashes on the final hairpin turn. 22. July 14, 2013: Part-time driver Brian Vickers wins the Camping World RV Sales 301, his first win since battling back from blood clots in his legs and lungs that threatened his life. 23. July 11, 2014: Ryan Newman wins the inaugural Modified All-Star Shootout event, a combination race between the best of the Whelen Modified Tour and Whelen Southern Modified Tour. 24. July 13, 2014: Brad Keselowski ties a NASCAR record by becoming the 13th different non-repeat winner at the same track in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series. 25. Sept. 20, 2014: At 16 years, seven months and 28 days, Cole Custer wins the NASCAR Camping World Truck s Series UNOH 175 to become the youngest winner of a NASCAR National Series race.
Larson cooks up Eldora confidence, targets Indy
RELATED: Eldora's big night in photos ROSSBURG, Ohio -- While the differences between Eldora Speedway, a dirt-based short track/slice of heaven, and Indianapolis Motor Speedway, a relatively flat, wide and paved 2.5 miles of paradise, couldn't be more stark in contrast, there could be something that Wednesday night's Aspen Dental Eldora Dirt Derby winner Kyle Larson will take with him two hours due west to "The Brickyard" -- c onfidence. "Any time you can win, it helps your confidence, for sure," Larson said after picking up his first NASCAR Camping World Truck Series victory since 2013 in his third attempt at capturing one of the series' crown-jewel races. "Obviously it's way different; a half-mile dirt track to a 2(.5)-mile paved track, but confidence is key for any athlete." Larson has shown flashes of on-track brilliance in the Sprint Cup Series at times this season -- when given a car capable of working with him, rather than against him -- but his third full-time campaign has largely been a disappointment for a phenom still in search of his first premier series victory. Wednesday's landmark win, coupled with a successful recent test at one of auto racing's handful of race track meccas have the young driver seemingly destined for a successful weekend at IMS, riding a wave of momentum and increased faith in himself and his No. 42 Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates Chevrolet team. His two top-10 finishes in two Brickyard starts don't hurt, either. "I tested Indy last week; really good test, I thought," said Larson, who is 19th in the Sprint Cup Series point standings. "Really excited about this weekend. I know our team and Hendrick engines, they have some good stuff coming in and we'll see how it goes. … "We've gotten a lot better on the Cup side since the beginning of the year. We struggled really bad; we were one of the worst cars on the race track the beginning of the year. The last few months, now, we've come close a couple times. Kansas we ran up front. About Kansas time we really turned it up and ran top five most of that race, (before we) got in a wreck. Shortly after Kansas, Larson came within an intentional move of race-winner Matt Kenseth for the victory at Dover. He chose not to -- which sparked plenty of hot takes on Twitter but was almost undeniably the right decision -- and it appeared the No. 42 squad was on the right path, but it has stumbled a bit of late. Wednesday's second-place finisher Christopher Bell called Larson "the most talented guy I've ever seen, hands down," so it's only a matter of time that his talent pushes him to Victory Lane, as long as his No. 42 Chevy has the kind of drive in it that he's looking for. According to the driver, it certainly sounds like it does. "We have speed now in our cars, our Chip Ganassi Racing cars, the past few weeks, just haven't had the luck, I guess," Larson said. "We've just gotta keep working hard. We have some good tracks coming up for us." And it all starts at Indy.
Drivers gear up for a night on dirt at Eldora
Dirt-track experience isn't a must for those competing in this week's NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race, the Aspen Dental Eldora Dirt Derby, at Eldora Speedway. But it certainly doesn't hurt. "I think that it's very beneficial to have dirt experience when you're running hot laps and when you're qualifying," Tyler Reddick , driver of the No. 29 Ford for Brad Keselowski Racing, told NASCAR.com. "And a little bit in the heat race, depending on which heat race you're in -- if you're in the first (heat), the track will be a little wetter than it will be in the sixth and it probably means more. "Definitely as you get into the feature, the dirt experience doesn't mean as much, but I'd hate to say it doesn't mean much because if you look at the top three at the end of the race last year, three of the dirt guys in that race (finished) 1-2-3. So I'd hate to tell you that it doesn't mean a lot." Christopher Bell ( Kyle Busch Motorsports), Bobby Pierce (MB Motorsports) and Reddick took the top three spots in last year's annual pilgrimage to the historic Rossburg, Ohio, venue. Bell came up through the USAC circuit, competing in sprints before making the transition to NASCAR and asphalt. Pierce went the Late Model route as did Reddick, each grooming himself for the next step. Reddick is currently seventh in points and seeking his first win of the season. He finished 11th at Eldora in 2014 before his third-place run a year ago. The 11th stop of the season for the series is scheduled to get underway at 9 p.m. ET (FS1, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio). Keeping up with the changing track conditions is crucial, Reddick said, but it's also easy to out-think oneself. "One of my mistakes last year was relying on what the old Eldora would have done," he said. "They watered the bottom pretty good last year in that race and I started up toward the front. I made the mistake of going to the top too soon. The bottom hung around for I felt like 20-25 laps. It may not have been that long but it felt that way because I was getting freight trained because I went to the top too soon and everyone was passing me on the bottom. "I guess that's the new Eldora, with less banking the bottom sticks around a bit longer." Two-time series champion Matt Crafton and John Hunter Nemechek , this year's Atlanta race winner, are among the few in the field that have run well consistently at the half-mile track, logging top-10 finishes each season. "Hopefully we break into that top five, maybe top three," Nemechek said. "I felt like we had a great truck last year; we got behind on a couple of adjustments on the first break, (then) we made our truck better." This year's 150-lap feature will be run in three segments of 40, 50 and 60 laps. There will be a competition caution between each segment. "I think that will play a major part in who gambles and who doesn't for track position, when to come take tires," Nemechek said of the format. "Do you take tires both times or stay out and come in for the last one? It's going to put a whole different perspective on it and a whole different strategy for each team." Reddick said he's a fan of the longer final segment but agreed with Nemechek's assessment of varying pit strategies. Track position will likely be key, he said, adding that "as much fun as it is to race there and as easy as you would think it would be to pass, it's actually pretty hard to pass there. "Track position is important. ... The tires are pretty bullet-proof but you can still wear them out I'm sure."
William Byron bracing for Eldora dirt debut
RELATED: Eight drivers to watch at Eldora This week's NASCAR Camping World Truck series stop, the Aspen Dental Eldora Dirt Derby at Eldora Speedway, will be the dirt debut for series points leader William Byron. The Kyle Busch Motorsports driver is in his first full season in the series and recently spent some time getting accustomed to making the transition from asphalt to dirt, shaking down a Late Model entry with teammate Christopher Bell. "That's really about it," Byron, 18, said of his dirt-track experience. "It went well; I liked it a lot. "It was a lot different, a lot of the things were the opposite way of how we do them on asphalt. It was interesting." Wednesday night's feature is scheduled for 9 p.m. ET (FS1, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio). The 150-lap race format will consist of three segments of 40, 50 and 60 laps. In spite of his limited non-asphalt experience, Byron hasn't tempered his expectations for this week's race. "I think it's going to be a lot of learning the first half of the race," he said. "The last half, if we can have the truck together and have good track position I think we can go for the win. "I think it's all about just getting yourself in the right position for the last 60 laps and being able to figure out which line to take, figure out where the grip is on the race track as it changes with the dirt." Winning appears to have come easily for Byron, who has scored victories this year at Kansas, Texas, Iowa and Kentucky. The Kansas win came in just his fifth start in the series. That quick adaptation to tracks he'd rarely seen and the surprising success have been the result of "having the right tools and the right focus going to the race track," he said. "I think our team is adapting well also. We've been able to bring something that's pretty close to the track. That we're able to fire off and get better in practice is the biggest key. I think we always end practice pretty happy this year, that's really the most important part. Just learning the track and getting up to speed as quickly as I can and then making adjustments to make sure we're ready to go come race time." Byron leads two-time series champion Matt Crafton (ThorSport Racing) by 13 points. The two are the only drivers thus far to have clinched spots in this year's inaugural Camping World Truck Series Chase. The seven-race, championship-determining playoff will feature eight teams competing through three rounds. It will kick off later this season at New Hampshire Motor Speedway.
Larson bounces back to win at Eldora dirt track
RELATED: Results " Standings " Updated Chase Grid ROSSBURG, Ohio -- Battling back from all kinds of adversity, Kyle Larson sailed away on a late race restart with 16 laps to go to win Wednesday night's fourth annual Aspen Dental Eldora Dirt Derby 150 at Eldora Speedway. "It means a lot, especially losing the way I did the two years I ran," said Larson from Victory Lane. "Thanks to everyone on this GMS Racing team, DC Solar for coming on-board for this, this is very special for them. I knew running a blue No. 24 I had to run hard here at Eldora. Rico (Abreu) does a really good job in a Sprint car with that. I had to put on a show. RELATED: Larson puts on a show "We got the flat tire there early, I knew we would get a lucky dog, I just didn't know if I could get back to the top-three as quick as I did. It just worked out where I got by ( Christopher ) Bell when he got in the wall and I think Bobby (Pierce) had a gear issue. He was definitely better than I was for sure. The win didn't come easy though. Larson took the lead from last year's runner-up Bobby Pierce following the second caution on Lap 35 and appeared to be in control of the event, but while leading, Larson spun in Turn 4 on Lap 52 to bring out the fourth caution of the night. Adding fuel to his fire, Larson was docked one lap by NASCAR for intentionally causing the yellow after spinning and stopping on the race track. Two cautions later, however, Larson found himself back on the lead lap courtesy of the free pass and his mission to rally from the back to the front began. Chasing down Pierce for the race lead, Larson took advantage of Pierce's transmission being stuck in fourth gear to take the lead with 30 laps to go, Pierce attempted to take the lead back three laps later, but slammed the outside Turn 4 wall, ending his night and bringing out the final caution of the event. RELATED: Pierce discusses late-race woes Despite a late race charge from Bell on the restart, Larson pulled away as the laps dwindled away and earned a 0.767-second advantage to win his second NCWTS race in his 12th start. "I guess I didn't really hold him (Pierce) off, he slid in there and hit the wall and got a flat I think," Larson said. "I hated that I couldn't race with him, but I was happy when he was out. I almost gave it away again after that restart. I went to the middle of three and four in third gear and I missed a shift off Turn 4 and Bell got into my back bumper. Thankfully, he wasn't inside of me, because he would have got the lead there and probably would be standing where I am." Bell, last year's winner, was disappointed with second but knew he gained crucial points towards his championship chase. "Tony (Stewart, Eldora Speedway owner) did an awesome job with the race track tonight," said Bell. "It was really technical, it was really tough to get around and it was really fun, too. Kyle's been trying to win this race for a long time and it was cool for him to win tonight. The guys at KBM ( Kyle Busch Motorsports) worked really hard to put me in this position. I was disappointed we couldn't repeat." Pierce who led a commanding 102 laps finished 25th in likely his final truck race of the season. "The carburetor was flooded and I couldn't get off the corner at all. Larson drove a great race," Pierce said. "When that happened on the restart, I caught him a little bit, he hit the wall and I tried to slide him. I went in there a little too hard, it was super-slick and I got the wall and knocked the right-rear off the rim and that was that." Notes: The event was halted for seven minutes, 29 seconds for a nine truck accident in Turn 3 on Lap 38. ... The NASCAR Camping World Truck Series returns to competition at Pocono Raceway on July 30 for the running of the Pocono Mountains 150 (1 p.m., FS1, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio). Kyle Busch is the defending champion.
Christopher Bell recounts harrowing Daytona wreck
HAMPTON, Ga. -- Time away from the driver's seat is not a friend, not after a barrel roll down Daytona International Speedway 's frontstretch. One week removed from his frightening tumble, Christopher Bell is eager to get on the track again and put his dramatic wreck in the season opener behind him. Bell, who is in his first full NASCAR Camping World Truck Series season, has flipped sprint cars a time or two, but his crash in the No. 4 Kyle Busch Motorsports Toyota was a first in stock-car racing. It was different in several ways, including having more time to think about the wreck afterward. "In the open-wheel program, you race 100 races a year so you flip on Saturday and you're back racing on Sunday," the 21-year-old driver said before Friday's NCWTS practice at Atlanta Motor Speedway . "Luckily, we didn't have a huge break where you sit there and ponder it. So I'm looking forward to today and tomorrow to get Daytona behind us and I hope to start fresh." The physics of wrecking in NASCAR are different as well. "The biggest thing about the stock car is it might not hurt as bad because you've got more material around you, but the G forces are say more. I think the biggest thing is you're sitting to the left compared to an open-wheel car, you're sitting in the center of the car so everything is flipping around you. In the stock cars, you're off to the side of the truck, so whenever you start barrel rolling, you know, it's trying to throw you out of the car." Bell did start fresh and fast on Friday, posting the second-fastest speed of 178.816 mph in the Truck Series' first practice for Saturday's Great Clips 200 (4:30 p.m. ET, FOX Sports 1). He's competing in the truck that Erik Jones drove to the series championship in 2015. And he feels fine. "When I stopped, you got a lot of adrenaline, so I felt really good. … But walking to the ambulance I was pretty dizzy and by the time I got there, I was really dizzy. As far as injuries, other than a little bit of bruising, I mean my face was a little bruised afterwards, but other than that I was fine. The next morning I felt 100 percent until I got out of bed, and once I got out of bed, I realized I couldn't move quite as fast. But after a couple days that was all gone, and I was good to go." Bell is hopeful to keep pushing strong speed into Saturday's race with some solid testing at Atlanta under the team's belt. He got his first win while running seven races for KBM in 2015, taking the checkered flag at Eldora Speedway and is eager for another trip to Victory Lane. But first, Bell is grateful to get back to racing and past the wreck. He said the accident could have been worse if the truck had taken a hard hit to the nose or been hit by another truck rather than dissipating energy as it rolled down the track. "Looking back at it, I saw Larson's crash then Austin Dillon last year," Bell said. "You think, 'That's never going to happen to me. That'll never happen to me.' Then suddenly it is happening to you. Watching it was an eye opener. Even after I went through the crash it didn't sink in, but whenever I got to watching myself flipping, it's like 'Wow, that did happen to me.' It puts it in perspective."
News: Christopher Bell can't sing as well as Huey Lewis and the
There's no denying Christopher Bell is bold. It's what led him to a victory in just his third career Camping World Truck Series start at the age of 20. And it's what led him to show off his vocal abilities in a new video he shared on Wednesday. Unfortunately, it seems his vocal abilities should've hit the gym first before flexing so hard. Time for @JBLaudio "Guess the Song." Tweet me the answer. Use #JBLxToyota #contest RULES: https://t.co/OUltxQpA66 pic.twitter.com/vJnghxLTNZ — Christopher Bell (@CBellRacing) March 30, 2016 Now, we fully admire Bell's ability to give it his all -- and hey, sometimes effort trumps talent -- but the first response tweet to his post kind of encapsulated how everyone is feeling about this. @CBellRacing @JBLaudio Chris please stick to racing — Zan (@Zannabee3) March 30, 2016 Well, maybe everyone except this guy. Does your mood suck? Try some @Huey_Lewis_News @pandora_radio . That will get your ass in gear. — Dale Earnhardt Jr . (@DaleJr) March 22, 2016 So, Chris, let's stick to what you know best (dominating on the race track), while leaving the mic work to the professionals and let's all jam out to some Huey Lewis and the News to help us get over hump day and one day closer to Martinsville.
Byron checks off boxes one milestone at a time
William Byron had one request for his father when he attended his first-ever NASCAR race at Martinsville Speedway on April 2, 2006. To see the ever-popular burnout. "My first race I went to, actually, Tony Stewart won and he climbed the fence at Martinsville," Byron told NASCAR.com at the Kyle Busch Motorsports shop in Mooresville, North Carolina on Monday. "I told my dad when I went to my first race that we had to stay for the burnout, and now I get to do the burnouts, I get to do the cool celebrations, so that’s a neat part for me." Now with four 2016 wins in just 11 career starts and an official lock in the Chase, the Camping World Truck Series Sunoco Rookie of the Year contender has left his own marks on the start/finish lines of Kansas Speedway , Texas Motor Speedway , Iowa Speedway and, most recently, Kentucky Speedway on July 7. For Byron -- who confessed he didn't even know how to do a burnout after his first win in Victory Lane -- the initial wave of success has taken the 18-year-old on a strong current that has left the NASCAR community wondering: where did this kid come from? Most recently, the hallways of Charlotte Country Day School in Charlotte, North Carolina. • • • It wasn't long ago that young Byron was living the life of an ordinary high school student in his hometown of Charlotte, North Carolina. Balancing classes, homework and the everyday tasks of high schoolers, he earned his first Camping World Truck Series win at Kansas Speedway just three weeks before donning a cap and gown for high school graduation. Diploma now in hand and atop the Camping World Truck Series point standings, he hasn't let off the gas since. "The first win was nerve-wracking and kind of got that out of the way so we could focus on the Chase," Byron said. "But then we kind of realized we had to get a second win to make sure we were locked into the Chase. When we got that second one at Texas, everything just started to roll after that." His success in a short period of time has surprised and impressed many. His mother, who was also at the race shop on Monday afternoon following a team win luncheon, showed off a picture of one of her son's early wins in racing, much like any proud mother would of her star high school football player, talented musician or stellar student. Several years ago, she wouldn't have anticipated William would be racing like he is today. Neither did William. "When I was a fan, I was a big fan of Jimmie Johnson ," Byron recalled. "… I just watched the races just like any young kid out there and aspired to be in racing. Not necessarily a driver, but now I've been able to drive and it's a dream come true." Byron kick-started his career later than most budding racers, purchasing his first Legends car at the age of 14, just four years ago. "When I was 12 or 13 … I started to understand racing and how I could drive a race car," Byron said. "I started to do iRacing and I was pretty good at it, so then I said, well if I can do that, maybe I can get into a Legend car or a real car and succeed in that. "Every step was kind of a new check off the list to see if I could do it." • • • As the 2016 season rolls on, Byron continues to check boxes off his list. His win at Kentucky marked the 51st win for Kyle Busch Motorsports, the most for any Camping World Truck Series team in series history. He matched Kurt Busch 's 2000 record in the Truck Series for the most wins in one season by a rookie with four trips to Victory Lane. Only difference between a young Busch and Byron? Busch recorded his final 2000 Truck Series win at the end of the season, while Byron has 13 more races to surpass that record and pencil his own name into the history books. "That's another incentive going down the road to try and get another win to break that record," Byron said of the potential milestone. "That's a personal incentive, but I like the team incentive that we set, just like getting the 51st win was really important to my guys and just really good for our team." With a humble and friendly demeanor, Byron gives credit to his team, both his own No. 9 crew as well as teammate and Gateway winner Christopher Bell , who he'll lean on for dirt experience in the upcoming race at Eldora Speedway . Bell won the race at the dirt track last year. And of course, there's team owner Kyle Busch , who has served as a mentor for several young drivers, including reigning Camping World Truck Series champion Erik Jones . Busch often refers to his young pupils jokingly as students in the " Kyle Busch School of Charm" -- but that charm dissipates slightly on the race track, as "Rowdy" transitions into often his students' fiercest competitor. "Kyle's competitive, obviously; he wants to win every week," Byron said of the boss man. "But at the same time, he doesn’t compromise the race team and helping us grow as young drivers to make sure we know what we need to do on the race track. So, he's a coach, a mentor and also a competitor. But when we get out there on the race track, he’s definitely trying to win and that's the cool part about it." Byron may be passing the School of Charm with flying colors but he'll become a student in a different facet in the fall, when he attends Liberty University as a business major. He's begun taking a couple courses now, but will start attending classes on campus when the new semester commences. Tack on the start of the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Chase in September, and the 18-year-old is looking at quite a hectic autumn. "The number one focus is the race team and that's what we’re making sure to do, is that we stay focused on what I need to do around the shop or how I need to manage that," Byron said. "But Liberty does a great job of managing my school around my racing. They know my schedule is busy, they see the races on T.V. and and they make sure that they’re following me, so they're going to know in the fall that there’s a lot going on but I think they really support it and they'll be able to work around it." As for the Chase? Byron & Co. have already started their homework. "The Chase races are races that we're, as a race team, are really good at," Byron said. "The mile-and-a-half races, we've won three of those of the four this year, and a couple short tracks we've done well on too. I think we're going to be really strong in Martinsville in the Chase and I've got a win at New Hampshire in the K&N car, so hopefully we can get a win there and solidify our spot in the next round and get to Martinsville to get to Homestead. "It's a tough challenge, but I'm just hoping that we have solid finishes and get a couple wins." Win by win, the column of checked boxes on Byron’s list seems to get longer and longer. While he focuses his target on the Camping World Truck Series championship for now, he aims higher later down the road. "Hopefully I can get to the (Sprint) Cup Series in the next four, five years," Byron said. "That's ultimately the goal to race at the top level of NASCAR. "I'm just trying to build those opportunities as they come and hopefully that's what lies ahead." &amp;amp;amp;lt;/p&amp;amp;amp;gt;
KBM logs 51st Camping World Trucks Series win, most in series
SPARTA, Ky. -- Kyle Busch Motorsports etched its name into the NASCAR history books Thursday night at Kentucky Speedway with a fitting number -- 51. Team owner Kyle Busch's organization eclipsed Roush Fenway Racing atop the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series' all-time win list with its 51st victory, the fourth of the year for ultra-hot rookie William Byron. The 18-year-old driver led 70 of the 150 laps in the Buckle Up in Your Truck 225 and signaled the landmark win with a commemorative flag during his post-race burnout. "Certainly you want to be the best at what you do," Busch said. "I've tried to assemble a great group of guys. I feel like we have a great group of guys now. We have in our whole time that we have been in existence at Kyle Busch Motorsports. It's been a lot of fun, it's been a lot of trying times; it's been a lot of blood, sweat and tears by both my wife (Samantha) and myself and all these guys that are on this team now and all the people that have been a part of Kyle Busch Motorsports in the years past. We wouldn't be here without all them. This is a special moment. It's really, really cool." The number, so frequently associated with Busch's efforts in NASCAR's lower two national divisions, was a collaborative total achieved by eight drivers -- Busch himself (29 wins), Erik Jones (7), Darrell Wallace Jr. (5), Byron (4), Denny Hamlin (2), Christopher Bell (2), Kasey Kahne (1) and Brian Scott (1). Busch lauded the relatively short amount of time (2010-16) in which his organization achieved the milestone. Likewise, it's been a quick rise to success for Byron, who is now 4-for-11 -- a .364 winning percentage -- in his brief Camping World Truck Series career. "I can't say enough about this organization," Byron said. "It's so awesome to have Kyle and Samantha's support, Toyota's support with great Toyota Tundras and great JGR (Joe Gibbs Racing) engines tonight. It's a dream come true to get a win like this. It just keeps going."