William Byron wins Rattlesnake 400 Truck Series race at Texas
William Byron passed Matt Crafton late to win the Rattlesnake 400 at Texas Motor Speedway on Friday night, giving the 18-year-old driver his second win of the season in the Camping World Truck Series.
Crafton was denied what would have been his third series win in a row.
Byron, who graduated from high school last month, also won earlier this season at Kansas.
“I found the top earlier in the race and it didn’t work very well lap 15 to 20 in the run. Once I could get laps on the tires, it’s all about heart and you have to want it. My team wants it and I see that every day," Byron said.
Crafton, the two-time series champion racing the day before his 40th birthday, led 133 of 167 laps at the 1.5-mile, high-banked track where he had won the past two June races.
He had overcome a cut rear tire in the early laps that damaged the truck and forced him to restart 25th, and he held off Byron when the two staged a spirited side-by-side battle after a restart with 44 laps to go.
But after Crafton surged ahead with 36 laps remaining, Byron came back to mount one final charge, finally passing Crafton with five to go. Crafton said Byron earned the win.
“If I could have done it any differently, I would have," Crafton said. "We just lost all drive off the corner for whatever reason there. We ran so hard at the beginning of that run that it had zero drive off (by the end of it).
"It says a lot about this team. If you look at the right side of this Tundra and how beat up this thing is, we led the most laps and should of, could of won this race.”
After making the final pass of Crafton, Byron then held off fellow rookie Rico Abreu -- who mounted a challenge of his own before hitting the outside wall and having a tire go down.
Byron joined Crafton as the only multiple winners through the series' first seven races this season. Crafton, who finished second, won the previous two races at Dover and Charlotte.
Johnny Sauter, Ben Kennedy and Tyler Reddick rounded out the top five. Abreu limped home in ninth after hitting the wall twice after closing to within a few car lengths of Byron with less than two laps to go.
The Associated Press contribued to this report.