William Byron dominated what was a chaotic eNASCAR iRacing Pro Invitational Series race at virtual Bristol Motor Speedway on Sunday.
One of the few drivers to stay out of trouble, Byron led twice for 116 laps. Fastest in qualifying and by having won his heat race, where he led every single lap, Byron started on the pole for the Food City Showdown. Byron only lost the lead when he pitted for tires when the caution came out on lap 72.
With 43 laps to go, Byron’s fresh tires paid off as he retook the lead from Chris Buescher. Byron led to the finish despite numerous caution flags and restarts.
John Hunter Nemechek finished second. Nemechek was second fastest in qualifying at the start of the day and won the second heat race, also leading every lap. Timmy Hill, who won last weekend at virtual Texas, finished third. Completing the top five was inaugural eNASCAR iRacing event winner Denny Hamlin in fourth and Matt DiBenedetto in fifth.
In addition to Bryon and Buescher taking turns at the front, there was only one other driver who paced the field. Landon Cassill led four laps but finished 20th after being involved in an accident around lap 73.
There was not much of a rhythm to the 150-lap race due to 12 caution flags.
The carnage started on lap 1 with a multi-car wreck between Christopher Bell, Ryan Preece, Kyle Busch, and Ty Dillon. On lap 11, the caution flew for another multi-car wreck involved Clint Bowyer and Darrell Wallace Jr., which resulted in the Richard Petty Motorsports driver quitting the event.
Jimmie Johnson crashed when he tried to clear himself in front of Kurt Busch. Timmy Hill spun Kyle Larson. And Larson would later find trouble with Daniel Suarez, the two going on to wreck each other under caution and being parked for the remainder of the race on lap 72.
iRacing officials then decided to use single-file restarts starting with 64 laps to go.
Kyle Busch and Preece were involved in two accidents in the final 50 laps. Garrett Smithley and Nemechek bounced off each other for the third position with 36 laps to go, and Brad Keselowski was spun by teammate Joey Logano to bring the caution out with 25 laps to go.
The final restart occurred with four laps to go. Byron was untouchable on restarts and easily gapped the field to drive to the victory, his 309th on the iRacing program.