NASCAR Xfinity Series at Indianapolis 2017 Results: Rookie William Byron Wins

Mike ChiariFeatured ColumnistJuly 22, 2017

Race driver William Byron leads Justin Allgaier into the first turn during practice for the NASCAR XFINITY series auto race at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, in Indianapolis Friday, July 21, 2017. (AP Photo/Michael Conroy)
Michael Conroy/Associated Press

Rookie William Byron held off the hard-charging Paul Menard to win the NASCAR Xfinity Series Lilly Diabetes 250 on Saturday at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

Byron led 26 of 100 laps and managed to secure his third victory of the season despite a pair of Cup Series regulars in Menard and Joey Logano attempting to chase him down.

Here is a look at the top 10 finishers from IMS, courtesy of NASCAR.com:

1. William Byron

2. Paul Menard

3. Joey Logano

4. Elliott Sadler

5. Cole Custer

6. Ryan Reed

7. Brennan Poole

8. Daniel Hemric

9. Brandon Jones

10. Ty Dillon

Byron's three wins this season are two more than any other championship-eligible driver, which gives him a significant leg up as the playoffs approach.

While Byron has the advantage in terms of wins, he still trails veteran Elliott Sadler in the points standings with no other driver within 100 points of the top:

1. Elliott Sadler: Leader (0 wins)

2. William Byron: -40 (3 wins)

3. Justin Allgaier: -133 (1 win)

4. Brennan Poole: -192 (0 wins)

5. Daniel Hemric: -207 (0 wins)

6. Cole Custer: -230 (0 wins)

7. Matt Tifft: -251 (0 wins)

8. Ryan Reed: -257 (1 win)

9. Dakoda Armstrong: -297 (0 wins)

10. Michael Annett: -298 (0 wins)

11. Blake Koch: -321 (0 wins)

12. Brendan Gaughan: -336 (0 wins)

Saturday's race was largely determined by decisions and mistakes made on pit road, and that began during the first caution of the race.

As seen in the following video from NASCAR on NBC, Erik Jones spun out while attempting to get into his pit box, which resulted in him having to climb his way back up through the field:

On that same stop, Justin Allgaier barreled into his jack man in a scary situation, although the crew member recovered quickly and remained in the race:

Following the chaos, Byron made a late pass of Kyle Busch in the closing laps of the first stage, and he went on to win the stage.

The racing was highly competitive at the Brickyard on Saturday, and driver Landon Cassill credited the setup of the cars for that fact:

Near the end of the second stage, another miscue on the part of Allgaier brought out a caution flag and eliminated him from contention.

Allgaier missed his pit box and left pit road before proper repairs were made, resulting in him stalling out in the middle of the track:

It seemed as though Busch was destined to win for much of the race, as he led a race-high 44 laps and was in control with 20 laps to go.

Both Busch and Jones decided to pit with 18 laps left, however, and the choice didn't pay dividends since another caution flag didn't come out.

Busch had to settle for a 12th-place finish, while Jones ended up 23rd due to a tire violation on his stop.

The Lilly Diabetes 250 became a three-driver race between Byron, Menard and Logano with Menard picking up steam late.

After passing Logano for second, Menard attempted to make a move for the win, but Byron was able to hold him off:

The 19-year-old Byron is in the midst of an impressive stretch, and Cup Series star Chase Elliott is among those who took notice:

Byron was able to keep his calmness and composure despite racing against far more experienced drivers, and he continued to show why he is among NASCAR's fastest-rising stars.

No other Xfinity Series regular has more than one win this season, which suggests Byron is now the odds-on favorite to win the championship.