William Byron held off a hard-charging Timmy Hill in an overtime finish to take the checkered flag in the first-ever Toyota Owners 150 eNASCAR iRacing Pro Invitational Series race at virtual Richmond Raceway (Richmond). After taking the lead on lap 60, the driver of the No. 24 for Hendrick Motorsports led all but one lap the rest of the race for a dominating performance at America’s Premier Short Track.
“Short run and long run speed is key to victory at Richmond, so I was fortunate to match the pace of Ryan (Preece) in the first half of the race until I could get past him,” said Byron. “The pit call with about 40 laps to go was a tough one, but really made the difference for us. To go back-to-back is really cool. I am having run with it while we’re on hiatus here, but looking forward to getting back to real racing soon.”
Hill finished second in the race, which marked his fourth consecutive top-3 finish in the eNASCAR iRacing Pro Invitational Series. He is the only driver with a top-3 finish in every race of the series. Parker Kligerman and Landon Cassill drove their Toyota Camry’s to third- and fourth-place finishes.
Ryan Preece, driver of the No. 37 for JTG Daugherty Racing, won the pole and led the first 59 laps before being passed by eventual winner Byron. Preece made contact with Matt DiBenedetto, driver of the No. 21 for Wood Brothers Racing, to bring out the fourth caution on Lap 99. The 150-lap race concluded in overtime after a massive Lap 146 crash added four additional laps to the distance.
“The red and white walls added to Richmond on iRacing over the past week made it look good. It made it feel more real,” said Byron. “It is tough. Richmond is always hard because you run so close to the walls down the straightaways.”
Toyota Racing competed near the top of the field throughout the Toyota Owners 150. Joe Gibbs Racing’s Kyle Busch finished in fifth in his No. 18 Camry followed by teammates Denny Hamlin in the No. 11 and Erik Jones in the No. 20 in sixth and seventh. Bobby Labonte, NASCAR Hall of Famer and 2000 NASCAR Cup Series champion, drove the No. 19 to a 14th-place finish. Daniel Suárez, driving the No. 96 for Gaunt Brothers Racing, ended in 18th and Christopher Bell in the No. 95 for Leavine Family Racing finished 24th. Full race results are available here.
The Toyota Owners 150 was broadcast by FOX’s traditional NASCAR broadcast crew of Mike Joy, Jeff Gordon, and Larry McReynolds, along with Clint Bowyer, driver of the No. 14 for Stewart-Haas Racing, as part of a live simulcast on FOX, FS1, and the FOX Sports app.
Pre-race ceremonies for the Toyota Owners 150 were a star-studded affair. Chart-topping trio Rascal Flatts performed the national anthem, renown actor from Cheers and Frazier Kelsey Grammer gave the command, and NASCAR and Pro Football Hall of Famer Joe Gibbs gave the invocation. Larry the Cable Guy made a pre-race appearance and Cody Cannon of the band Whiskey Myers hosted a pre-race concert with Chase Elliott, driver of the No. 9 for Hendrick Motorsports, prior to the national broadcast on NASCAR’s Facebook and YouTube.
The Toyota Owners 150 was the fourth race in the eNASCAR iRacing Pro Invitational Series following virtual races at Homestead-Miami Speedway, Texas Motor Speedway, and Bristol Motor Speedway. Chesterfield native Denny Hamlin won the inaugural race in dramatic fashion with a last-lap pass of Dale Earnhardt Jr. Timmy Hill was the victor at Texas. Byron has now won consecutive eNASCAR iRacing Pro Invitational Series races with victories at Richmond and Bristol.
As part of the first-ever Toyota Spring Race Week at virtual Richmond, the track actively engaged with fans on social media with unique and original content. Richmond produced an official Toyota Owners 150 program and virtual Toyota Owners 150 race ticket, hosted a Friday night concert with Richmond-based band South Hill Banks, shared daily national anthem performances, offered giveaways and contests for fans, conducted Zoom Q&A and autograph sessions with Toyota Racing’s Harrison Burton and Austin Hill, offered virtual tours of the track with Richmond Raceway eSports Fueled by Sunoco’s Zack Novak and Jimmy Mullis, and more.
Richmond Raceway PR