Two tires or four, Byron had no answer for Blaney in Iowa

William Byron had the better tires at the end of Sunday’s NASCAR Cup Series race at Iowa Speedway but still came up short to Ryan Blaney.

It was the two tires versus four tires call that prevailed. Blaney’s team gave him two tires on the final pit stop of the Iowa Corn 350 under the lap 260 caution. Blaney, Joey Logano and Ricky Stenhouse Jr. came off pit road in the top three positions.

Byron came off pit road sixth. He was the third driver in line who took four tires.

Over the final stint, Byron never got within half a second of Blaney. And yet he wasn’t surprised two tires beat four tires.

“No, not really, because he was probably the best car,” Byron said after finishing second. “Once the 5 [Kyle Larson] was out – I felt like him (Blaney) and the 5 were right there together – and I wasn’t surprised. I don’t think tires mattered in that instance, because he was the best car probably.”


Blaney held serve on the restart and led 201 of 350 laps. Choosing to restart on the inside lane behind Blaney, it didn’t take long for Byron to move into second place. But he never challenged for the race lead or the win.

“It felt like when I got 15 or so laps on my tires, I just couldn’t close the gap,” Byron said.

“From lap 20 to 55 or 60, I didn’t really close the gap, and I felt like that’s what I needed to pounce on him and try to get him clean air, and I think I would have been able to manage lap traffic. We had a lot of long run speed early in the race, but we were struggling a little bit on the short run, and then it seemed like by the end of the race, everyone kind of came closer together, and we didn’t have that advantage anymore.

“So, just a treacherous night. The restarts were really sketchy for a lap or so because the tires don’t have any grip and a repaved surface. It was definitely interesting out there trying to manage that and then the long run and everything like that.”

Despite winning three of the season’s first eight races, Byron’s No. 24 Hendrick Motorsports team has not had smooth sailing. Iowa Speedway was Bryon’s best result since the rain-shortened Coca-Cola 600 last month. It was just his third top-five finish in the last nine races.

“Proud of this team,” Byron said. “We need to put together some consistent runs; this is a good start. We’d love to be winning (Sunday night), but Ryan and those guys were really good. So, congrats to them.”

Story originally appeared on Racer