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A near-perfect season for NASCAR Cup Series competitor William Byron in Super Late Model competition continued at Berlin Raceway on Thursday evening in the Money in the Bank 150.
Nobody could match the efficiency Byron displayed at the front of the stacked 30-car field, as he held off Bubba Pollard following the final competition caution to tally his fifth victory behind the wheel of a Super Late Model in 2022.
With his win, Byron joins a small but elite group of drivers that have won the Money in the Bank 150 during its brief existence. That list includes Pollard, local regular Brian Campbell and NASCAR Camping World Truck Series driver Carson Hocevar, who won the last two runnings of the race.
Below are the key takeaways from Byron‘s dominant run in Thursday‘s Money in the Bank 150 at Berlin Raceway.
William Byron the class of the field
William Byron had never seen Berlin Raceway prior to arriving at the track earlier in the week.
Once he strapped into his No. 24 Axalta Coating Systems Toyota prepared by short track veteran Donnie Wilson, any uneasiness evaporated for Byron as he took control of the Money in the Bank 150 after passing Bubba Pollard early on.
Byron expected Pollard to challenge him as the laps clicked off but said that keeping his composure and taking care of his equipment were crucial towards holding on for the win.
“It came down to good tire management,” Byron said. “Branden [Lines] was coaching me through it the whole time and I was trying to run a good pace with Bubba [Pollard]. At times, I thought he was better than me, but it worked out to where I could get my tires cooled back off and once we got some longer runs, the car came back to me.”
That’s money for @WilliamByron!
— NASCAR Roots (@NASCARRoots) June 9, 2022
For Byron, winning the Money in the Bank 150 carried some extra significance knowing that he ended up beating Pollard and Camping World Truck Series driver Ty Majeski.
The Super Late Model resumes for both Pollard and Majeski include victories in prestigious events like the Snowball Derby, All American 400 and the Oxford 250, so Byron knew that a victory on Thursday would involve defeating two of the best in the discipline.
Byron was thrilled to get the best of both Pollard and Majeski. He is confident that the win in the Money in the Bank 150 will give him some much-needed momentum in both Super Late Models and the rest of the Cup Series season.
“I‘ve never had to beat Bubba and Ty,” Byron said. “I‘ve raced against them a lot and they‘ve beat me a lot, so it was nice to get one up on them and hopefully this is a sign of good things to come.
Bubba Pollard comes up short of second Money in the Bank 150 win
Bubba Pollard was the only driver who came close to challenging William Byron for the win in the Money in the Bank 150.
At the start of the race, Pollard quickly took the lead away from Byron before electing to save his car behind him for most of the 150-lap feature. Pollard‘s efforts proved to be in vain, as he ultimately settled for a second-place finish.
Pollard believed his car was strong enough to pass Byron for the win but said that slower traffic prevented him from getting the run he needed.
“The lapped cars at least cost us the chance to race and make it a show for the fans,” Pollard said. “It is what it is, so now we have to come back and try it again. We were still saving with around 25 to go and I would have liked to see what we had at the end.”
Got held up by lap cars and couldn‘t close the gap back up. Finished second, onto Montgomery. pic.twitter.com/Nz1YoFX0Mj
— Bubba Pollard (@bubbapollard26) June 10, 2022
A victory for Pollard on Thursday evening would have seen him join Brian Campbell and Carson Hocevar as two-time winners of the Money in the Bank 150.
Instead, Pollard was left to reflect on what could have been as he battled a slick track through all 150 laps that he admitted placed heavy emphasis on track position.
Despite being frustrated with how circumstances unfolded for him, Pollard departed Berlin optimistic about his chances to win the Battle at Berlin in August, which he hopes will involve more on-track passing in different track conditions.
“[The track] did not really race that great,” Pollard said. “It was slick, hot and you couldn‘t move around. That‘s part of it, but this place tends to race really good, so hopefully we can run better here in August.”
Brian Campbell endures roller coaster evening
Brian Campbell was not happy when the checkered flag flew on Thursday‘s Money in the Bank 150.
After overcoming an accident on Lap 2 with Evan Shotko, Campbell patiently bided his time inside the Top 5 while his competitors used up their tires, only for his chances of a victory to abruptly end during the second competition caution, in which race control deemed he spent too much time working on his car in the pits.
Although Campbell rebounded from the penalty to finish fourth, he expressed his frustration towards race control for the penalty that sent him to the rear of the field with over 60 laps to go.
“I think the tower stole the race from us,” Campbell said. “We had the fastest car and were pacing ourselves during the first part of the race. That call took this race from us, and I‘m pretty pissed about it. We had the car to win.”
Having won the Money in the Bank 150 back in 2018 and 2019, Campbell had every reason to believe he could add another victory in the event despite facing a talented field that included William Byron, Bubba Pollard and Ty Majeski.
Being able to quickly climb back through the field in a short amount of time showcased the speed of the cars prepared by Johnny VanDoorn in Campbell‘s eyes, which is why he agitated over being unable to mount a proper challenge for the win.
Campbell does not plan to linger on Thursday‘s outcome for long, as he is more focused on working with VanDoorn to iron out all the minor issues and start winning races at Berlin on a more regular basis again.
“We‘ve had fast cars every week, but we need to put the whole thing together,” Campbell said. “This week was very similar to the previous ones, but when we do put a whole weekend together, this No. 47 car is going to be in Victory Lane a lot. We‘re just going to come back and be stronger.”
Ty Majeski was unable to run down Byron or Pollard in the closing laps but still managed to bring home a solid third place finish.
Erik Jones joined Byron in representing the Cup Series at Berlin on Thursday evening. A multi-time Snowball Derby and Winchester 400, Jones struggled to find consistent speed in his car during the 150-lap feature and ended up settling for 10th.
Derek Griffith competed in the Money in the Bank 150 as a last-minute replacement for Carson Hocevar, who is recovering from injuries sustained in the Camping World Truck Series race at World Wide Technology Raceway last weekend. Griffith was the last car to be lapped by Bryon and finished 13th.
Derek Kneeland, who serves as Tyler Reddick‘s spotter, also competed in the Money in the Bank 150 and finished a lap down in 17th. Kneeland had Kyle Busch‘s spotter and former NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour competitor Tony Hirschman atop the grandstands guiding him through the race.