Phoenix stands in way of Byron and Championship 4 berth

nhms2_ncwts_byron_winnersticker_092416William Byron hopes his next race at Phoenix International Raceway goes better than his first one when he returns to the one-mile track for Friday’s Lucas Oil 150 (10 p.m. ET on FS1).

Last season, the 18-year-old Charlotte native made his NASCAR Camping World Truck Series debut at Phoenix, finishing 31st after crashing on the sixth lap. He returns to the Sun Devil State in his 2016 campaign with a series-leading six wins, 10 top fives and 15 top 10s.

More importantly, Phoenix is the only obstacle separating Byron from a Championship 4 berth at Homestead-Miami Speedway. Heading into Friday’s race, he ranks second on the Chase Grid, five points above Timothy Peters on the cutoff line.

“It’s a little bit of pressure for everyone who is not locked in,” Byron said. “Hopefully we can capitalize on that and have the finish we need to get in order to get to Homestead. I think we’re going to have a really good shot at a win, so if we can do that it would be the easiest way to ensure we are in the Championship 4 next weekend.”

Although Byron had a hard-luck NASCAR Camping World Truck Series finish at Phoenix last year, he did finish runner-up there in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series West race.

“(My Phoenix experience) is definitely going to be beneficial,” Byron said. “Just having the track time from running the K&N Pro Series West race last year and getting seat time in the truck as well. I know what I’m going to need before I get there, so that will be a big help. I’m actually really excited that I’ve been there, even though my first truck start did not go as planned when we fell out of the race so early.”