NEWTON, Iowa — official series release by Brooke Franceschini, NASCAR — Jonathan Moore/Getty Images for NASCAR photo —
Brandon McReynolds will celebrate his 24th birthday next week. However, it will be hard to top the celebration he had at Iowa Speedway.
McReynolds earned his first NASCAR victory in the Casey’s General Store 150, the first of two annual combination races between the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East and West. He joins a list that includes defending NASCAR XFINITY Series champion Chase Elliott, Cole Custer and Brandon Jones as drivers who have won their first NASCAR race in the K&N Pro Series on their way up to the national series at the Midwest track whose slogan proclaims, appropriately, “Stars Are Made Here.”
McReynolds, driving the No. 16 NAPA Auto Parts Toyota for Bill McAnally Racing, became the second West driver in 12 races to win the combination race at Iowa. He led twice for 22 laps, including the final eight.
William Byron led a race-high 128 laps and finished second and will be credited with a victory as the highest finishing NASCAR K&N Pro Series East driver. It is the second win in four races for the 17-year-old, who won his first career 21 Means 21 Pole Award earlier in the day and is the series points leader.
Ronnie Bassett Jr. finished third, followed by Jesse Little and McReynolds’ BMR rookie teammate Christopher Bell.
JJ Haley was sixth overall, followed by Noah Gragson, Scott Heckert, Kyle Benjamin and Austin Hill.
It was the 34th career series start for the Mooresville, North Carolina, driver. McReynolds, the son of NASCAR on FOX announcer Larry McReynolds, is an alum of the NASCAR Next program — an industry initiative designed to spotlight the sport’s rising stars.
Four of the top 10 at Iowa — Byron, Little, Benjamin and Hill — were recently named to the 2015-16 NASCAR Next class.
In his first full season last year, McReynolds finished fourth in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series West on the strength of five top three runs in 14 races.
Saturday night, he finally got the win that eluded him.
The race will air on NBCSN on Friday, May 22 at midnight ET, following the NHL playoff game between Chicago and Anaheim.