|THE LAST FIVE: With momentum on their side, William Byron and the No. 24 Hendrick Motorsports team have not finished outside the top 15 in the last five NASCAR Cup Series races. Of those five starts, the Charlotte, North Carolina, native has racked up three top-10 results, including a season-best finish of seventh on Sunday at Pocono Raceway. With an average finish of 9.8 in the last five races, Byron ranks third-best in the Cup Series.
BACK AT THE BRICKYARD: With two Cup Series starts in the illustrious Brickyard 400, Byron has had Sunday’s race circled on his calendar. While weather dampened his rookie season start at the 2.5-mile track, Byron rebounded in last year’s race, qualifying 29th and racing his way to a personal-best fourth-place finish at Indianapolis in the Cup Series.
HISTORY MAKER: Byron made his first trip to Indianapolis Motor Speedway in 2017 with the NASCAR Xfinity Series. While battling for a championship, he became the youngest driver to win a NASCAR race at the historic track at 19 years, 7 months and 23 days and the third-youngest driver in any racing series to win on the oval.
WHAT’S IN A NUMBER?: If Byron ends up kissing the bricks on Sunday, he will add to the already lengthy legacy of the No. 24 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Currently, the No. 24 car number ranks first overall in Brickyard 400 wins at the historic track with five – all coming from Jeff Gordon – dating back to the inaugural race in 1994. If Byron were to capture the win, he would extend the lead that the No. 24 has over the second-ranked No. 48, also of Hendrick Motorsports, which has four wins currently.
KNAUS’ INDY INSIGHTS: Returning to the famed Indianapolis Motor Speedway for the 19th time atop the pit box, Chad Knaus leads all Cup Series crew chiefs in Brickyard 400 wins with four. No other crew chief, past or present, has more than two. Knaus won three of four Indy races from 2006-2009 with driver Jimmie Johnson and another in 2012. In addition to his four wins as a crew chief, Knaus visited victory lane at IMS one time as a member of Jeff Gordon’s No. 24 team in 1994 during the inaugural running of the Brickyard 400.
LIBERTY U LUCK: For this weekend’s race at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, Byron will carry the traditional red and white flames of Liberty University on the No. 24 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 1LE. In Byron’s three combined NASCAR starts at the famed racetrack, Liberty University has been on board for all of them, including his 2017 Xfinity Series win. Liberty University is in its sixth season of sponsoring the 22-year-old driver, dating back to his time in the late model ranks. Liberty has been “Training Champions for Christ” since it was founded in 1971. Located in the mountains of Central Virginia, Liberty is a liberal arts institution with 17 colleges and schools that offers more than 600 degree programs from the certificate to the doctoral level, on campus and online. Working on an undergraduate degree in business communications, Byron is in his junior year at Liberty University through its online program.
TWO DOWN AT POCONO: With weather delaying the start of Saturday’s race at Pocono Raceway, Byron was able to make up ground early, racing into the top five by the halfway mark. However, when the setup of the Axalta Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 1LE swung to the tight side, the No. 24 team had to shift its pit strategy as well, resulting in a 14th-place finish. Starting from the rear of the field for the second race of the doubleheader weekend due to an engine change, Byron again made up track position early. With weather looming and the uncertainty of when the race would end due to lack of daylight, Knaus opted to have his driver run longer into their fuel run in the final stage, allowing them to take two right-side tires on their final pit stop. Rejoining the field in the 15th position, Byron used the remaining laps to fight his way to seventh – his best finish of the 2020 season so far.
ALL-STAR RACE VOTING: For the first time in Cup Series history, the 2020 NASCAR All-Star Race will be held on the high banks of Bristol Motor Speedway, and Byron is looking to lock himself in. Last year, the driver of the No. 24 battled his way into the main event by winning the first stage of the Open qualifying race in a stellar last-corner pass. However, if Byron isn’t able to lock himself in to the All-Star Race before July 15 by winning a points-paying Cup Series race, he will have three chances during the Open qualifying race by winning one of the race stages, or receiving the fan vote. Fans can place their vote once per day with votes shared on social media counting double at NASCAR.com/fanvote until noon ET on Tuesday, July 14. The winner of the fan vote will be announced immediately following the conclusion of the Open qualifying race on Wednesday, July 15.