Byron: The Glen Is A Fun Track

24 WILLIAM BYRON

Age: 23 (Nov. 29, 1997)

Hometown: Charlotte, North Carolina

Resides: Charlotte, North Carolina

Crew Chief: Rudy Fugle

Standings: 3rd

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No. 24 Axalta Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 1LE

BEST YEAR YET: Entering the back half of the 2021 NASCAR Cup Series season, William Byron is having his best season yet at the highest level of competition in the No. 24 Axalta Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 1LE. So far, Byron has collected one win (Homestead-Miami Speedway), one pole award (Road America), eight top-five finishes and 14 top-10s (tied for the fourth-most by a driver this season) all while leading 245 laps and collecting three stage wins. His eight top-five finishes are the most the 23-year-old driver has had in a full season at the Cup level and his 14 top-10s tie his previous best in a season, as well.

BEFORE THE BREAK: Before the two-week Olympic break in the Cup season, Byron was running in the front of the field consistently every race. The Charlotte, North Carolina, native has spent 4,013 laps inside the top 10 – the second-most in the series – and 2,166 laps in the top five – the third-most throughout the field. In the last 10 races, Byron has run within the top five for 1,064 laps – the third-most behind Hendrick Motorsports teammates Kyle Larson and Chase Elliott. Byron maintains the second-best average running position in the Cup Series of 8.90 and an average finishing position of 11.91, placing him third in the driver points standings.

ROAD COURSE RESULTS: Despite limited road course racing in his background, Byron has stepped up his road course racing skills throughout his time in the Cup Series, finishing in the top 10 in three of the last seven races. In five of the last nine road course events, Byron has led the field at one point, including leading the most laps during last year’s race at the Charlotte ROVAL. Byron also has led the fourth-most laps on road courses during the 2021 season (20). Two of his Cup Series stage wins have come during road course races, as well.

WATKINS GLEN WIZ: Sunday’s race will mark Byron’s third Cup Series start at Watkins Glen International and his fifth overall NASCAR national series start at the road course. In the Cup Series, Byron has a track-best qualifying effort of second (2019) and a best finish of eighth (2018) at the 2.45-mile course. Prior to his two Cup Series starts, Byron made his debut at Watkins Glen in the 2015 NASCAR ARCA Menards Series East race, starting second and finishing seventh. He returned to the road course in 2017 with the NASCAR Xfinity Series, qualifying 17th and crossing the line in 10th. In his four previous national starts at Watkins Glen, Byron has finished outside the top-10 running order only once, which occurred during the 2019 Cup Series race when he was collected in an on-track incident while running second.

HOMEWARD BOUND: While No. 24 crew chief Rudy Fugle has limited experience at Watkins Glen, the Livonia, New York, native is excited to head to his hometown track for Sunday’s race. Already in 2021, Fugle and Byron have four road course starts together. The duo is looking to turn their luck around Sunday after suffering some misfortunes in the previous road course races this season, despite running up front. Aside from four road course starts in the Cup Series, Fugle has seven other road course races under his belt, all coming in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series. In those seven starts, he has one win (Erik Jones, 2015), three top-five finishes and five top-10s. One of those seven truck starts was also with Byron – the duo raced to a 10th-place finish at Canadian Tire Motorsports Park in 2016.

ALL ABOUT AXALTA: When the Cup Series returns after a two-week hiatus, Byron will climb behind the wheel of the No. 24 Axalta Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 1LE as he takes on the 2.45-mile road course of Watkins Glen. Now in its 29th year of partnership with Hendrick Motorsports, Axalta has returned as primary partner on Byron’s No. 24 for 14 races in 2021. For a better look at Byron’s No. 24 Axalta.

HOGGING THE ROAD: Hendrick Motorsports holds the NASCAR Cup Series record for all-time road-course victories with 23, which is 10 more than next-best Joe Gibbs Racing. The organization has won on road courses with a series-high seven different drivers: Jeff Gordon (nine wins), Chase Elliott (seven), Tim Richmond (three), Kyle Larson, Jimmie Johnson, Ricky Rudd and Geoff Bodine. Hendrick Motorsports also has the most road-course stage wins of any team with 11.

ALL THE (ROAD) RAGE: In NASCAR Cup Series road races since 2018, Hendrick Motorsports has gone to victory lane in eight of 12 events, won 10 of 24 stages, led 475 of 1,050 laps (45%), and posted three 1-2 finishes.

WIN AT THE GLEN: With eight trips to victory lane at Watkins Glen International, Hendrick Motorsports is the venue’s all-time leader in NASCAR Cup Series wins. The team also holds the track records for pole positions (seven) and laps led (632).

SEVEN OF 10: Over the last 10 NASCAR Cup Series points races, Hendrick Motorsports has won seven times (the most), finished 1-2 on four occasions (most), won 10 of 21 stages (most), and led 1,308 of 2,131 laps raced (61%). With 40 total entries across the most recent 10 events, the team has scored 19 top-five finishes (most) and 26 top-10s (most).

THROUGH 22: After 22 of 36 points-paying races in 2021, Hendrick Motorsports has won 10 times to tie its most ever at this time of the year. Its 16 stage wins are the most in history by any organization going into the 23rd points race. Hendrick Motorsports has tied its most top-five finishes (34) and posted its fourth-most laps led (2,056) at the 22-event mark. The four-car stable has recorded 53 top-10s in 2021, which represent the second-most ever by any team at this point in a season.

William Byron, driver of the No. 24 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 1LE, on why he enjoys racing at Watkins Glen: “Honestly, Watkins Glen is one of the most fun racetracks we go to as a driver because it’s so fast. It gives you a chance as a driver to really get through the gears and feel the speed. That is unique for a road course but fun to do in our cars. Where when we go to these road courses that other series run on, we have to brake a lot more because our cars are so much heavier. Watkins Glen just really feels like a superspeedway for road courses. It makes it fun, fast-paced and exciting as a driver, and I’m ready to get back after we’ve had a year off from there.”

Rudy Fugle, crew chief of the No. 24 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 1LE, on returning to racing after the two-week break: “It was nice having a couple weeks off from racing but I’m ready to get back after it. We went into the break without the momentum that we hoped, so I think that the time off allowed us all to reset so we can come back even stronger for this final stretch before the playoffs. Road course racing is a strong suit of not only William but also Hendrick Motorsports. We don’t have the results on those tracks that we anticipated having but we’re going back to the basics Sunday. We’re going to go there and execute what we need and put ourselves in contention to get another win. I grew up close to there and it was the first race track I ever attended as a kid. I’ll have friends and family at the track supporting us, so ending up in victory lane would be even more special.”

TIL NEXT TIME, I AM STILL WORKING ON MY REDNECK!

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