Byron Readies For ‘Dega

24 WILLIAM BYRON

Age: 24 (Nov. 29, 1997)

Hometown: Charlotte, North Carolina

Resides: Charlotte, North Carolina

Crew Chief: Rudy Fugle

Standings: 10th

No. 24 RaptorTough.com Chevrolet Camaro ZL1

ON TO THE NEXT: The Round of 12 of the NASCAR Cup Series playoffs kicked off last weekend at Texas Motor Speedway. Following a seventh-place finish at the Fort Worth venue, William Byron was ranked third, 17 points above the cutoff line. However, with a 25-point penalty assessed Tuesday, Byron is now sitting 10th in the standings, eight points below the cutoff line heading to Talladega Superspeedway (pending an appeal).

PLAYOFF POWER: In the first four races of the Cup Series playoffs, Byron is one of two drivers – Denny Hamlin is the other – to finish in the top 10 in every event. He finished eighth at Darlington Raceway, sixth at Kansas Speedway, third at Bristol Motor Speedway, and seventh at Texas. In fact, Byron holds the second-best average finish so far in the 2022 playoffs (6.00) behind Hamlin.

SUPERSPEEDWAY STAR: Sunday’s race at Talladega will be Byron’s 20th superspeedway start in the Cup Series. In his previous 19 starts, Byron has scored one win (Daytona International Speedway, August 2020), two runner-up finishes, four top-fives – two of which were at Talladega – and four top-10s with 188 laps led. In fact, the 24-year-old has three top-five finishes in the last nine superspeedway races – tied for the second-most in the series.

LEADING THE DRAFT: In five drafting-style races in the 2022 season (those tracks are Daytona, Atlanta Motor Speedway and Talladega), Byron has led the field for 192 laps – the most of any driver ahead of Hendrick Motorsports teammate Chase Elliott (156). He also won at Atlanta in March, which used the superspeedway rules package in its two races this season.

TALLADEGA TELL-ALL: Byron will be making his 10th Cup Series start at the 2.66-mile oval when the No. 24 team hits the track Sunday. In his previous nine starts, Byron has a track-best finish of second coming in April of 2021 at the Alabama-based venue. In addition to that runner-up finish, he has two stage wins at Talladega including winning stage two in the spring this season. He also has led 94 laps there since 2018 – tied for the sixth-most among drivers.

DIGGIN’ DEGA: When the Cup Series heads to Talladega this weekend, it will mark Rudy Fugle’s fourth race at the venue as a crew chief in the sport’s top series. Fugle and the No. 24 team have a track-best qualifying effort of fourth and a runner-up result, both coming in the spring race of the 2021 season. Aside from those three races, the Livonia, New York, native has eight additional national series starts at the 2.66-mile track already under his belt. In seven NASCAR Camping World Truck Series races, Fugle has accumulated three top-five finishes and five top-10s. One of those previous starts was with Byron, in 2016, where the duo started eighth and raced to a 10th-place result.

RAPTOR® TOUGH: Heading to Talladega, Byron will be back behind the wheel of the No. 24 RaptorTough.com Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 for the second consecutive weekend. RAPTOR® is a durable protective coating and bed liner that is designed to tolerate the toughest climatic conditions and can be applied to a wide range of substrates from steel, wood, concrete and plaster to plastics and composites. Resistant to common fuels, U.V., scratches and stains, RAPTOR® is available at local paint distributors, auto parts stores and can also be purchased from online retailers like Amazon.

LEADING THE WAY: With nine wins through the 30 NASCAR Cup Series races in 2022, Hendrick Motorsports has earned the most victories so far this season. It is the only four-car team to see all of its drivers win a race this season. The organization is also the only one to have multiple drivers with at least two wins – Chase Elliott (four), Kyle Larson (two) and William Byron (two). On top of that, Elliott and Byron rank 1-2 in laps led this year.

ALL IN: For the second straight season and third time in nine seasons, all four drivers for the 14-time Cup Series championship organization are in the Round of 12 of the NASCAR playoffs. The quartet of Alex Bowman, Byron, Elliott and Larson also did this in 2021. In the first year of the elimination-style playoff – 2014 – the foursome of Dale Earnhardt Jr., Jeff Gordon, Jimmie Johnson and Kasey Kahne each advanced to the second round of the playoffs.

SUCCESS ON SUPERSPEEDWAYS: With 28 wins on superspeedways, Hendrick Motorsports has the most victories on that track type in Cup Series history. Thirteen of those victories have come at Talladega Superspeedway, while 15 have come at Daytona International Speedway.

VICTORY FORMATION: Gordon’s six wins at the Alabama venue top the board for the organization followed by Johnson’s two triumphs. Earnhardt Jr., Elliott, Terry Labonte, Ken Schrader and Brian Vickers each have one victory for the Rick Hendrick-owned team. The seven drivers to win at the 2.66-mile track are the most for one team.

SPRING SUMMARY: In the spring race at the sport’s biggest oval, Hendrick Motorsports led 70 of the 188 laps (37%). Byron paced the field for a race-high 38 circuits and won stage two, while Larson held the point position for 32 laps. Larson (4.77), Byron (4.87) and Elliott (7.84) had three of the four best average running positions in the race. The team spent 44% of their laps running in the top five and 72% percent of their laps in the top 10. At the end of the day, three of its drivers finished in the top 10 with Larson finishing fourth, Elliott placing seventh and Bowman taking ninth.

FACTOID FOUR YOU: In four races at Talladega in the team’s storied history, the organization has placed at least three drivers in the top 10. This year’s spring race was the most recent occurrence. The first came in April 1998 with Labonte placing fourth, Gordon in fifth and Randy LaJoie earning a 10th-place showing. In October 2007, Gordon and Johnson placed one-two while Casey Mears came in sixth. In April 2011, Johnson won, Gordon took third, Earnhardt Jr. came in fourth and Mark Martin placed eighth.

DRAFTING DARLINGS: In the season’s five drafting races with the 2022 superspeedway rules package – two at Daytona, one at Talladega and two at Atlanta Motor Speedway – Hendrick Motorsports has won twice. Byron and Elliott earned wins at Atlanta in March and July, respectively. In fact, Byron (192 laps led) and Elliott (156 laps led) rank first and second in laps led on drafting tracks this season.

RECORD SETTERS: Hendrick Motorsports has posted a series-best 53 wins in the playoffs – 20 more than the next closest organization. Johnson has the most wins with 29. Among the current driver lineup, Elliott tops the board with six wins, followed by Larson with five and Bowman has one. Nine different drivers have won a playoff race for the team, which is the most in the Cup Series ranks. Entering this year’s playoffs, the company has won a race in the postseason in 17 seasons and that mark is also the most among all Cup Series teams.

William Byron, driver of the No. 24 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1, on how to balance racing at Talladega: “Racing at Talladega (Superspeedway) is more about how well you can push someone and how well your car can receive a push. It’s a track where you really have to be able to work with other cars to not only get to the front but also stay up there. We were running up front in the spring race and lost our help in the end to stay up front, unfortunately. Once you get back in traffic, it’s a lot harder to make your way forward. With how close the points are right now, I think stage points are going to be even more crucial Sunday than they normally are in this race. With everyone trying to get every point they can, you don’t want to put yourself at risk of not finishing the race either just trying to get a stage point. It’s a fine balance for sure.”

Rudy Fugle, crew chief of the No. 24 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1, on preparation for Talladega: “Talladega (Superspeedway) is a track where balance comes more into play than a place like Daytona (International Speedway). It’s a fine line between finding speed for qualifying, but also having the handling of your car right to keep you up front during the race. We’ve only had qualifying for two superspeedway events this year, but we have a good notebook on what adjustments we made from Saturday to Sunday. We ran really well in the spring race at Talladega earlier this year, and those notes are going to be a huge help even though the weather will be different this time around. We’ll also run the same tire that we ran not only at Talladega this year, but also at Daytona as well. This is probably one of the tracks in the playoffs that we have the most notes on and can prepare for.”

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

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