BRISTOL MOTOR SPEEDWAY (0.533-MILE OVAL)
LOCATION: BRISTOL, TENNESSEE
EVENT: NASCAR CUP SERIES (RACE EIGHT OF 36)
TUNE IN: 2 P.M. ET, SUNDAY, APRIL 7 (FS1/PRN/SIRIUSXM)
TAMED TEXAS: Having one of his best career NASCAR Cup Series weekends, William Byron qualified a track-best second on Friday at Texas Motor Speedway. Running near the front almost all race, including leading 15 laps, Byron brought home a career track-best sixth-place finish in Sunday’s race – tying his previous career-best Cup finish from last season at Pocono Raceway – coming up a position short of capturing his first Cup Series top-five to his teammate Jimmie Johnson.
BATTLE AT BRISTOL: Heading to the “Last Great Colosseum” this weekend, Byron is set to make his sixth national series start at Bristol Motor Speedway. With two NASCAR Cup Series starts last season, two NASCAR Xfinity Series starts and one NASCAR Gander Outdoor Truck Series start at the 0.533-mile concrete oval, Byron also has one regional touring series start in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East. Byron was strong in qualifying for both Cup Series races, qualifying 11th in the spring and fifth in the fall – his best qualifying effort of 2018. Fighting handling issues in both races, he posted a best finish of 18th. In the Xfinity Series, his best finish was a 12th-place effort in the spring, while he collected a fourth-place finish in his lone Truck Series start, leading one lap in the process. In his K&N start, Byron led 44 laps before coming up just shy of the win with a runner-up result. If Byron were able to win this weekend, he would become the sixth driver to earn their first career Cup win at Bristol, as well as become the youngest Bristol winner of all time, which is currently held by Kyle Busch when he drove for Hendrick Motorsports in 2007.
AT IT AGAIN WITH AXALTA: For the sixth time in 2019, Byron will carry the iconic Axalta flames on his No. 24 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1. This weekend will complete a stretch of five races in a row for Axalta on board the No. 24 car before returning to Byron’s machine for the spring race at Dover International Speedway in May.
KNAUS’ KNOWLEDGE: Set to call the shots for his eighth race with Byron this weekend, Knaus will be making his 35th start at Bristol as a Cup Series crew chief. With two pole awards and two wins in his career at the 0.533-mile concrete track, Knaus’ most recent win came in the spring race in 2017. At the notoriously tough track, Knaus also has 12 top-five finishes and 20 top-10s to his credit.
Q&A WITH BYRON: Byron will take part in a question-and-answer session with fans at the Trackside Live stage in the Bristol Motor Speedway Fan Zone on Sunday, April 7, at 11 a.m. local time.
William Byron on Bristol:
“The atmosphere is great at Bristol. The cars are fast and it feels really fast inside the car. I would say all of that stuff just contributes to the overall atmosphere there. It’s just a really fun track to go to as a driver. It’s challenging but also very rewarding to be able to get around there fast.”