LIBERTY U PATRIOTIC SCHEME: For the second time in 2020, Liberty University will be featured on William Byron’s Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 1LE – but this time with a special patriotic paint scheme. For the Memorial Day weekend race at Charlotte Motor Speedway, Byron’s No. 24 car will sport an American flag Liberty University logo on the hood with stars and stripes on the front and rear quarter-panels. The design is part of the annual NASCAR Salutes and 600 Miles of Remembrance programs to honor the U.S. military and those who have lost their lives in service.
SALUTING TWO: As a part of the No. 24 patriotic paint scheme for the Charlotte 600, Byron’s Chevy will feature the names of Army Sgt. Robert Billings and World War II veteran George Rogers, who both had ties to sponsor Liberty University. While serving a second deployment in Afghanistan, Billings was killed Oct. 13, 2012, in an enemy attack on his unit. Like Byron, who is currently in his junior year at Liberty University, Billings was a Liberty student enrolled in its online programs to pursue a criminal justice degree. Rogers, who passed away in August 2019 at age 100, received the Purple Heart and Prisoner of War medals for his service in World War II. He was one of the 75,000 American and Philippine troops captured by Japanese forces while serving in the Philippines and was among the survivors of the Bataan Death March. He spent more than 25 years as an administrator at Liberty before retiring in 1999.
AT IT AGAIN WITH AXALTA: In the second of the back-to-back NASCAR Cup Series races at Charlotte Motor Speedway, Byron’s No. 24 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 1LE will feature the iconic Axalta flames. The mid-week race is scheduled for Wednesday, May 27 at 8 p.m. ET. In 2020, Axalta returned as primary partner on the No. 24 Chevy for 22 races. Moving forward through 2027, Axalta will adorn the No. 24 as the primary sponsor for 14 races per season.
HOME SWEET HOME: Byron, 22, who grew up in Charlotte, North Carolina, has five NASCAR national series starts on the oval at his home track. In 2019, he became the youngest pole winner in the history of the Charlotte 600 at 21 years, 5 months and 24 days. The driver went on to lead 91 laps and post a ninth-place finish, which is his personal best in just two career Cup races there. In the NASCAR Gander RV & Outdoor Truck Series, Byron earned the pole position, led 25 laps and earned a 10th-place finish in 2016. He also has two Xfinity Series starts at Charlotte.
KNAUS KNOWS CLT: There’s no better crew chief at Charlotte Motor Speedway than Chad Knaus. Calling the shots for 36 NASCAR Cup Series races on the oval, his teams have posted eight wins, including a sweep of all four races in the 2004 and 2005 Cup seasons. In 19 attempts, he has won the Charlotte 600 four times – all coming with the No. 48 team and driver Jimmie Johnson. In his first 600-mile event with Byron and the No. 24 team last season, the group captured the pole, led 31 laps, and finished with a solid ninth-place finish.
HOMETOWN FAVORITE: Byron is the only current NASCAR Cup Series driver who calls Charlotte his hometown. After visiting the U.S. Legend Cars International headquarters in Harrisburg, North Carolina, with his father in 2012, Byron found himself behind the wheel for the first time the next year competing in the Young Lion Division. He won an incredible 33 of his 69 legend car events in 2013 and went on to lock up the U.S. Legend Young Lions National championship and the Thursday Thunder Young Lion championship at Atlanta Motor Speedway. In 2014, he progressed to the Legend Car Pro Division and signed with the JR Motorsports developmental program. From that point on, Byron hasn’t slowed down, quickly climbing the NASCAR national series ranks before making his Cup Series debut in 2018.
NOT HOME ALONE: In addition to Byron, two other members of the No. 24 team are North Carolina natives who claim Charlotte Motor Speedway as their NASCAR Cup Series home track. Interior specialist Jacob Bowman hails from Pilot Mountain and fueler Landon Walker is from North Wilkesboro.
William Byron on racing at Charlotte and the No. 24 team’s mentality:
“The races at Charlotte are going to be critical for our team. There are a lot of points up for grabs at the 600 and we need to keep building those points to overcome misfortune from earlier in the season. It’s a home race for me as well so there’s a bit of added motivation to run up front. We ran well there last year in both the All-Star Race and the 600 so I’m excited that we’ll have back-to-back races there. I think we will definitely be in contention for the win and that’s an exciting feeling.”
Byron on the meaning on racing on Memorial Day weekend:
“Racing on Memorial Day weekend is always special. It’s a time for us to try do something small to honor those who have made the ultimate sacrifice so we can continue to do what we love. It’s also special for me, not only because I’m racing where I grew up, but because I’m able to honor those who share connections to Liberty University. It gives me even more motivation and satisfaction to be able to run well, and I hope I’m able to make them proud again on Sunday.”
Chad Knaus on the work that’s gone into NASCAR’s return to racing:
“It has been a lot of work by everyone at Hendrick Motorsports to get back to competition in such short order. I’m really proud of the organization working to get us back to the track so quickly. The guys in the shop are working harder than ever to make sure we unload with the best equipment possible and I think that showed across the board on Sunday and Wednesday at Darlington and will continue to show the more we race.”
Knaus on the meaning of success at Charlotte Motor Speedway:
“I love racing at Charlotte Motor Speedway. The track is really starting to develop character again from when it was repaved in 2006. Aside from that, it’s literally in the backyard of Hendrick Motorsports. Being able to get a win in not only such a historic race like the 600, but winning within sight of our campus is always a great feeling for the team and the organization as a whole. Now we’ll have two chances to race there in one week. It will be similar to when we prepare for the All-Star Race and then the 600 just a week later. I always look forward to those races in the normal schedule so I’m more than ready to run there twice in one week this time as well and hopefully it will be a Hendrick Motorsports sweep.”