BEST YEAR YET: So far in 2022, William Byron is off to a NASCAR Cup Series career-best start. In 11 races, Byron has scored two wins, four top-five finishes, 520 laps led, three stage wins and 13 playoff points accumulated. All of those statistics are his most through 11 races in his Cup Series career. He is currently tied for third in the driver point standings and is locked into the Cup Series Playoffs for a fourth consecutive season.
LEADING THE FIELD: Byron has led laps in eight races – tied for the second-most with Hendrick Motorsports teammate Kyle Larson. His 520 laps led is the most by a driver this season. He has also spent the most laps running in the top-10 (2,026) as well as the most laps running within the top-five (1,409). With 13 playoff points, Byron has the most by any driver so far this season.
DARLINGTON DEETS: With seven previous Cup Series starts at Darlington Raceway, the 24-year-old is looking to capitalize on his previous strong showings at this venue on Sunday as well as continuing to have a little luck along the way. Despite running well early on, Byron’s results in five of his starts at the 1.366-mile track don’t accurately represent the strength he has shown. In two of his last three starts at "The Lady in Black,” Byron started within the top five both times, while securing a fifth-place result in the fall of 2020 and then a fourth-place finish in last year’s spring race. Byron also has one NASCAR Xfinity Series start at the southern track where he qualified sixth and raced to a fifth-place result as well.
THE FUGLE FILES: When the Cup Series returns to Darlington, it will mark the third trip to the South Carolina track for crew chief Rudy Fugle at the top level of NASCAR. Last season, Fugle called the shots for Byron at Darlington twice, starting fifth and racing to a fourth-place result in the spring. In the fall, Byron made his way within the top 10 of the running order before a turn one accident ended the team’s race early. Prior to last season, Fugle had only three previous starts at Darlington – two in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series and one in the NASCAR Xfinity Series.
THROWIN’ IT BACK: For this weekend’s throwback event, Axalta unveiled Byron’s No. 24 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 last month. Paying tribute to Jeff Gordon, the No. 24 will don the familiar blue and red flames that Gordon raced during the 2007 season. Byron picked this scheme based on his earliest memories of the Hall of Fame driver. That season, Gordon won the spring race at Darlington as well as tied and passed Dale Earnhardt on the all-time Cup Series win list. For a closer look at Byron’s throwback scheme, click here.
BACK TO THE ROOTS: Going back to his racing roots, Byron will once again climb back behind the wheel of the No. 24 Super Late Model for Wilson Motorsports this year, this time for the Music City 200 at Nashville Fairgrounds Speedway on Saturday, May 7, for the North/South Challenge. The Charlotte, North Carolina, native has raced the No. 24 Super Late Model four times this year – three times at New Smyrna Speedway and once at Hickory Motor Speedway – scoring three wins total. This weekend’s race at Nashville Fairgrounds Speedway will be available for PPV on Racing America, here.
SOUTH CAROLINA STATE OF MIND: While Landon Walker hails from North Wilkesboro, North Carolina, the fueler for the No. 24 team also has significant ties to the southernmost Carolina state, having played football at Clemson University. The former college offensive tackle earned a scholarship to Clemson in 2007 after being named an All-American offensive lineman in his hometown at East Wilkes High School. While playing at Clemson, Walker recorded 3,131 snaps with 49 starts at tackle over four seasons. In 2011, he was named team captain, the same season Clemson went on to win the Atlantic Coast Conference championship. The college football standout was then recruited by Hendrick Motorsports in 2012 and earned a position as the starting fueler for the former No. 5 (now No. 24) team in 2015.
William Byron, driver of the No. 24 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1, on his thoughts for the race at Darlington: "I feel like Darlington is going to be another track where we don’t know what to expect until we get on track. In the past, Darlington was a place that was super hard on tires, and you spent most of the race trying to manage how hard you could go to be able to have some tire left by the end of the run. The surface would just really use the tires up. Now though I feel like tire wear hasn’t been as big of a factor with the Next Gen car so far. We saw a little tire wear on long runs at Dover, but nothing like in the past. You could still maintain some track position even with newer tires behind you on track. I am curious to see how the tires hold up this weekend and if it plays the same factor that it has in the past or how we will have to adjust throughout the race.”
Rudy Fugle, crew chief of the No. 24 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1, on the effort the No. 24 team has been putting in: "I'm proud of everyone’s efforts last week at Dover. It obviously wasn’t the way we wanted the start of the weekend to go. The No. 24 team, and really just about everyone at Hendrick Motorsports, jumped in to help us get the backup car ready to race. We may not have gotten the finish we wanted in the end, but the things we learned on and off the track, and the effort this team put in is something we can be proud of. We’re using these races to prepare to be a championship-level team, and weekends like Dover are what make a team stronger and able to go further than others in the playoffs. We’ll put it behind us and prepare to rebound at Darlington.”