BACK AT THE BEACH: During his time in the NASCAR Cup Series, William Byron has eight starts on the legendary Daytona International Speedway oval. The driver has collected one win, two top-five finishes, two top-10s and 92 laps led. However, stats don’t tell the fully story of Byron’s success at the 2.5-mile track. Not only is it the venue where he collected his first pole award (2019 DAYTONA 500) and his first Cup Series victory (August 2020), but he also won the Duel qualifying race there in 2020. Byron was also in position to capture a win during the summer race in 2019 before weather ended the event early and left him with a runner-up finish. In fact, in two of the last five oval races at Daytona, he has collected two top-two finishes. During his 2017 NASCAR Xfinity Series championship campaign, Byron qualified third in the July race, leading 29 laps to score the victory and become the youngest driver with an Xfinity win at Daytona at 19 years, 7 months and 1 day.
NO. 24 TO THE FRONT: In five of the last seven DAYTONA 500s, the No. 24 Chevrolet has started on the front row. The team won pole positions in 2015 with Jeff Gordon and in 2016 and 2017 with Chase Elliott. Byron most recently added to the total after becoming the second-youngest DAYTONA 500 pole winner in 2019, which also marked the Charlotte, North Carolina, native’s first pole in the Cup Series. He then wound up on the front row again, qualifying second for last year’s DAYTONA 500.
SUPER ON SUPERSPEEDWAYS: While superspeedways brings a lot of uncertainty, Byron has embraced the style of racing. In the past six superspeedway events, he has three top-five finishes including his first Cup Series win, which came at Daytona International Speedway in August 2020.
RUDY RETURNS: Entering his sophomore season as a Cup Series crew chief, Rudy Fugle will climb on top of the No. 24 pit box Sunday for his second DAYTONA 500 and his third Cup-level start at the 2.5-mile oval with Byron. Last year, the duo started both races at Daytona from the second position, but despite running up front, misfortune struck the No. 24 car as it was collected in on-track incidents before the checkered flag was shown. Aside from the two Cup appearances, Fugle has seven other starts at DIS, all coming in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series. The Livonia, New York, native has one runner-up result, one top-five finish and two top-10s across those seven events, including one with Byron where the pair qualified and finished 13th.
NEW SCHOOL CLASSIC: After embracing a new look in 2021, Axalta is keeping the bright-colored stripes the No. 24 team found success with last year. Now in its 30th year of partnership with Hendrick Motorsports, Axalta will return as a primary partner on Byron’s No. 24 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 in 2021. For a better look at Byron’s car, click here.
BACK TO THE ROOTS: Prior to NASCAR festivities getting started at Daytona International Speedway, Byron will get his racing fix just down the street at New Smyrna Speedway. Climbing behind the wheel of the No. 24 Super Late Model for Wilson Motorsports, Byron is taking part in the World Series of Asphalt event. In Sunday’s 35-lap race, he started 20th after issues in qualifying and raced his way to a ninth-place result. Byron will be back at New Smyrna for Monday night’s 100-lap event.
BEACH BUMS: As NASCAR kicks off Daytona Speedweeks in the Sunshine State, two crew members on the No. 24 team will return home for the first points-paying race of 2022. Engineer Brandon McSwain grew up approximately 100 miles from the “World Center of Racing” in Auburndale, Florida. Not far from where McSwain grew up, engine tuner Ben Proctor calls Lakeland, Florida, his hometown.
SEE WILLY B: On Saturday, Feb. 19, Byron will make an appearance at the eNASCAR stage in the Daytona International Speedway fan midway for a question-and-answer session at 9:30 a.m. ET. Then on Sunday, fans will have another chance to see the driver of the No. 24 when he visits the Team Chevy stage in the fan midway for a Q&A at 12:15 p.m. ET.
William Byron, driver of the No. 24 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1, on what racing may look like in Daytona with the new race car: “I think it’s going to be similar to what we normally see there. If anything, the test at Daytona in January was more aggressive than we thought it would be. I think the new car allows you to be a bit more aggressive than in the past. I do think the Duels may be somewhat calm just because guys don’t want to tear up their race cars since there’s not many backups available. But the DAYTONA 500 will be just as crazy as it normally is. No one is going to hold anything back and everyone is going to race as hard as they can. Everyone wants to win the DAYTONA 500.”
Byron on how special it is to win at Daytona: “It’s super special to get a win there in any series. Daytona is one of those places that you have to be aggressive to win. That night in (August) 2020 was a big deal for me, trying to get my first Cup Series win but also with the window we were up against to try and make the playoffs. It was stressful, but the DAYTONA 500 is a different feeling than the summer race. It’s a longer race that’s more about setting yourself up for the end. You use the race to learn throughout, but you still want to go for the stage wins to gain points and not start the season in a hole should something happen. You want to make it to the end first and foremost, but you want to really try stay up front all day, if possible, to put yourself in a good spot.”
Rudy Fugle, crew chief of the No. 24 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1, on the team’s approach to Daytona: “We are one of only a handful of teams who participated in both tests at Daytona with the Next Gen car this off season. We have some really good notes from those sessions that I think we can apply and will give us a slight advantage heading in. That allows us to work on some more specific areas and changes to really get the car dialed in to William’s liking. I think there will be slight caution from everyone this week given the limited amount of cars teams have, but I think it’s not much more than the normal level of caution you have leading into Speedweeks and superspeedway racing where anything can happen at any moment.”