HOMESTEAD-MIAMI SPEEDWAY (1.5-MILE OVAL)
LOCATION: HOMESTEAD, FLORIDA
EVENT: NASCAR CUP SERIES (RACE 36 OF 36)
TUNE IN: 3 P.M. ET, SUNDAY, NOV. 17 (NBC/MRN/SIRIUSXM)
NOT DONE YET IN 2019: While there is still one race remaining in William Byron’s sophomore NASCAR Cup Series season, the difference a year has made for the driver of the No. 24 is enormous. In 2018, Byron’s best finish was a sixth-place result compared to two runner-up finishes in 2019 (Daytona 2, Martinsville 2). He collected four top-10 finishes during his rookie campaign compared to to five top-five finishes and 13 top-10s so far this season. He has also nearly quadrupled his laps led from 61 in 2018 to 233 in 2019. Byron has collected five pole awards during his sophomore campaign, including being involved in all seven Hendrick Motorsports front-row sweeps, en route to improving his average starting position of 17.6 from a year ago to 12.5. He’s also improved his average finishing position nearly eight full spots from 22.1 to 14.2. Making the NASCAR Cup Series playoffs for the first time this year, Byron advanced to the Round of 12 and now sits ninth in points, compared to 23rd in the points standings at the end of last year.
AXALTA’S FLAMES OF INDEPENDENCE: For the final race of the 2019 Cup Series season, Axalta Coating Systems will return to Byron’s No. 24 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1. However, Axalta Racing announced that they would change things up a bit for the season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway. As a special thank you to fans, the Axalta Flames of Independence scheme that Byron raced in the July race at Daytona International Speedway will return to close out the 2019 season. Still sporting the iconic Axalta flames, the No. 24 will instead have a pearl-white base coat with red and blue ombre flames traveling down the sides of the car. To see the Axalta Racing announcement with Byron, click here.
HEADING TO HOMESTEAD: Heading into the final race of the season, Byron is set to make his second Cup Series start at Homestead-Miami Speedway. During last year’s event, he suffered a flat tire in the closing stages of the race, leaving him with a 24th-place finish. Despite misfortune during his first Cup Series start, the sophomore driver has two other starts under his belt at the track in NASCAR – one in the Xfinity Series and one in the Truck Series. In 2017, he started sixth and went on to finish third, locking up the Xfinity Series championship in the process. In 2016, he started on the pole for the Truck Series race and led 31 laps en route to the win at the 1.5-mile speedway.
MILE-AND-A-HALF METRICS: Across 10 races at 1.5-mile tracks this season, Byron has an average finish of 12.3 – ranking 10th overall in the Cup Series. In the last seven 1.5-mile track races, the Charlotte, North Carolina, native’s average improves to 12.0 – the seventh-highest average.
PHOENIX IN THE PAST: After qualifying 18th last weekend at ISM Raceway, Byron began to steadily march his way through the field, running within the top 10 for the majority of the race. However, a loose wheel during his final green-flag pit stop forced the No. 24 Hertz Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 back down pit road for a second time, falling off the lead lap in the process. Trying to make up ground in the closing laps, Byron climbed back to finish the race in the 17th position.
HERTZ ULTIMATE RIDE SWEEPSTAKES: In conjunction with Hendrick Motorsports, Hertz is introducing a new “pace car” to its fleet with a limited-edition custom 2020 Camaro ZL1 and 2020 Camaro SS. Available to be reserved beginning mid-October 2019, customers have the opportunity to rent the custom Camaros fashioned in the signature Hertz yellow and black color scheme with custom wheels, interior badging and full performance upgrades outfitted by HMS. In conjunction with the program rollout, customers can celebrate the debut of the limited-edition Camaros by participating in The Hertz Ultimate Ride Sweepstakes – beginning Sept. 18, through Nov. 15, 2019 – for a chance to win a 2020 Hertz-Hendrick Motorsports Camaro SS. Five finalists will also win an exclusive driving experience in Charlotte. Click here to enter.
William Byron on racing at Homestead:
“I love Homestead. It was instantly my favorite track. It wasn’t my favorite when we tested there because it was so hot. When I went there and ran the truck race though and won, it instantly became one of my favorites. I love the progression of the track and finding the balance of being aggressive versus saving the right side of your car. It’s just a really cool race. I’m really excited to go back to Homestead this weekend and see how it compares to my previous races there. I think it should be a really fun race overall.”