BUILDING MOMENTUM: Recent results have bolstered William Byron and the No. 24 Axalta team. In the last four NASCAR Cup Series races, the third-year driver has earned two top-10 results and posted an average finish of 15.25 – an improvement of 6.75 positions over the first seven events of the 2020 season.
MANAGING MARTINSVILLE: After starting 15th Wednesday for the first NASCAR Cup Series night race at Martinsville Speedway, Byron wasted no time marching his way into the top five. An uncontrolled tire penalty before the final stage forced him to go through the field again, but the 22-year-old driver pushed back inside the top 10 to post an eighth-place finish and match his best result of 2020.
HEADING TO HOMESTEAD: With two previous Cup Series races under his belt at Homestead-Miami Speedway, Byron is hoping his past success will be a factor this Sunday. In both of his Cup starts, the driver of the No. 24 Axalta Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 1LE was running solidly in the top 10 but a flat tire in 2018 and a mechanical issue last year left him with a best finish of 24th (2018). Byron has two other NASCAR national series races under his belt at the track: 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, Byron started on the pole for the Truck Series race and led 31 laps en route to the win at the 1.5-mile venue.
HARD TO BEAT: If anyone knows how to get the job done at Homestead-Miami Speedway, it’s Chad Knaus. The No. 24 team crew chief clinched all seven of his NASCAR Cup Series championships at the season finale formerly held at the track. Since becoming a crew chief for Hendrick Motorsports in 2002, his teams have posted one win, two pole positions, five top-five finishes and 11 top-10s in 18 races there.
MIAMI HEAT: On Sunday at Homestead-Miami Speedway, the Axalta flames will hit the track on board Byron’s No. 24 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 1LE for the ninth time this season. Since NASCAR resumed last month, Byron has collected his best finishes of 2020 driving the iconic paint scheme – eighth place twice (Bristol and Martinsville). In 2020, Axalta is the 22-race majority partner of the No. 24 team. The company’s relationship with Hendrick Motorsports was recently extended, taking one of the most enduring partnerships in sports through 2027.
William Byron on racing Homestead in June instead of November:
“It’s going to be different to be running at Homestead in the summer versus the last race of the year for sure. I think the top groove is going to be even more dominant probably than it usually is. It’s a racetrack that the preferred line usually migrates up towards the wall where there’s more banking up there. Plus, the wall helps you turn some. I plan on running right against the wall. I’m interested to see if that’s the case though when we get racing. I think I move around and search less for a line at Homestead than a lot of other race tracks we race at. You still have to move around, though, to find that line that works best for your car’s handling and find grip. I just think it’s a track that no matter what, as a driver you know you need to make speed against the wall. I think with when we’re racing, finding that line early on is going to be critical for this year’s race though.”