KANSAS SPEEDWAY (1.5-MILE TRI-OVAL)
LOCATION: KANSAS CITY, KANSAS
EVENT: NASCAR CUP SERIES (RACE 32 OF 36)
TUNE IN: 2:30 P.M. ET, SUNDAY, OCT. 20 (NBC/MRN/SIRIUSXM)
William Byron, driver of the No. 24 UniFirst Chevrolet Camaro ZL1, will be available to members of the media on Friday, Oct. 18, at 4:45 p.m. local time in the media center at Kansas Speedway.
RECAPPING THE ROUND OF 12: With only one race remaining in the second round of the NASCAR Cup Series playoffs, William Byron heads to Kansas Speedway this weekend looking for redemption. While the sophomore driver has scored the second-most stage points (20) in the Round of 12, a 13th-place finish at Dover and a 33rd-place finish at Talladega have left him sitting 12th in the Cup Series playoff standings, 27 points below the cut-off line. This weekend's race will be Byron’s final chance to keep his playoff dreams alive in his Cup playoff debut, with his surest chance to advance to the next round being a win on Sunday.
LEADING THE FIELD: In the NASCAR Cup Series, Byron currently holds the longest active streak of races with at least one lap led at three. The 21-year-old driver is just ahead of Hendrick Motorsports teammate Jimmie Johnson and competitor Kurt Busch, both of whom have led laps in two consecutive races.
UNIFIRST RETURNS: This weekend will be the third and final time in 2019 that Byron’s No. 24 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 will have UniFirst Corporation (NYSE: UNF) on board, featuring the company’s signature green and white colors. In 2016, Unifirst and Hendrick Motorsports announced an eight-year partnership that runs through the 2023 NASCAR season. UniFirst is the official workwear provider of Hendrick Motorsports, supplying work clothing and uniforms to the team and its sister company, Hendrick Automotive Group, which is the largest privately held retail automotive organization in the United States.
TOUGH LUCK AT KANSAS: With three previous NASCAR Cup Series starts at Kansas Speedway, luck has not been on Byron's side at the 1.5-mile oval. While running solidly within the top 10 at the end of the 2018 spring race, the No. 24 driver was collected in a multi-car incident with 14 laps to go, ending his night with a 33rd-place finish. In the fall of 2018, Byron felt like he had one of the best cars he had driven all season, but a mechanical failure 55 laps in resulted in a 38th-place finish. In the spring event this season, Byron was running second when an issue on pit road during green-flag stops forced a 20th-place result.
EARLY KANSAS SUCCESS: Byron saw success at Kansas early in his career. In his first two NASCAR national series starts at the 1.5-mile track – one in the Xfinity Series and one in the Gander Outdoors Truck Series – he started from the pole position in both races and finished no worse than fourth. In his debut at the track in 2016, just his fifth Truck Series start, Byron started from the top spot, led 34 laps and collected his first Truck Series win, which kick-started the most successful season by a rookie in the history of the series.
TALLADEGA TIMES: Qualifying third for this past weekend’s race at Talladega Superspeedway, Byron went on to capture his second career Cup Series stage win during the opening segment Sunday before rain postponed the rest of the race until Monday afternoon. Remaining in contention at the front of the field when the race restarted, Byron was battling for the lead with 26 laps to go when an untimely push from behind turned the No. 24 Chevy and ended his day early with a 33rd-place finish.
MEET BYRON: Fans will have two chances to meet Byron this weekend at Kansas Speedway. The first opportunity is Saturday, Oct. 19, at 11:45 a.m. local time in the infield FanWalk. Byron will also make an appearance at the Team Chevy stage in the Kansas Speedway Fan Zone on Sunday, Oct. 20, at 10:10 a.m. local time for a question-and-answer session.
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 Hendrick Motorsports. 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 for more information on the Hertz-Hendrick custom Camaro program.
William Byron on whether Kansas is a 'cookie-cutter' 1.5-mile track:
“I don’t think so this year. I think it will be interesting to see how things play out with how our mile-and-half packages have evolved just throughout the year, whether it continues that trend this weekend or whether it reverts back to how it was in the spring at Kansas. I’m just interested to see how that is since the cars have come a long way since that race. I’m also interested to see with it being an elimination race, I think it will open things up for different strategies. It’s a bit of an unknown at this point.”