ALMOST HALFWAY: Almost to the halfway point in the 2021 NASCAR Cup Series season, William Byron and the No. 24 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 1LE continue to ramp up their success. After 17 races, the Charlotte, North Carolina, native has collected one win, seven top-five finishes and 13 top-10s all while leading 195 laps. Byron has spent the second-most laps in the series running inside the top 10 (3,625) and of those laps, 1,962 were in the top five, which is third-best. With the second-best average running position throughout the Cup Series field of 8.33 and an average finishing position of 10.18, Byron now is third in the point standings.
PREVIEWING POCONO: In his six Cup Series starts at the Long Pond, Pennsylvania, track, Byron has one pole award coming during the June race in 2019, as well as one top-five finish and four top-10s, leading 35 laps in two of those events. With a track-best finish of fourth during the 2019 July race at Pocono Raceway, Byron holds a 9.67 finishing average, which is the best all-time with drivers who have made more than one start. His average finish at the “Tricky Triangle” also makes it his best track where he has made more than one start in the Cup Series.
PAST POCONO WINNER: Byron isn’t a stranger to victory lane at the “Tricky Triangle,” though. After starting from the pole in 2016, Byron dominated the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race, leading 44 of 60 laps before capturing the checkered flag.
PA-BOUND: While Sunday will mark crew chief Rudy Fugle’s first Cup Series event at Pocono Raceway, the Livonia, New York, native is definitely familiar with the 2.5-mile track. With seven starts at the Pennsylvania-based venue, all coming in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series, Fugle has visited victory lane there two previous times, going back-to-back with Byron in 2016 and Christopher Bell in 2017. In his seven previous starts, Fugle’s drivers have also racked up two pole awards, four top-five finishes and five top-10s with 71 laps led.
AXALTA’S HOMEBASE: Byron has a bit of extra motivation during this weekend’s doubleheader at Pocono Raceway, competing near primary sponsor Axalta’s backyard. With Axalta’s headquarters located less than 100 miles away from the “Tricky Triangle” in Philadelphia, the fourth-year Cup Series driver will pilot the No. 24 Axalta Color of the Year Chevy for both races this weekend. Now in its 29th year of partnership with Hendrick Motorsports, Axalta is the primary partner on Byron’s No. 24 Camaro for 14 races in 2021.
COLOR OF THE YEAR: ELECTROLIGHT: Earlier this year, Axalta unveiled the newest addition to the Axalta Injector at Daytona International Speedway – a newly painted No. 24 Hendrick Motorsports show car – that is on display for fans to see all year long. The show car on display combines Axalta’s new solventbourne basecoat, Cromax XP, with their 2021 Color of the Year, ElectroLight. The refreshing green-yellow hue has been formulated with mobility-technology while utilizing the easy-to-use solventborne basecoat that delivers a high-quality finish. With such positive fan feedback to the paint scheme, Axalta made the call for the Color of the Year paint scheme to hit the track for this weekend’s doubleheader at Pocono Raceway. For a better look at Byron’s No. 24 Color of the Year Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 1LE featuring Axalta’s Global Automotive Color of the Year ElectroLight, click here.
William Byron, driver of the No. 24 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 1LE, on the doubleheader at Pocono: “I feel the doubleheader last year allowed us to learn a lot in that first race that we could then apply to the second one. I feel like Pocono is a track that we are good at and on track to be successful every time we show up, we just need to get a little bit better to close the gap on the top guys. It’s honestly a track that both Rudy (Fugle) and I have a lot of success at together and over our careers. I’m not too worried about it though. I feel like having two races there may be a great opportunity for us.”
Byron on if you can be good in all three corners at Pocono: “I think with modern-day NASCAR, you have to be good in all three corners now. Before, it was always you had to pick and choose which corner to be good in and give up in the others. With the engineering we have now, it kind of throws that old thought process out the window. For us, we’re trying to focus on being really good in turn three and then carry that consistency through the other two corners. The hope is to be consistently balanced throughout all three, but I know I want my drive off of turn three to really carry me down the front straightaway and set me up for turn one with momentum into turn two.”
Rudy Fugle, crew chief of the No. 24 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 1LE, on the No. 24 team’s continued success heading to Pocono: “I know the No. 24 team won early in the year and have ran well since then, but I think that the last couple weeks have shown that this team is continuing to build and become a consistent contender to win every time we get on track. The organization as whole is a threat to win every week right now, but we’re trying to make sure that the No. 24 is constantly in contention. My goal this year was to build from a top-10 team to a top-five team and ultimately to a championship-contending team. I think we’re almost to that point. We’re heading to some of our best racetracks which definitely helps as well. We’ll be starting front row for the first of two races at Pocono and that’s one of this team’s best tracks already. This could be a big weekend for the No. 24 team, I can feel it.”