BEST YEAR YET: While it’s only halfway into the 2021 NASCAR Cup Series season, William Byron is having his best year yet at the highest level of competition. So far, Byron has collected one win (Homestead-Miami Speedway), eight top-five finishes and 14 top-10s all while leading 230 laps and collecting two stage wins. His eight top-five results are the most the 23-year-old driver has had in a season at the Cup level and his 14 top-10s tie his previous best in a season, as well.
HALFWAY HOME: After hitting the halfway point in the 2021 season, Byron is coming off a top-three result from Saturday’s race at Pocono Raceway and a 12th-place finish on Sunday after a fuel mileage gamble to score the victory didn’t pan out. However, after 19 races, the Charlotte, North Carolina, native continues to be consistent every week. He’s spent 3,815 laps running in the top 10 – the second-most in the series – and 2,118 laps in the top five – the third-most throughout the field. Byron maintains the second-best average running position in the Cup Series of 8.31 and improved his average finish to 9.9, allowing him to maintain the third position in the point standings.
RETURNING TO ROAD AMERICA: While Road America will mark a new experience for some, both Byron and crew chief Rudy Fugle have been to the Wisconsin-based road course one prior time in their NASCAR careers. Fugle called the shots on top of the pit box at Road America in the NASCAR Xfinity Series in 2015 while Byron’s one start also came in the Xfinity Series in 2017, where he raced to a sixth-place finish.
ROAD COURSE RESULTS: Despite limited road course racing in his background, Byron has stepped up his road course skills during his time in the Cup Series, finishing in the top 10 in three of the last six races. In four of the last eight road course events, Byron has led the field, including leading the most laps during last year’s race at the Charlotte ROVAL. In fact, Byron led the second-most laps on road courses during the 2020 season.
ROAD COURSE RUDY: While Fugle may have limited experience at Road America, the Livonia, New York, native is no stranger to success on road courses. Fugle and Byron already have three road course starts together in 2021 – two at the DAYTONA Road Course and at the Circuit of The Americas (COTA). For the Clash exhibition race, the No. 24 raced to a solid fifth-place result, but bad luck struck the team for their return trip two weeks later, resulting in a 33rd-place finish after Byron suffered a flat tire with two laps to go. While battling the rainy weather at COTA, Byron was running inside the top five before suffering damage from a competitor. The No. 24 team was able to rally to 11th before the race was called early due to the conditions. Aside from those three road course starts in the Cup Series, Fugle has seven other road course races under his belt, all coming in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series. In those seven starts, he has one win (Erik Jones, 2015), three top-five finishes and five top-10s. One of those seven truck starts was with Byron and the duo raced to a 10th-place finish at Canadian Tire Motorsports Park in 2016.
LIBERTY U: Byron will climb behind the wheel of the No. 24 Liberty University Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 1LE this weekend when the Cup Series takes on Road America for the first time. Redesigned for the 2021 season, the new paint scheme features a white base with navy flames and red accents, the Liberty University No. 24 will be sure to stand out on track. Liberty University has a long history with Byron starting back in 2014 in the late model ranks. Liberty University has been Training Champions for Christ since it was founded in 1971. Located in the mountains of Central Virginia, Liberty is a liberal arts institution with 17 colleges and schools that offers more than 600 degree programs from the certificate to the doctoral level, on campus and online. Working on an undergraduate degree in communications, Byron is in his junior year at Liberty University through its online program. For a better look at Byron’s new Liberty University paint scheme, click here.
William Byron, driver of the No. 24 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 1LE, on returning to Road America: “I’m excited for this road course. I finished sixth there in the Xfinity Series in 2017. I had a good run and felt like it was one of my best road course races in that series overall. I expect more of the same this weekend in the Cup car. You just want to make sure that the car turns well and that you’re good in the braking zones. For us as a team, I think we will start off getting back to the basics of road course racing. We’ve had some bad luck recently but normally we’re really good at this style of racing. I’m excited that it’s another new track for the series and I think it will race really well for our cars.”
Rudy Fugle, crew chief of the No. 24 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 1LE, on returning to road course racing: “Honestly, this weekend we’re looking to set the reset button on our road course racing program for the No. 24 team. After Sonoma and how things ended and some misfortune at the DAYTONA Road Course, we really want to get back to the speed and execution we had at COTA. Even with suffering damage there, we were able to make it back through the field and on a strategy that set us up well for the end before the weather picked up. William feels like road course racing has become one of his strengths over the last couple years and we want to keep him confident in that. So, the plan is to have a nice, basic weekend of executing like we need to and having a solid plan should any misfortune arise. We know what we’re capable of – it’s just a matter of maximizing where we can and there’s potential for that this weekend.”