MICHIGAN RECAP: While rain both delayed the start and caused the early ending of the June 10 NASCAR Cup Series race at Michigan International Speedway, it couldn’t dampen the spirit of the No. 24 Liberty University Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 team. William Byron finished just outside the top 10 in 13th in what he described as “the best car we’ve had all year.” The 20-year-old picked up valuable points in the first two segments, finishing eighth in Stage 1 and 10th in Stage 2. Byron ran inside the top 10 for most of the day. When the final segment got underway, Byron lined up seventh, but lost position on the restart as the No. 24 Chevy fired off looser than he expected. He fell to 13th before a caution flag waved just four laps later with rain looming. Shortly thereafter, a red flag was displayed and the race was called on Lap 133 of the scheduled 200-lap distance. The 13th-place result helped Byron increase his lead in the rookie of the year standings and gained him a position in the overall driver standings, getting him back inside the top 20.
DOUBLE DUTY: This weekend at Sonoma Raceway, Byron will pull double duty – driving his familiar No. 24 Chevy Camaro ZL1 in the Cup Series while also getting behind the wheel of the No. 27 Chevrolet for Jefferson Pitts Racing in the regional NASCAR K&N Pro Series West race on Saturday, June 23. The 64-lap Pro Series West race is scheduled to begin at 1:30 p.m. local time. The tape-delayed race will air on NBCSN on Thursday, June 28, at 6 p.m. ET. Byron, the 2015 K&N Pro Series East champion, also ran the Pro Series West race at Sonoma in 2015, when he finished fifth.
LIBERTY U FOR TWO: The blue and red Liberty University colors will adorn the No. 24 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 for the eighth time this season. Liberty is the majority primary partner of the No. 24 team with 13 races in 2018. Along with the Cup race, Liberty University will be featured on Byron’s No. 27 Chevy for Saturday’s Pro Series West race. Byron, a sophomore majoring in business communications, takes online classes at Liberty, which offers more than 250 programs online.
SONOMA STATS: Byron will make his first Cup Series start at Sonoma Raceway this weekend, but the rookie of the year contender has experience on the 1.99-mile road course in the 2015 K&N Pro Series West race – his first road course race in a stock car. He finished fifth after starting second in the 64-lap event, driving the No. 91 Liberty University Chevrolet for the HScott Motorsports with Justin Marks team. Overall, Byron has run seven road course races across three different NASCAR series – Xfinity, Truck and K&N Pro – finishing inside the top 10 in all but one of those races. His best road-course finish was the fifth-place Pro Series West result at Sonoma.
LUCKY NUMBER 24: Having a little fun with numbers, the No. 24 could be a lucky charm for 20-year-old Byron this weekend. This weekend’s Cup race at Sonoma will be held on June 24, 2018. One year ago, on June 24, 2017, Byron earned his first Xfinity Series win at Iowa Speedway. On June 24, 2007, Juan Pablo Montoya became the first and only Cup rookie ever to win on a road course when he won at Sonoma in the No. 42. The No. 24 car has five Sonoma wins, the most of all numbers – thanks to Jeff Gordon, former driver of the No. 24 Chevrolet, who also has the most wins, most poles, most top-fives, most top-10s, most laps led and best average finish at the Sonoma road course, to name a few. The winners of both Cup races on road courses last year led 24 laps en route to victory. No. 24 team crew chief Darian Grubb got his only Cup win on a road course at Watkins Glen in August 2009, when Tony Stewart passed Kyle Busch for the win with 24 laps to go.
JG VIP EXPERIENCE: For the final time, Byron will participate in the 2018 Jeff Gordon #24Ever VIP Experience this weekend in Sonoma. The experience gives fans the opportunity to meet two drivers of the No. 24 Chevrolet – Byron and Gordon – and includes a meet-and-greet, an autograph and a photo, along with a behind-the-scenes garage tour and an exclusive gift. Sonoma Raceway marks the final race where the package will be available. Spots are extremely limited. Visit www.jeffgordonvip.com for more information or https://tickets.onelivemedia.com/event/sonomajune2018/listing to purchase a spot at Sonoma.
William Byron on racing at Sonoma:
“I’ve done some preparation for Sonoma over the offseason, just trying to get an understanding of shifting and the blips. Really, Pocono was another good chance to practice shifting. I think the biggest things at Sonoma are getting your shifts right and your braking the way it needs to be. Trying to make speed on the entry of the corner is a lot more important than most places. On the ovals, it’s all about the exits, but on the road courses the entry is very important, and the exit is very important too, so you have to attack both parts of it.”