MR. CONSISTENCY: So far in the 2021 NASCAR Cup Series season, William Byron and the No. 24 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 1LE team have been a model of consistency. After nine races, the Charlotte, North Carolina, native has spent 2,086 laps running inside the top 10 – the second-most in the field behind only points leader Denny Hamlin (2,333). Of those top-10 laps, 817 have been inside the top five, which is the sixth-most of all drivers. Currently, Byron has led 138 laps across four races, also good for sixth in the Cup Series. He has the fourth-best average running position of 8.74 so far in 2021.
STILL STREAKING: Dating back to his win at Homestead-Miami Speedway on Feb. 28, Byron has been on a hot streak of top-10 finishes. Prior to this current streak, Byron’s NASCAR Cup Series best was three consecutive finishes in the top 10, which he accomplished twice. The 23-year-old driver has now more than doubled that amount after his seventh-place finish Sunday at Richmond Raceway, extending his consecutive top-10 finishes to seven races – the longest active streak in the Cup Series. Byron’s seven total top-10s are the second-most by a driver this year behind only Hamlin (eight). In fact, Byron has the longest top-10 streak by a Hendrick Motorsports driver since Jeff Gordon in the final seven races of 2015. He is also the fourth-youngest driver to reach a seven-race top-10 streak in his Cup career behind only Richard Petty, Ricky Rudd and Kyle Busch.
PRO INVITATIONAL SERIES, ROUND 2: After its inception last year during the pandemic, the NASCAR Pro Invitational Series on iRacing resumes this Wednesday night for the second race of 10 in 2021 at the virtual Talladega Superspeedway. Picking up where he left off last season, Byron raced to the win in the first event this year on March 24 at the virtual Bristol dirt track. In his seven total Pro Invitational Series races, Byron leads the field with four victories and is the only driver to win consecutive races. The driver of the No. 24 has paced the field in all seven of his starts, leading a total of 445 laps out of 998 laps.
SUPER ON SUPERSPEEDWAYS: Sunday’s race at Talladega will be Byron’s 14th superspeedway start in the Cup Series. In his previous 13, Byron has scored one win (Daytona in August 2020), three top-five finishes and three top-10s with 124 laps led. Since his Cup Series debut in 2018, Byron’s 124 laps led ranks seventh-best among all drivers for most laps led on superspeedways.
TALLADEGA TELL-ALL: This Sunday’s race at Talladega will mark Byron’s seventh start at the 2.66-mile track in his Cup career. In his previous six starts, he has a track-best finish of fourth from his last appearance at the Alabama venue (October 2020). Last season marked Byron’s best at Talladega with one top-five finish and narrowly missing the top 10 with an 11th-place result in the spring.
DIGGING ‘DEGA: While Sunday’s race will be crew chief Rudy Fugle’s first at the Cup Series level at Talladega Superspeedway, the Livonia, New York, native has seven starts at the 2.66-mile track already under his belt in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series. In those seven appearances, Fugle accumulated three top-five finishes and five top-10s. One of his previous starts was with Byron in 2016 when the duo started eighth and raced to a 10th-place result.
LIBERTY U ONBOARD: Picking up a seventh-place finish last Sunday, Byron will look to keep his top-10 streak alive when the No. 24 unloads at Talladega Superspeedway with Liberty University onboard his Chevy. Redesigned for the 2021 season, the new paint scheme features a white base with navy flames and red accents that will make the Liberty University No. 24 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.
CLOSE TO HOME: Hailing from Pensacola, Florida, No. 24 team spotter Tab Boyd claims Talladega Superspeedway as his home track. Growing up a few hours away from the 2.66-mile superspeedway, Boyd has more than 20 years of experience in NASCAR in various roles, including an Xfinity Series tire changer as well as mechanical and fabrication positions before ultimately ending up in the spotter’s stand. When he has time outside of the NASCAR schedule, Boyd is usually still at the racetrack behind the steering wheel of his Street Stock in the Street Stock Mid-Atlantic Series.
William Byron, driver of the No. 24 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 1LE, on the racing at Talladega: “Talladega is a lot more open of a track than Daytona with a lot more pushing and shoving. It’s a lot easier to get to someone’s bumper because handling isn’t as important there. You have to be able to push well but also receive a push well. It takes a fast car but one that can handle a push from someone else. For me, I don’t approach it much different than I do Daytona. There are times you want to be conservative, so you can make sure you are there in the end, but you also need to know when it’s time to make aggressive moves. We have had some good runs going there but not the results in the end until recently. I know the No. 24 team will prepare a fast Liberty University Chevy, so if we are still in contention in the end this weekend, I think we have a good shot at the win.”
Rudy Fugle, crew chief of the No. 24 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 1LE, on racing at Talladega: “Hendrick Motorsports takes a lot of pride on building fast cars, especially for superspeedway races. I think that shows every time we get to the track. There’s a ton of hard work put in from the guys and gals back at the shop to make these cars as fast as they are. I think we all showed that at Speedweeks in Daytona earlier this year. While Daytona didn’t end how the No. 24 team would have hoped, we know we had a strong car that was capable of winning, and that should be the same in Talladega. The biggest thing in these races is being around in the end, though. On my end, that means calling the right strategy, not only for us, but for working with our teammates. On William’s side, that means judging the situation he’s in and knowing when to push it and when to bide his time to avoid an incident. Racing at Talladega is always unpredictable but we’ll do everything we can to put ourselves in contention and, hopefully, we will have luck on our side to be there at the end.”