Spotlight or not, William Byron’s confidence is peaking
Is William Byron and his No. 24 Hendrick Motorsports group getting their due?
Beyond routine season points leader Denny Hamlin, Byron’s been the most constant chauffeur through the very first 10 races of the 2021 NASCAR Cup Series season.
If Byron’s efficiency hasn’t rather matched Hamlin’s, he’s got a one-up: A playoff berth, thanks to his February win at Miami. That success started a streak of 8 successive top-10 surfaces for Byron entering into Sunday race at Kansas Speedway (3 p.m. ET, FS1).
Given, Byron hasn’t been a front-runner throughout this run (102 laps led in his Miami win; 48 laps led in the 7 races because). However dependably knocking out outcomes is remarkable in itself.
So… Should we be paying more attention?
“I think yes and no,” Byron stated in a Wednesday media teleconference on the topic. “As soon as we win another race – hopefully soon – you guys will be forced to talk about us and the competition will be forced to deal with us.
“But I think we’re running well. We’re in the mix every week. I feel like the competition around us probably knows that and understands that, so I think it’s just a matter of continuing to execute, and put ourselves in position to make ourselves have a chance at winning more races.
“Honestly, I don’t focus much on the other people we are racing against. I just focus on doing what we can to try to win. We’re doing that every week so far.”
No concern about that.
From Byron’s point of view, all the components have actually been on point for the 24 group – the automobiles, the engines, the pit team, and lastly, the interaction in between himself and both team chief Rudy Fugle and spotter Tab Boyd.
It’s all resulted in a more positive chauffeur, not simply behind the wheel however likewise leading up to the weekend.
“I show up to the track every week now knowing that I can prepare the way that I have been and have success,” Byron stated. “…A little bit of iRacing, a little bit of film and talking with my guys. We have great meetings throughout the week. We’ve got a really good system going. I feel like we’re able to go to every race track and kind of build on what we’ve been doing.”
Following his runner-up surface last Sunday at Talladega Superspeedway, Byron thought he and his group had actually cleared some possibly difficult tracks in the early schedule and are heading towards tracks that were their “bread and butter.”
The mile-and-a-half at Kansas appears to fit that expense. Byron has actually completed fifth, 10th and 8th in his last 3 races there.
“I think it’s just a track that I have good memories on,” stated Byron, who made a Truck win at Kansas with Fugle back in 2016, when they were with Kyle Busch Motorsports.
“It’s a track that’s pretty straightforward. It’s not one of those unique places where experience really matters. I think it’s just all about having the right combination with your car and having the right feel. So, I think it’s just one of those standard 1.5-mile tracks. It’s not anything special, but I feel like we’ve done a good job of trying to identify what we need in the car there and it’s worked the past couple of times.”
Need To it work once again at Kansas with another top-10 surface, it will provide Byron a unique record.
Per Racing Insights, the 23-year-old can end up being the youngest Cup chauffeur to claim 9 successive leading 10s, eclipsing Hall of Famer and Hendrick legend Jeff Gordon (who was 24 years, 22 days at the time).
No Matter how Sunday exercises, Byron’s on the very best run of his Cup profession – a long method from when he went into the premier department 4 years earlier.
“I don’t feel uncomfortable at all,” Byron stated. “I don’t look at any of the people I race against as any different. I treat everyone the same, I feel like now. Whereas, when I was coming into the series, guys like Jimmie Johnson and Kyle Busch and Kevin Harvick; I raced for Kyle Busch, so that was nerve-wracking to race against him every week.
“And those things were there and those elements of feeling like I was out of place were there. Once you get past that feeling, which, you have to have those results to have that feeling go away, it comes hand-in-hand with results.”
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Spotlight or not, William Byron’s self-confidence is peaking initially appeared on NBCSports.com
Jobber Wiki author Frank Long contributed to this report.