William Byron: “The blueprint is there” to win Cup title

Despite leading the series with six wins and atop the playoff standings entering the final round, the 25-year-old driver of Hendrick Motorsports’ No. 24 Chevrolet is taking nothing for granted.

“I mean I think the blueprint is there for success. But the thing I always caution is that things change and evolve, and teams and drivers improve,” Byron said Saturday at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. “So, we have to kind of take that next step at all of these race tracks coming up.

“But yeah, it’s nice to have a blueprint of – hey, we’ve been here before … we’ve been fast. We kind of know what balance is achievable and what we want to have in our car, but getting there is definitely a different challenge.

“Yeah, I don’t maybe look at it that much, but it is nice to know and have that comfort that I know how to get around these tracks.”

Byron has won previously at the four remaining tracks on this year’s schedule – Sunday at Las Vegas, followed by Homestead-Miami, Martinsville and the season finale at Phoenix.

William Byron, Hendrick Motorsports, HP Chevrolet Camaro

William Byron, Hendrick Motorsports, HP Chevrolet Camaro

Photo by: Rusty Jarrett / NKP / Motorsport Images

This season, Byron and his No. 24 team have been particularly strong on the 1.5-mile intermediate tracks, such as Las Vegas and Homestead, the two tracks coming up.

A win at either would lock Byron into the Championship 4 at Phoenix and give him his first opportunity at winning a Cup title.

“I feel like our simulation is good for these tracks. We’ve been able to lean pretty heavily on Chevy for advice and information on these tracks and I think that’s helped us,” Byron said. “I feel like that’s probably where it started early in the year – back in January and February when we started working on Vegas.

“Then we just started to develop a consistent package for all of these tracks. I’d say we lost our way a little bit in the summer on some of the faster tracks, but I feel like after that, we kind of went right back into what we know, improved it slightly and here we are.

“You never know what to expect. Just kind of intrigued to see how we unload and how that balance is, and then we just have to fine tune from there.”

William Byron, Hendrick Motorsports, Liberty University Chevrolet Camaro

William Byron, Hendrick Motorsports, Liberty University Chevrolet Camaro

Photo by: Rusty Jarrett / NKP / Motorsport Images

As it turned out, Byron ended up third fastest in his group in Saturday’s practice and had the second fastest average lap speed among all the cars that ran at least 10 consecutive laps.

He also advanced to the final round of qualifying and will line up third in Sunday’s race.

Asked if given the circumstances he felt like a championship favorite, Byron demurred, “I don’t know yet. That’s for you guys to decide. I just go out there and drive. For me, it’s one step at a time, it really is.

“It felt great here last time, so we just have to wait and see. Take it one step at a time in each race of this round. I’m not looking too far ahead, honestly.”


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