FROM KYLE BUSCH MOTORSPORTS PRESS RELEASE:
MOORESVILLE, N.C. (Nov. 10, 2015) - William Byron heads west this weekend to make his NASCAR Camping World Truck Series (NCWTS) debut with Kyle Busch Motorsports (KBM) at Phoenix (Ariz.) International Raceway. The 17-year-old Charlotte, N.C., native was crowned the 2015 NASCAR K&N Pro Series East champion and shortly afterwards signed on with KBM to compete full-time in the Truck Series in 2016 with sponsorship from Liberty University. The talented teen has found success in every series in which he has competed, so expectations are high for him.
Although Byron has only been racing since 2013, in a short time he has accumulated many trophies and championship titles. In just his first year of racing, he competed in 69 Legends races across the United States, posting 59 top-five and 64 top-10 finishes en route to the 2013 U.S. Legend Young Lions National Championship. Byron competed over several series in 2014 gaining experience in full-size stock cars: US Legend Car Pro Division, NWAAS Late Model division and select Pro Late Models. He competed 56 times and earned 24 pole awards, 11 wins, 29 top-three finishes and 37 top-five finishes over the course of the year.
This weekend at Phoenix, Byron will be racing KBM-023. This Tundra's lone start came in 2014 when owner-driver Kyle Busch drove it to a fourth-place finish at Homestead-Miami (Fla.) Speedway in the season finale. Byron and crew chief Wes Ward will also have some excellent setup notes to work with since KBM teams have won the past four Truck Series races at Phoenix. Busch claimed the first win in 2011, Brian Scott won in 2012 and current championship point leader Erik Jones took the checkered flag the past two years in 2013 and 2014.
Racing is not the only thing on Byron's plate. He is currently in his senior year at Charlotte Country Day and is taking college courses online through Liberty University Online Academy. In addition to his high school workload, he is taking Math 115 and has earned several college credits to date. Once he graduates from high school in the spring, his plan is to pursue a business degree at Liberty while advancing his racing career. More than 13,500 students attend classes on Liberty's campus in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Lynchburg, Va., and more than 95,000 students are enrolled in Liberty's online program.
The Lucas Oil 150 at Phoenix will be a great head start for Byron before he kicks off the 2016 NCWTS season in Daytona next February, competing not only for Rookie of the Year honors, but hopefully a championship as well.
William Byron, Driver of the No. 9 NCWTS Liberty University Tundra:
What are your goals for your first Truck Series start to consider it a success?
"My goal for my first NASCAR Camping World Truck start is to get a top 10 and run all of the laps. I can't wait to get in my Toyota Tundra and be able to see what I can do, or need to work on. It will be a great weekend."
How much will running the K&N Pro Series West race on Thursday help you in the truck on Friday?
"By running the K&N West race, I will be comfortable with the track before I get out there in the truck. This will make it a lot easier and I can focus on just the difference between the truck and the K&N car."
Have you talked to any of your new KBM teammates and/or Kyle Busch for advice on Phoenix yet?
"I have talked to Kyle (Busch) a little bit about what to expect when I get into a truck for the first time, so I feel well prepared and ready to go. I'm sure they will all be great resources once we get to the track. Now it's just about getting in the Liberty University Tundra and seeing what I can do."
Wes Ward, Crew Chief of the No. 9 NCWTS Liberty University Tundra:
What are your goals for William in his first truck race?
"We believe William is capable of a top-10 finish Friday night. KBM has a good history at Phoenix, so we need to get him acclimated to the race track and the truck. He obviously adapts well from his past series, and competing in the K&N West race the day before will definitely be a benefit. It will give him more track time, which will help him get up to speed faster when he climbs into the Tundra. We want him to run all the laps, gain valuable experience and have a clean race."
William Byron's No. 9 Liberty University Tundra:
KBM-023: The No. 9 Liberty University team will race KBM-023, for Friday's Lucas Oil 150 at Phoenix International Raceway. This Tundra's lone start came in 2014 when owner-driver Kyle Busch drove it to a fourth-place finish at Homestead-Miami (Fla.) Speedway in the season finale.
Notes of Interest:
William Byron 2015:
* Finished fifth in the K&N Pro Series West race on the road course at Sonoma (Calif.) Raceway in June