LEADING AT THE BRICKYARD: Last Monday, William Byron became the youngest NASCAR Cup Series driver to lead the Brickyard 400 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway at 20 years, 9 months and 12 days old. He led three laps during the 400-mile race, from Lap 102 to 104, to kick off the final segment before coming home with a 19th-place result. Byron has led a total of 56 laps at seven different tracks thus far in his rookie season.
LOOKING TO VEGAS: Byron’s first Cup Series race at Las Vegas Motor Speedway in March of this year didn’t go exactly as he and the No. 24 Axalta Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 team hoped as they struggled with the car’s handling early in the race. However, the team made improvements over the course of the race en route to a 27th-place result, and those detailed notes could come in handy going into this weekend as they look to improve on their finishing position. The team’s history at the track is good - Hendrick Motorsports has more wins on the West Coast (34) and on 1.5-mile tracks (57) than any other Cup team, and crew chief Darian Grubb earned one of his 17 Cup wins at the Las Vegas track. Byron also has earned solid finishes at the 1.5-mile track in the other NASCAR national series. Last year, he finished 14th in the Xfinity Series, and in 2016, he earned a fifth-place result in the Truck Series race.
ROOKIE BATTLE: Byron may not be in the 2018 NASCAR Cup Series playoffs, but he is involved in a battle of his own – a two-way race for rookie of the year honors. With three top-10s, an average finish of 20.7 and 56 laps led so far this season, the driver of the No. 24 Axalta Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 leads the rookie standings by 107 points over Bubba Wallace. Speaking of rookies, a Cup rookie has never won a race at Las Vegas and only three have ever finished in the top-five, though one of those was Kyle Busch when he was driving for Hendrick Motorsports. Byron will have a chance to change that statistic this weekend.
FINAL NO. 24 RIDE FOR AXALTA IN 2018: Axalta returns as the primary partner of the No. 24 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 this weekend at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. This will mark the final time the bright Axalta flames, designed by motor sports artist Sam Bass, will appear on the No. 24 Chevy in 2018 as it is the last of Axalta's 11 races as primary partner of the No. 24 this season.
VEGAS TEST: Byron and the No. 24 team participated in an organizational test with the new Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway from Jan. 31 to Feb. 1. The test also marked Byron’s first-ever laps on track in a Cup car up to that point. He wasted no time getting up to speed, setting the fastest lap time in the morning session on both days.
MTJF STEERING WHEEL: Throughout the month of September, Byron will run the Martin Truex Jr. Foundation steering wheel center pad in his No. 24 machine. September is Ovarian and Childhood Cancer Awareness Month. The foundation is raising awareness and funding for the diseases through the steering wheel program.
William Byron on racing at Las Vegas:
“Las Vegas is one of the basic mile-and-a-half tracks for us, along the lines of Kansas and some of those. It’s a fun track. I went out there with the Truck Series a couple of years ago in September, so it’s usually hot and that throws another element into it compared to the spring race. It’ll be a really intense race because it’s the start of the playoffs, and you’ll have to be on your game for sure.”
Byron on the rookie of the year battle:
“The rookie title is one of those benchmarks you look at to evaluate your season, and it’s something to be proud of if we can get that honor this year. It’s unique and something that I’ve been able to get the last couple of years in the other series, so it would be cool to have that in all three national series (Cup, Xfinity and Truck) in consecutive years. I have a lot of things to look forward to and things I want to accomplish, but this would definitely be something to be proud of.”