GAINING MOMENTUM: Coming off a career-best NASCAR Cup Series finish at Pocono Raceway last Sunday, William Byron will head to Watkins Glen with plenty of momentum. The Charlotte, North Carolina, native had a great weekend at Pocono, qualifying sixth and although he was one of many competitors sent to the rear following post-qualifying technical inspections, Byron didn’t waste any time moving forward once the 400-mile race was underway. He advanced to 15th by the end of Stage 1, earned a stage point for finishing 10th in the second segment, and led 10 laps at the beginning of the final segment before bringing home a career-best sixth-place result. Byron currently leads the Cup Series rookie of the year standings by 71 points.
TOP-SIX: Byron’s career-best sixth-place finish last weekend at Pocono marked the 23rd time a Hendrick Motorsports driver age 20 or younger has finished sixth or better in a race – a NASCAR Cup Series record. In the last 272 races, a driver age 20 or younger has finished in the top six a total of 12 times, every one of whom drove the No. 24 car for Hendrick Motorsports. Byron’s Pocono result was only the third time a driver age 20 or younger finished in the top six at the Pennsylvania track, and all three drove for Hendrick Motorsports – Kyle Busch in June 2005, Chase Elliott in June 2016, and Byron in July 2018. Rolling off the grid 38th, Byron tied the lowest starting position of a driver age 20 or younger to finish inside the top six in a race since 1952.
HERTZ RETURNS: The Hertz colors will return to the No. 24 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 this weekend at Watkins Glen International, albeit with an update as the scheme is now primarily yellow with black numbers and lettering. The Hertz Corporation, one of the world’s largest vehicle rental companies, joined 12-time NASCAR Cup Series champions Hendrick Motorsports as a primary sponsor of Byron and his iconic No. 24 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 team earlier in 2018. Following The Glen, Hertz will be the primary sponsor for three additional races in 2018: Talladega Superspeedway in October and the final two races of the season in November, ISM Raceway and Homestead-Miami Speedway.
WATKINS GLEN STATS: Byron will make his third start at Watkins Glen this weekend and his first in the Cup Series. The 20-year-old raced on the 2.45-mile road course in the 2015 NASCAR K&N Pro Series East race, when he started second and finished seventh, and again in the NASCAR Xfinity Series in 2017, when he started 15th and finished 10th. Overall, Byron has run nine road course races across four different NASCAR series – Cup, Xfinity, Truck and K&N Pro – finishing inside the top 10 in all but two of those races. His best road course finish is a third-place result in the K&N Pro Series East race at Sonoma in June of this year while running double-duty. He scored a 25th-place finish in the Cup race that same weekend. No. 24 team crew chief Darian Grubb has led a Cup team to victory at Watkins Glen before – he won with Tony Stewart in August 2009. However, only one Cup rookie has ever scored a road course win – Juan Pablo Montoya at Sonoma Raceway in 2007 – so it’s certainly a challenging feat.
HERTZ SWEEPSTAKES: To celebrate the partnership with Byron and Hendrick Motorsports, Hertz is currently running a sweepstakes where with the booking of a Hertz rental car, fans have a chance to be entered to win a VIP race weekend experience in Phoenix by using the provided promotional code when booking the rental car. The grand prize includes a trip for four to Phoenix from Nov. 9-12, four VIP tickets to the Nov. 11 race at ISM Raceway, a meet-and-greet with Byron, a tour of the No. 24 Hertz hauler, pit box seating with pit and garage access, round-trip airfare, a three-night hotel stay, and, of course, a Hertz rental car. The sweepstakes runs from July 1 to Aug. 15. Click here for more information or to enter.
CATCH BYRON AT THESE APPEARANCES: Byron will participate in the Watkins Glen tweet-up in Victory Lane on Sunday, Aug. 5, at 10:30 a.m. local time. He’ll also make an appearance at the Team Chevy stage on Sunday at 11:30 a.m. local time. Fans can visit the Chevy stage in the midway to see the Q&A with Byron.
TDJF SKELETON GLOVES: Byron will join his Hendrick Motorsports teammates in wearing Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s signature skeleton-themed gloves to support The Dale Jr. Foundation this weekend at The Glen. Both Byron and Earnhardt will sign the yellow skeleton gloves that Byron will wear for this weekend’s race and auction them off to raise money for the Dale and Amy Earnhardt Fund at Nationwide Children’s Hospital as part of the annual “Driven to Give Gloves” program. The fund supports the courageous patients and their families in the area of pediatric injury rehabilitation, research and prevention.
William Byron on racing at Watkins Glen:
“Watkins Glen is all about getting the most out of the braking zone and stability under braking. That’s really a key there. Also, it’s important to get through the ‘Bus Stop’ well and then getting off of Turn 1 is very important to get up through the ‘esses.’ It’s fun, but it’s kind of an aero(-sensitive) track, so those factors play in.”
Byron on comparing Watkins Glen to Sonoma:
“Really, they are polar opposites. It’s like going to Martinsville versus going to Michigan. Watkins Glen is more like a superspeedway for road-course racing.”