NASCAR Cup Series

William Byron Excited to Get Back Behind the Wheel at Darlington

By: Ashley McCubbin

After being the last sport to go on hiatus, NASCAR will be the first to return to action with the NASCAR Cup Series in action at Darlington Raceway at May 17.

“I’m excited,” William Byron said. “Obviously we’re going to have to be careful health-wise, really take care of ourselves. That starts with us as drivers to make sure that we’re being smart and things of that nature.

“When it comes to the racing I’m honestly just very excited because it kind of goes back to your roots as a driver of when you show up and you race, maybe you have a few laps’ practice, but ultimately you get in the car and drive. I’m looking forward to that aspect of the race, not really being there for a long time, but just getting out there and driving.”

In promoting being at the track as least as possible and wanting to keep workload to a minimum for teams with restricting the amount of individuals, the sanctioning body has elected to go with no practice and qualifying, making the drivers’ first laps on track being that of the actual event.

“It’s going to be difficult,” William Byron admitted. “I think the biggest thing is just trying to prepare yourself well physically. Obviously you’re not going to get that chance to really go through practice and kind of warm up your muscles, I guess you could say, to get ready in the car.

“Honestly I’ve just been doing some training and trying to watch some old film of races at Darlington. With it being a daytime race, it’s going to be different as well. A lot of different variables there. The biggest thing is just being prepared. I’ve used iRacing to train me on the mental side, which I think has really helped me. I’m looking forward to carrying that confidence and momentum over to the Cup car.”

Byron notes that the team who hits on the setup right, and gets the variables spot on in regards to ride height, the splitter, and travel will be the team succeeding.

“As a driver all you can do is put consistent laps together,” he added. “You have to be efficient in traffic at the start of the race. I do feel like there’s going to be some mistakes made, some bounces off the wall, things like that. You have to avoid that in the first run or so. Then you’ll start to see who really has the car after that.

“I would assume it’s going to be the same guys that run well at Darlington because they probably have an idea of what their setup needs to be and what they want to feel in their car. Probably no surprises there. But it will take adaptation as a driver, which I think we’re all capable of doing.”

Although Darlington is on the forefront, the series also announced that following the pair events at the aged oval, they will be running a pair of events at Charlotte Motor Speedway. After winning both poles last season and a top-10 in the Coca Cola 600, it’s no doubt that Byron is confident heading into that event.

“I feel really good about it,” he said. “I think that Chad obviously has a ton of success at Charlotte, and I feel like now that the track at Charlotte has gotten more wear and more abrasive, I feel like that falls into his notes and his wheelhouse of when they ran really well there with the 48 car. I’m super confident that Chad is going to have a good setup when we go back, and I think honestly if we can just kind of parlay what we did last spring there, which was a decent top‑10 finish; I think we were top 5 or 6 in all the stages in the 600 race, and I feel like we ran well.

“If we can just work on a couple of things there to have a better car once the track rubbers in really aggressively and once the race changes and evolves over 600 miles, we should be in good shape. I’d love to go back there. Really any of the mile‑and‑a‑halfs I feel like we’d have a good opportunity.”

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