Interview

Byron Unphased by Bad Luck

By Cole Cusumano

 

One of the most trouble-filled careers as of late for the surplus of young drivers in the NASCAR Cup Series has been William Byron. It seems as if one week after another an unrelenting rain cloud has made a comfortable home above the heads of those involved with the No. 24 team. Anything that can go wrong, has for the Hendrick Motorsports group, but something has to give.

 

In the midst of his third full-time bid, the 22-year-old sits 14th in the standings with nine races remaining in the regular season. Sure, five top-10 finishes is admirable — but when you have Rookie of the Year contender, Cole Custer finding victory lane at Kentucky Speedway, and Tyler Reddick along with Christopher Bell already posting top-fives in 2020, you’d have to think that bad luck and lack of a win is affecting Byron.

 

“To be honest, I don’t really think about it that much,” Byron told POPULAR SPEED. “When adversity would hit me at the beginning of my career, it really affected me toward the next week and I would really kind of race differently because of it; maybe more conservative or more aggressive, trying to make up for it. Whereas now I feel I just don’t look at it and I don’t really pay attention to the bad fortune that happens.”

 

The driver of the famed No. 24 admits frustration does still typically grab hold of him at the conclusion of the race, but he’s able to clear his head and focus on the following weekend at the end of the day.

 

“I think that’s just maturity, probably, and the race team and myself,” Byron said.

 

The lack of wins and top-fives doesn’t necessarily denote a failure of a season thus far for the 2017 NASCAR Xfinity Series Champion. He’s finished inside the top-15, 11 times and is picking up the slack where it counts — stage points. The No. 24 team has secured 69 points en route to two segment wins and this could very well be the difference maker should Byron make the Playoffs for the second consecutive year.

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