By: Ashley McCubbin
Throughout his young career, William Byron has shown he knows what it takes to get around Charlotte Motor Speedway earning two pole awards to his credit. However, he has yet to turn it into success come race time, with a best finish of ninth and two results outside the top-15 in those four starts.
It’s a trend he hopes to change this weekend after a strong start to the season, as he won at Homestead-Miami Speedway in the third event of 2021, followed by 10 top-10 finishes prior to last week’s 11th at the Circuit of the Americas.
“I think just focus on the race car and what the race car needs as the runs go on and as the race goes on,” he told NEWS FROM THE PITS. “I’m going to do a lot of studying and prep this week on figuring out what the trends are with the race track and what some of the guys that have been successful there, our teammates, have done better than us. I’ll say that’s my goal this week is just to learn some of those little details that might pay off as the race gets longer and gets toward the end.
“Like you said, I’ve run really well at Charlotte. I know how to go fast there. So, I don’t have to worry about that. But I just have to focus on what my race car needs to do throughout so I don’t fall off at the end.”
Being able to run well is every driver’s goal, but certainly in the Coca Cola 600 with being a crown jewel event. It also makes the night go by easier, as Byron has learnt from past races that struggling makes it feel like the race goes on forever.
“I think it is definitely a challenge to keep up with the race track and to stay focused for all 600 miles,” he commented. “The preparation during the week is really critical because you can easily get behind and it can feel like a really long race like you said. But if you’re prepared and your race car is driving well then it’s fine.”
With Byron’s success this year, a strong run at the Coca Cola 600 should be expected despite past results not being an indication, and considering the Hendrick Motorsports notebook he has to work with. Jimmie Johnson was able to go victory lane a couple times, while Chase Elliott was just mere laps away from accomplishing the feat in 2020.