William Byron: NASCAR is “heading through a positive development”

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William Byron’s timing could not be greater, because he is off to the strongest beginning, and NASCAR is witnessing increasing at-track crowds and TV viewership.

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Hendrick Motorsports has extended the 24-year-old Cup Series racer’s deal for another three years, keeping him as the racer of the No. 24 Chevrolet through the 2025 season.

When a result, Byron will be in a position to negotiate his new contract just as NASCAR’s existing 10-year television runs out at the end of the 2024 season.

The debut of the Next Generation car to the Cup Series this season was met with a great deal of anticipation, and the preseason Clash at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum started the new season in style.

Byron, a relative newbie to NASCAR, seems to be settling in just as the sport is seeing a much-needed resurgence in popularity.

“I think our sport is going through a big change; a change for the better, really. We’re really thriving I think as a sport – seeing how much the fans are turning out to the races, how the TV ratings are and things like that,” he said.

“It’s exciting. For somebody like me coming into the sport, I’m 24-years-old and hopefully have a long career ahead. I want to see this sport do well. I want to see fans be interested in what I’m doing.

“I’ve got a lot of support from friends from high school, and things like that, that are watching the races. I didn’t get those messages a few years ago, so it’s cool to see that. Hopefully, as drivers, we can continue to benefit from the success of the sport.”

Threatening the title

Only two racers have consistently won races this season, including Byron, who made his Cup Series debut less than 4 years ago. He’s in third place in the series rankings heading into Sunday’s race at Darlington Raceway in South Carolina.

His significant achievement – which included a win and a tenth-place position in the series rankings last year – put him in a strong position to negotiate a new contract, something the iRacing star isn’t used to.

“This is kind of my first deal outside of my rookie contract and I think that it’s good to kind of understand the economic sense of the sport a little bit more as I’ve gotten older, and start to understand all of the moving parts and what goes into it,” Byron said.

“I thought (the process) was educational and fair. Definitely left me excited and looking forward to the years ahead. It was different, for sure. But I’m happy with it. I’m happy with how everything turned out.”

Byron had “just just started to scratch the surface of his ability,” according to team owner Rick Hendrick, who released a statement this week.

Byron agrees, claiming that his reconnection with crew chief Rudy Fugle, with whom he had previously worked in the Truck Series, was a turning point previous season.

“Everything we did last year was great and it kind of set a good foundation for what is important to us and how we’re going to approach our season,” he said. “What we want to go for – obviously playoff points was a big part of that and trying to get more of those.

“It’s all just about communication. I feel like Rudy and I communicate well. We can have a lot of success. What I like about him is that after a tough race, he digs his feet in deeper and figures out how to solve problems.

“He’s a problem solver and I like that aspect. I think that’s why we’ve always been good. We’re able to rally from bad races, get closer together and go work on it.”

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