‘The competitors might be compelled to cope with us’ – Byron
If there are nonetheless individuals who aren’t listening to William Byron and the No. 24 Hendrick Motorsports workforce, he plans on altering that quickly.
“As quickly as we win one other race — hopefully quickly — you guys might be compelled to speak about us, and the competitors might be compelled to cope with us,” Byron mentioned Wednesday.
However the competitors ought to already know they need to cope with Byron as he could be the most popular driver within the NASCAR Cup Collection proper now. Going into Kansas Speedway (Sunday, 3 p.m. ET, Fox), Byron is using a string of eight consecutive top-eight finishes that started with a dominant win at Homestead-Miami Speedway on the finish of February.
Eight top-10 finishes in 10 races tie Byron with level chief Denny Hamlin for probably the most within the sequence. Byron is fourth within the level standings. Not solely does that make Byron the highest-sitting Chevrolet driver, however he’s main the best way of the 4 Hendrick drivers (Chase Elliott is eighth, Kyle Larson ninth, and Alex Bowman 14th).
“I feel we’re operating properly,” Byron continued. “We’re within the combine each week. I really feel just like the competitors round us in all probability is aware of that and understands that. So, I feel it’s only a matter of continuous to execute and put ourselves in place to make ourselves have an opportunity at profitable extra races.
“Truthfully, I don’t focus a lot on the opposite folks we’re racing in opposition to. I simply deal with doing what we will to attempt to win. We’re doing that each week to this point.”
Byron’s prime 10 streak is the longest by a Hendrick driver since Dale Earnhardt Jr. earned eight consecutive top-10 finishes between Talladega on the finish of 2013 and Las Vegas firstly of 2014.
Communication and chemistry are the keys to success, in accordance with Byron. Rudy Fugle, who took over as crew chief this season, just isn’t solely overseeing the constructing of quick race vehicles however he’s introduced a renewed vigor to the group.
“Every part goes higher this yr,” mentioned Byron.
And, Byron is discovering his place. The 23-year-old admitted that he felt uncomfortable when he entered the Cup Collection two years in the past. The transition from the Xfinity Collection, the place he received the championship in 2017, to Cup is troublesome, and Byron had fairly a little bit of relearning to do.
Now that the educational curve is over, not solely does Byron really feel extra snug, however that has translated into outcomes. It has additionally raised his confidence stage, understanding he’ll have vehicles able to contending every week.
“I present as much as the observe each week now understanding that I can put together the best way that I’ve been and have success,” he mentioned. “So truthfully, simply preserve making ready the best way that I’ve been doing it — somewhat little bit of iRacing, somewhat little bit of movie, and speaking with my guys.
“We now have nice conferences all through the week. So, we’ve obtained a extremely good system going. I really feel like we’re capable of go to each racetrack and form of construct on what we’ve been doing.”
Byron begins second Sunday afternoon at Kansas.