CONCORD, N.C. – With one race remaining to advance to the Round of 12 in the NASCAR Cup Series playoffs, William Byron and the No. 24 team are approaching it like any other weekend.
“I think we’re just going to go out there and do what we normally do and hopefully have a smooth weekend,” the driver said. “We need to have a good qualifying effort and get into race practice and have a good practice there and the race will hopefully take care of itself.”
Currently, Byron would be the final driver to advance to the next round. He sits 12th in the standings, two points above his Hendrick Motorsports teammate Alex Bowman in 13th.
The challenge that awaits is the Charlotte Motor Speedway road course, the newest venue on the Cup Series circuit. The series has only raced on the “roval” once, and three Hendrick Motorsports drivers finished last year’s event inside the top 10.
Byron, however, was the odd man out, finishing 34th. But he was racing inside the top 10 late in the race before getting caught in a multiple-car incident, and he feels there are lessons to take from last year.
“I think we’re going to be a bit more comfortable this year with the layout, so it should help us get a smoother time and speed and everything like that,” the driver said. “It’s a little bit different this year with the chicane and a little bit different on the back straightaway. But, I think we can really trust our notes from last year for the other corners around the racetrack.”
One common theme across the series is that everyone has the same amount of experience at the “roval” – one race. And with no practices there ahead of this weekend, teams don’t know whether the track has changed from year to year.
Those factors combine to make this weekend what Byron considers “definitely a wild-card race for the playoffs.”
He’s just ready to go racing.
“It should be a really good weekend,” he said.