CONCORD, N.C. -- William Byron took home his third eNASCAR iRacing Pro Invitational Series victory in four races Sunday after he crossed the finish line first at the virtual Dover track.
The 22-year-old driver of the unique Axalta/Voltatex Chevrolet led for 79 laps out of the 150-lap race to give Hendrick Motorsports its fourth iRacing win in a row.
“It was a lot of fun (Sunday),” Byron said. “Obviously there was a lot of cautions so I just had to kind of pace myself.”
There were nine total cautions in the race but Byron normally was at the head of the pack and not caught up in any accidents. Instead, he used the cautions as opportunities for pit strategies.
“It was hard to predict when we were going to get a longer run so it's hard to know what to do with the tires in terms of how much to save,” he said.
Now Byron’s focus will shift to the live track. NASCAR announced at the end of April that the season will resume on May 17 at Darlington Raceway. Byron said he’s excited but it’s going to be difficult to physically get back in the groove on racing an actual car, especially since there will be no practice or qualifying sessions.
“You're not going to get that chance to really go through practice and kind of warm up your muscles to get ready in the car,” Byron said. “I've just been doing some training and trying to watch some old film of races at Darlington. With it being a daytime race, it's going to be different as well. ...
“The biggest thing is just being prepared. I've used iRacing to train me on the mental side, which I think has really helped me. I'm looking forward to carrying that confidence and momentum over to the Cup car.”
Byron said to help prepare for the physical toll live racing takes he is going to head to a go-kart track and allow his body to get used to the motions that come with being in a race car. Either way, he knows it will be different since NASCAR is taking multiple safety precautions, such as designating certain areas for the drivers and crews and running the races without fans in attendance.
“I'm going to miss the family aspect at the track and the fan aspect at first. I think it's going to be much different not to have that pre-race hype and environment around the race,” Byron said.
“For me, it will just allow me to focus more and be around my team, not have any distractions I guess you could say. I think there's pros and cons for sure. I'm going to miss the environment, but it will make it a little bit easier as a driver I believe to get ready.”
Though Byron’s focus won’t be on iRacing as much, he said running in the Pro Invitational Series has kept him sharp with the NASCAR season on hiatus.
“What gives me confidence is the fact that in pressure situations, being able to deliver under those is critical in a real race car because everyone can go real fast, but it comes down to the strategy and execution of that,” Byron said. “It gives me a lot of confidence in the heated moments of the race. I'm excited to bring that back over to the real race car.”