CONCORD, N.C. – Rudy Fugle is ready to hit the ground running with William Byron. The new No. 24 crew chief said the NASCAR Cup Series just now is seeing Byron's brilliance behind the wheel. Fugle said his goal is to bring that expertise out even more.
“I think there’s a whole bunch more talent to be seen. He’s done a really good job for the past three years gaining experience and having good runs, but I think there’s so much more,” Fugle said. “Even though I’m new, the team is the same. And I’m not really new because we know how to communicate with each other.
“It’s going to be a really good year. I think we’re going to start off being able to communicate and make the car better as we go and make good decisions.”
Fugle is one of the most successful crew chiefs at the NASCAR national series level, winning two drivers championships and five owners titles. He and Byron worked together in 2016 during Byron’s rookie year in the NASCAR Gander RV and Outdoors Truck Series.
That season, the duo won seven races in 23 starts, led 21% of all possible laps and earned the NASCAR Gander RV and Outdoors Truck Series owner championship. Fugle expects the pair to start their preparations seamlessly due to their previous success.
“William does a great job of just focusing on what he can do to be his best and to maximize his potential,” Fugle said. “He’s always done that. And he didn’t care who he was racing against. … There’s definitely a little process, a schedule, and how we attack each day. That kind of is how I like to approach things and I’m going to try to bring him with me on that and how we do it week in and week out.”
As for Byron, he said having a previous relationship with Fugle already eases any trepidation that could come with working with a new crew chief. Combined with a strong third year in the Cup Series, which saw him earn his first win, Byron expects a smooth transition with Fugle.
“We’ve kind of picked up where we left off with communication,” Byron said. “We do have to be out on the racetrack to really see kind of the fruits of that, but you can plan accordingly and have a really good plan and that’s a good start. It doesn’t always go that well, but you can kind of plan those things out. I feel good about it. I feel like we’re going to pick up where we left off.”