CONCORD, N.C. -- William Byron’s 2021 will look a little different than his 2020 season. Reuniting with crew chief Rudy Fugle has him excited, he’s looking forward to working with Kyle Larson, and his Liberty University paint scheme for next season was unveiled on Dec. 9.
Byron has known Fugle would be joining Hendrick Motorsports since August after his former crew chief, Chad Knaus, and Jeff Gordon approached him about Fugle in August. Knaus announced he was taking on an executive role at the organization, leaving the space atop of the No. 24 pit box open.
“It was cool. They came to me and said, ‘We want to interview Rudy and see what he’s open to this year,’” Byron said on SiriusXM Radio. “It was cool that it came from them and that they took the initiative. Rudy has shown his ability in a lot of ways with a lot of different drivers. I was really fortunate to work with him a few years ago, and we really hit it off and had a ton of success.”
Byron and Fugle were paired together in the NASCAR Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series in 2016. In that year, they won seven of 23 races ran and Fugle earned the owner championship.
From there, Byron moved on to the Xfinity series and then the Cup Series. He was matched with Knaus in 2019, and Byron says he adapted quickly to the highest level of stock-car racing because of the seven-time Cup Series champion crew chief.
“I feel like Chad helped me grow up in the Cup Series and just get my feet underneath me and understand the ropes,” Byron said. “I feel like we did a lot of good things together. … We made the playoffs two years in a row and got a race win and a Duel win.”
Aside from working the Cup Series with Fugle next season, Byron will be learning the racing style of Larson. The newly tabbed driver of the No. 5 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 1LE was announced as the organization’s newest driver on Oct. 28.
“He’s bringing a totally different dynamic,” Byron said. “He’s very much a field guy and really focuses on what he feels in the race car; doesn’t look at a lot of data and things like that. That’s a good thing in today’s day and age. There’s a lot of data you can look at, but it really just comes down to feel and how to go fast. I’m looking forward to that refreshing look and getting to know him a little better.”