CONCORD, N.C. -- Rudy Fugle is more than impressed with how William Byron has grown as a driver over the past several months.
The crew chief of the No. 24 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 1LE has been in the NASCAR Cup Series just this season after spending most of his career in the Truck Series. Meanwhile, Byron has embarked on his fourth year in the highest level of stock car racing and recently earned his second Cup win at Homestead-Miami Speedway.
“It’s unbelievable how quick he’s gaining all this knowledge (with) the lack of experience he really has,” Fugle said on SiriusXM Radio. “He’s running in the top 10 more and more, over and over. He processes and improves as good as anybody I’ve ever worked with. That’s what I’ve always liked about him. No matter what his weakness is, he identifies it, works hard, he admits it’s a weakness, and then he gets better.”
Byron’s success with Fugle this year is well documented. Along with the crushing win at Homestead, Byron has recorded a total of five top-10 finishes this season – a Cup Series career best for the Charlotte, North Carolina, native. Fugle credits Byron with constantly trying to improve, which he feels they can do with some small tweaks and adjustments. One area where he is happy to see Byron getting better are his restarts.
“You got to identify what your problems are and why you are losing spots,” Fugle said. “What exactly are you lacking as a driver? You identify what those things are and then you start working on the car and figuring out what those improvements are, and then the driver, crew chief and spotter are expected (to get better).
“Tab (Boyd) is a great spotter. He’s been in the shop a ton. He, myself and William have spent time analyzing what went wrong, how we can be more solid, how we can take advantage of the choose rule, making the right choices. Just a lot of homework and a lot of hard work, and so far it’s worked out.”
Now Fugle’s attention will turn to Martinsville Speedway for the first Saturday night race of the season. Byron has six starts at “The Paperclip” and he posted a runner-up result and an eighth-place finish in two of his last three starts there.
“He either runs really, really well or he has some failures with some brake problems,” Fugle said. “That’s the two-fold to our weekend coming up. How do we make the car durable and make it last throughout the race? It’s only a 500-lap race. We need to make the brakes and everything survive the way he wants to drive it, but also we need to not take the speed out of the car while he’s doing that. The No. 9 won the race there last time, so we got a lot of good notes.”
The race at Martinsville Speedway will begin Saturday night at 7:30 p.m. ET and will be broadcast on FS1.