Editor’s note: This year, William Byron will check in from time to time on HendrickMotorsports.com to provide insight into the 2018 season from his own perspective. Below is his latest entry.
Last weekend’s run at Pocono was a lot of fun. We can feel the momentum building on this No. 24 team, and it’s exciting.
Being able to go back to tracks with a notebook having already raced there, it’s pretty big. I feel like the first time you go, you’re almost just trying to do what you’ve seen other people do, whereas the second time you go, you know if something’s worse or better and you remember the feeling you had in the car the first time.
Pit road is the same, for example. At Pocono, getting on pit road, I was not great the first time, and then this time we were second-fastest. Things like that, you get better. I start to understand why experience matters and why that makes you a better driver.
Everything’s slowing down for me a little bit – I get to enjoy the week more. I’m not as stressed out about what’s going to happen over the weekend. I kind of know where we’re going to stack up.
By now, we’re going to the track and picking a couple things in the car that we’re fine-tuning instead of throwing a whole setup at the car. There’s not a magical setup, but we go to the track with an idea of exactly what’s going to make the car better. It’s exciting. It makes it a lot of fun. Darian Grubb and I are smiling a lot more, the team guys are smiling, and during the week we’re accomplishing a lot before we get to the track. The meetings are becoming even more in-depth, which is good.
I think it just builds on itself. There are certain things in the car that you know work, that you’ve used to have success. Darian is starting to understand how much of this I want in the car, how much of this I can tolerate and what things are making it better. We’re building information. And, ultimately, once you get that information, it makes it harder to have a bad day.
One thing I’ve noticed, I’ve always had a new team to work with every year, so it’s been really difficult to just do the same thing that I did last year each new season. But for whatever reason, it feels like in the summertime, something always clicks for me. I think I just start to get that routine of what we’re doing and start to understand the race car a little bit better. I can certainly feel that this year.
As far as my off-track routine, I’ve probably spent more time with friends than I ever have. I feel like I work harder at the track than I ever have, but also when I’m away from it, I try to get my mind off of what the race car’s doing when I have the chance. I think that’s helped me be more refreshed when I get there.
We’re excited about the opportunity we have down the stretch this year to make our mark. We want to keep this momentum rolling.