CONCORD, N.C. – At just 20 years old, William Byron became the third-youngest driver to win NASCAR Cup Series rookie of the year honors.
After capturing the prestigious award in the previous two seasons in the Truck Series and Xfinity Series, he joined Erik Jones as the only other driver to win rookie of the year in three consecutive seasons.
On the strength of four top-10 performances in 2018, he also became the fourth Hendrick Motorsports driver to win rookie of the year honors, joining Jeff Gordon (1993), Kyle Busch (2005) and Chase Elliott (2016).
"There’s a lot of drivers that have a history of getting that award,” Byron told SiriusXM NASCAR Radio. “Hopefully we can go on to have success similar to that. It’s good to have that. I think it’s something that we can look back on this year and be proud of. I’m thankful for that.”
After competing as a rookie in four consecutive seasons in four different series, Byron is grateful to be in familiar territory in 2019, piloting the No. 24 Chevrolet in the Cup Series for the second consecutive season.
“It’s always been a whirlwind,” the driver said. “I’m looking forward to getting the rookie stripes off the car and having a chance to be in the same environment for two years in a row.”
From limiting DNFs to continuing to adjust to the high level of competition in the Cup Series, Byron has a solid grasp of what he’s done well and what he could improve on. And in 2019, he’s eager to continue building on the 2018 campaign and making strides early in his career.
“I’m enjoying every step of the way,” he said. “There’s been a lot of challenges this year, but it’s been a good growing experience.”
And now, Byron is excited to continue his growth with seven-time Cup Series champion crew chief Chad Knaus on board the No. 24 team.
He’s thankful for the endless opportunities Hendrick Motorsports owner Rick Hendrick has offered him, and he’s confident good years are to come in the Byron-Knaus era.
“It’s definitely a big honor,” he said. “Mr. H has allowed me to succeed and this is an example of that. It’s going to be really good for our team. To have somebody that’s won that many races and understands what’s it’s like going through these situations and forming that bond is going to be really special.”
And at the end of the day, Byron knows that an unshakable passion for racing coupled with a solid foundation of support from his Hendrick Motorsports teammates, nothing can alter his growth and development heading into his sophomore season in the Cup Series.
“I love racing,” Byron said. “I love being at the racetrack. I can’t imagine doing anything else. It’s a lot of fun getting to experience what I get to experience, being in an iconic ride in the Cup Series and being with a team that I’ve always dreamed about being with in Hendrick Motorsports. They’ve given me a lot of resources to use and a lot of people around me to succeed.”