LAS VEGAS – After quickly climbing the ranks to the NASCAR Cup Series, William Byron set off on his rookie year in the iconic No. 24 Chevrolet looking to stake his claim at the top level of the sport.
And just like the past three seasons in the NASCAR Xfinity Series, NASCAR Camping World Truck Series and K&N Pro Series East, Byron claimed another impressive accolade.
Clinching on points following the penultimate race of the 2018 season at ISM Raceway, Byron was named the Sunoco rookie of the year.
On the eve of his 21st birthday, the driver accepted the award at the NASCAR NMPA Myers Brothers 2018 Awards.
“This was a goal of ours, and I’m thankful for all the work that went into getting us to this point," Byron said. "As we set out for 2018, I couldn’t wait to live a dream of mine by competing in the Cup Series."
The award marked Byron's fourth consecutive season being named the rookie of the year, and he joined Erik Jones as just the second driver to win the award in the Cup, Xfinity and Truck Series in back-to-back-to-back seasons.
“From driving the No. 24 flames car at Daytona, to racing at my hometown in May, it was surreal," Byron said. "You go from running at the quarter-mile track at Charlotte four years ago to racing in front of tens of thousands of people.”
Byron was paired with veteran and champion crew chief Darian Grubb as he embarked on his rookie campaign.
Together, the No. 24 team secured four top-10 finishes, leading 61 laps along the way and ultimately finished 23rd in points.
“I love to race," Byron said. "Six years ago, it would have been crazy to imagine that I would be racing side-by-side with idols of mine. The first race of the year, lining up against Jimmie Johnson in the Duel: the lights, the colors, it was a lot brighter than in an Xfinity car. Then, it was time to lock in, and race.”
Byron concluded his acceptance speech by thanking everyone who made this season possible: his family, everyone at Hendrick Motorsports, NASCAR and its partners, all the sponsors aboard the No. 24 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1, his No. 24 team including crew chief Grubb, as well as his Hendrick Motorsports teammates.
And now, the driver is ready to continue making strides heading into 2019.
“As I look towards next year, I’m excited and ready to get going," he said. "No more rookie meetings, and that’s a freedom I haven’t had in my short NASCAR career thus far. With that being said, I’m ready take those rookie stripes off.”