CONCORD, N.C. -- Amid all the congratulatory tweets William Byron received when it was announced that he would race in the NASCAR Cup Series for Hendrick Motorsports beginning in 2018, one from a competitor brought back some memories.
NASCAR Cup Series driver Landon Cassill tweeted a screenshot of a YouTube comment that stood out from an iRacing event he hosted six years ago.
It belonged to Byron, who was asking for a few pointers.
"I think I was asking how to go faster -- that’s usually what we ask about as race car drivers," Byron laughed. "That was pretty cool, seeing that tweet. I didn’t even remember doing that, but that’s pretty cool to kind of see how far it’s come and see the support there."
Prior to starting to compete in the U.S. Legend Car Young Lions division in 2013 as he began his path toward a full-time racing career, Byron raced exclusively online.
In particular, he utilized iRacing, a true-to-life racing game that even current NASCAR Cup Series driver continue to play.
"Me and Kyle Larson were racing a few months back, so you never know who you're going to see on there," Byron said.
While it was always plenty of fun -- he also recalled being "a fly on the wall" in a race against Travis Pastrana -- the game helped Byron hone his craft before he got behind the wheel of an actual race car.
"iRacing was the platform for me that I was able to start racing in and understand the cars and understand all the driving aspects," he explained.
"So, for me, I think it’s kind of crazy that everything started on a video game."