CONCORD, N.C. – It’s been quite the exciting few weeks for William Byron.
Earlier this month, it was announced that he will make the jump to the NASCAR Cup Series with Hendrick Motorsports and compete for rookie of the year honors in 2018. Tuesday evening, the world learned that the 19-year-old driver will make his Cup debut behind the wheel of the iconic No. 24 Chevrolet.
“(Hendrick Motorsports owner Rick Hendrick) called me and asked me what my thoughts were on driving the No. 24,” Byron said in a Facebook Live video Tuesday after the announcement. “I really didn’t expect that, but just was extremely thankful for it and ready for the opportunity.”
The No. 24 car has some important history behind it.
Four-time NASCAR Cup Series champion Jeff Gordon racked up 93 wins and each of his championships piloting that number. Chase Elliott, who next year will drive a new addition to the organization’s four-car stable -- the No. 9 NAPA AUTO PARTS Chevrolet Camaro -- is in the midst of his second year of success in the No. 24 car. It started with Elliott becoming the youngest pole-sitter in Daytona 500 history and included a rookie of the year campaign en route to the playoffs in 2016, and he is once again on the verge of the postseason in 2017.
Byron never saw the change in car numbers coming but is dedicated to finding ways to continue the powerful legacy of the historic number.
“I’m going to try to win and compete hard for wins and championships,” he said. “I think we’re really qualified to do that at Hendrick Motorsports and I have a lot of great people around me.”
As for carrying on Gordon’s legacy, Byron said the four-time champ was also enthusiastic about the news.
“I talked to Jeff on Thursday and he was really excited for it,” Byron said. “I know how much it means to him. We’re excited for next year.”
As Byron prepares for the jump to the Cup Series next season, he remains positive about his current season in the NASCAR XFINITY Series. His main goal is to continue winning races and gunning for the championship.
“I’ve got unbelievable people to lean on,” Byron expressed. “This year we’ll continue focusing on winning the championship with JRM and I’m excited for that, too.”
Check out Byron’s full Facebook Live appearance at the top of the story.