LYNCHBURG, Va. – Wednesday afternoon, William Byron headed to campus at Liberty University, where he’s currently in his junior year working on a degree in business communication through the school’s online program.
He brought with him Hendrick Motorsports owner Rick Hendrick and his teammate Jimmie Johnson to Liberty’s convocation.
There, all three men hit the stage during an afternoon packed with a question-and-answer session, advice for students and even a fun go-kart race.
Byron shared with the students his memories of wanting to race at a very young age as well as the amount of time and hard work it took to get where he is today, competing alongside one of his NASCAR idols – Johnson.
“It was kind of an unreal feeling, kind of growing up and being a fan of his and being teammates now at Hendrick Motorsports,” Byron said. “We texted back and forth after the Daytona 500 and it obviously didn’t end how we wanted it to but about 40 laps to go till the end of the race, we were side-by-side for the lead.”
Johnson recalled Byron trick-or-treating at his house as a child on Halloween and how far the 21-year-old has come in such a short period of time.
“He looked me in the eyes and said, ‘Someday I’m going to race against you,’” Johnson recalled. “And here we are eight or 10 years later.”
Now teammates at Hendrick Motorsports, their relationship has evolved, bringing the drivers closer together. That parallels the relationship between Liberty University, Byron and Hendrick Motorsports. The organization employs multiple interns, many of whom are Liberty University undergraduates. Having those intelligent students on board has always impressed Hendrick.
“This has been a terrific partnership,” the owner said. “We are so proud of these guys. The relationship with the school has been unbelievable – we need more Liberty students in our company.”
After Byron, Johnson and Hendrick finished the question-and-answer portion of the event, it was time to have some fun. To conclude the convocation, the guests joined members of Liberty University to pilot go-karts in a series of races to end the fun-filled day.
Be sure to watch drivers hit the track this weekend at Richmond Raceway with Byron sporting the paint scheme from his college. Saturday night’s race is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. ET on FOX.