CONCORD, N.C. -- This weekend, Rudy Fugle will head to Dover International Speedway for the first time as a NASCAR Cup Series crew chief, but he isn't sweating hitting the track as a Cup rookie.
The Livonia, New York, native has plenty of experience at the Delaware track from his time in the NASCAR Truck Series, which included a 2016 stint with his current driver William Byron.
Fugle said it shouldn't be a massive transition from a truck to a Cup car at the track and added support from his teammates will only elevate the No. 24 team's chances of taking the checkered flag.
“I think Dover is pretty unique," Fugle said. "It’s got its own characteristics and they kind of apply, no matter what you’re racing there. I think a lot of those things and those thoughts can be applied to a Cup car, and I can use all these great notes from Hendrick Motorsports. Obviously, they’ve had a lot of success here in the past, so you add those things together and, hopefully, get a winning race car.”
Dover is Hendrick Motorsports' second-most winningest track and the organization leads all race teams with 20 Cup Series victories there. Most recently, Chase Elliott won at Dover in October 2018 and Kyle Larson cruised to victory lane at the venue one year later.
Last season, the Cup Series took on Dover two days in a row for a unique doubleheader. Byron finished 28th in the first race but rallied for a fourth-place result the next day. In fact, Elliott finished fifth and former Hendrick Motorsports driver Jimmie Johnson finished seventh in the first race of the doubleheader, then Johnson, Byron and Alex Bowman placed third, fourth and fifth, respectively, the next day.
“I’ve definitely been studying everything from last year, especially with two races," Fugle said. "We were able to take a lot of those notes and use William’s notes from the second race last year. (We’ve) used all the teammates’ notes and knowledge and, hopefully, we can apply it to a race-winning car.”
Byron's journey to get his second win of the season has been trending in the right direction. Since his victory at Homestead-Miami Speedway on Feb. 28, he has finished inside the top 10 in every race since. At 23, Byron is the youngest driver to have recorded 10 top-10 results in a row and currently is third in the standings due to his consistency. According to Fugle, the hot streak has fueled the No. 24 even more.
“It helps everyone keep working harder," he said. "Everyone has been trying really hard, working extra and putting the effort in. William does a great job spending all the time in the SIM and studying on his own. When you have success, there’s no reason to stop, so it just helps push everybody to get better, week in and week out.”
Fugle, Byron and the rest of the No. 24 team will try to extend that streak with a victory at Dover on Sunday. The race will begin at 2 p.m. ET and air on FS1.