CONCORD, N.C. – The second NASCAR Cup Series season together for William Byron and Rudy Fugle saw the No. 24 team make positive strides.
"It was a lot of really, really high highs and a few really, really low lows," Fugle told SiriusXM NASCAR Radio this week. "Really not the consistency we wanted until we got to the playoffs. We started the high and ended the season fairly high."
Byron had his first multi-win season – scoring two wins at Atlanta Motor Speedway and Martinsville Speedway in the opening eight races of 2022. He reached the Round of 8 for the first time in his five seasons at the sport’s top level.
The playoffs saw the Charlotte, North Carolina, native earn six top-10 finishes in 10 races (one more than the five top-10s he had in the 26-race regular season) and post a 9.0 average finish. Despite a seventh-place run at Martinsville in the Round of 8 finale, the 24-year-old did not advance to the Championship 4.
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During his appearance on SiriusXM NASCAR Radio, Fugle reflected on the season and the lessons learned for himself and the team.
"I don’t think we were ourselves in the summer as much as we needed to be," Fugle said when evaluating the 2022 season. "We sometimes focused on the wrong part of the weekend. Sometimes tried to overreach if the car wasn’t good enough. When you are going through that cycle and you show up, you are not going to take a car that was 12th and try to win with it. We probably tried to do that too much and then we end up 20th. It’s like shoot, I would have been a whole lot happier if we fought all day long and finished ninth or 10th with a 12th-place car.
“And you just have to find yourself. When it comes to the playoffs, your butt is on the line and it’s way easier to make sure you find yourself when you got that kind of pressure. The fact we were able to do that makes me proud. Just the growing pains that we learned from I think will just teach us a whole bunch."
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With the offseason upon us, Fugle will be keeping busy around the shop as the team tears down race cars and comes up with plans for where the team can improve heading into the 2023 season.
However, driver and crew chief will be back at it again in a few short weeks at the Snowball Derby with Wilson Motorsports at Five Flag Speedway in Pensacola, Florida. Byron has won six Super Late Model races with that team this season.
"Very shortly, William (Byron) and I are going down to Snowball Derby to go down there and test. I’m super excited about that," Fugle said.
"It’s a different type of racing atmosphere. It is a different type of stress to make the cars go fast and go through everything. Those cars are what I spent a lot of time working on and they’ve stayed pretty similar for years and years and years. The legends that have gone down there and raced and won and built those cars. You are just going back to the heritage and getting some of that energy."