CONCORD, N.C. – Six races into his sixth season in the NASCAR Cup Series, William Byron has been a force to be reckoned with in the 2023 campaign.
The 25-year-old has been lighting up the stat sheet this year. With two wins, he is the lone driver to post multiple victories so far this season. Those triumphs at Las Vegas Motor Speedway and Phoenix Raceway were the first time that Byron has won back-to-back races in his Cup Series career.
His four stage wins lead the series and account for 80% of the team’s stage wins in 2023. In addition, the four stage wins match a season best for the driver of the No. 24 RaptorTough.com Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 and we have only completed six races. Since the advent of stage racing, two other drivers have posted four stage wins through six races – Martin Truex Jr. (in 2017) and Kyle Busch (in 2019). Both drivers went on to win the title in those seasons.
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Taking a deeper look through the numbers:
- Three top-five finishes are tied with teammate Alex Bowman and two others for the series lead. Byron and Bowman make up six of the team’s series-best nine top fives to this point. The nine top-five finishes for the team are tied for their third-best mark in team history. The previous three occurrences came in title seasons (2006, 2007 and 2013).
- The second-most laps led (268) – teammate Kyle Larson has led two more laps – and the second-most laps run in the top 10 (935).
- The most laps run in the top five (774).
- Eight stage top 10s are tied for the most in the series with three others.
His fast start has helped him position the No. 24 car one win away from 100 wins, as the iconic number would become the fifth car number to crack triple digits. Byron is responsible for six of those wins, while team vice chairman Jeff Gordon accounted for 93 wins. Given Byron’s short-track strength in recent years and his season to date, there is lots of evidence that the notable win could happen in the coming weeks.
Let’s start with Richmond Raceway, site of the next race on Sunday, April 2 (3:30 p.m. ET on FS1, MRN Radio and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio-Channel 90). Byron qualified in the top five for both of last year’s Richmond events and he has two straight top-seven finishes in the spring race. In the April 2022 event, he led 122 laps (the most he’s ever led in a race he did not win) before the fresher tires of Denny Hamlin caught him with five laps to go. The third-place finish marked his first top-five result at the .75-mile track.
PHOTOS: Short-track success stands as a hallmark for Hendrick Motorsports
Short tracks were a strong point for Byron in 2022. On that track type, he had the best average finish (5.0), tied for the most top-five finishes with three other drivers including teammate Larson (three), the second-most points (203).
Over his last seven short-track races, he has the top marks in average finish (4.71), top fives (five) and top 10s (six). All those numbers are punctuated by a win at Martinsville Speedway last April, where he led 212 laps. The .526-mile track is coming up on the schedule for Sunday, April 16 (3 p.m. ET on FS1, MRN Radio and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio-Channel 90).
With a win and two top-five finishes in the first two races that have utilized a decrease in downforce on short ovals and road courses, that level of performance bodes well for Byron moving forward with two of those tracks among the next three on the schedule.
Tune in to watch Byron and the No. 24 team take on Richmond on Sunday, April 2, at 3:30 p.m. ET on FS1, MRN Radio and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio (Channel 90).
*All stats provided by Racing Insights