CONCORD, N.C. – A week has passed since William Byron’s victory in the 2024 DAYTONA 500 but the accomplishment and the memories are still sinking in for the 26-year-old driver. 

"It is pretty surreal," Byron said. "What I look back on are the moments and the memories we have on camera. The photos we have with my team. I remember jumping into Landon (Walker’s, fueler on the No. 24 team) arms on the grass and my whole team there. That was one of those moments that you’ll never forget. That amount of excitement. 

"It was cool to go back to the racetrack (at Atlanta Motor Speedway last weekend) knowing what we had accomplished as a team. A lot of our competitors congratulating us in the garage was special too."

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Byron, crew chief Rudy Fugle, team owner Rick Hendrick, team vice chairman Jeff Gordon and the No. 24 team were honored at the DAYTONA 500 Champion’s Celebration lunch at the Axalta Customer Experience Center on the campus of Hendrick Motorsports. William’s parents, Dana and Bill, were also on hand to celebrate their son’s achievement. The event is typically a breakfast on the morning after the race and is held in Daytona, but last week’s rain out changed those plans.

PHOTOS: Scenes from the DAYTONA 500 Champion's Celebration lunch

Byron received his Rolex Cosmograph Daytona watch, Fugle was presented with the Cannonball Baker Trophy as the winning crew chief and Hendrick was given the Harley J. Earl Owner’s Trophy. In addition, Byron, Fugle, Hendrick and Gordon all received their DAYTONA 500 leather jackets. Byron is the first Charlotte, North Carolina, native to win the event.


The victory marked Hendrick Motorsports’ ninth in "The Great American Race," which is tied for the most among all teams in NASCAR Cup Series history. It was also the team’s first in the event since 2014.

PHOTOS: See every DAYTONA 500 winner in the history of Hendrick Motorsports

"That’s the crown jewel. That’s the race you dream about," Hendrick said. "To be able to win that race, it carries you all through the year. It is hard to put into words, but Daytona stands alone. We are excited to kick off the year. We have a lot of great things going on for our 40th (anniversary), so it’s a great way to start."

Winning the DAYTONA 500 marks the next evolution for Fugle, Byron and the No. 24 team. Coming off a six-win season and a Championship 4 appearance in 2023, the crew chief was looking for the team to elevate its game on the big stages. 

RELATED: Fugle savors 'special' DAYTONA 500 win

"How do you become perennial contenders?" Fugle said. "The next step from winning six races is winning the big races. The (DAYTONA) 500, Coca-Cola 600, All-Star races, Southern 500 and it leads to a championship because it gives you that confidence. That has been our offseason target and the next bar to set."

Gordon drove the No. 24 to three DAYTONA 500 wins, 93 Cup Series wins and four championships. He is proud to see that Byron, who has driven the No. 24 since the 2018 season, has created his own legacy with the iconic number. 

RELATED: Every win for the No. 24 | Hendrick, Gordon share appreciation for big win

"He represents the sport well and he represents this organization well," Gordon said of Byron. "Now he is showing he can win, compete at a high level, go for championships and win DAYTONA 500s. He has not only connected with the 24 fans, but he is building his own fanbase, his own identity within it and that is the best thing you can ask for."

In the closing moments of the lunch, Daytona International Speedway track president Frank Kelleher announced that the 2025 DAYTONA 500 will take place on Sunday, Feb. 16. Byron will be looking to defend his crown and give Hendrick Motorsports its third set of back-to-back DAYTONA 500 wins.