AVONDALE, Ariz. – William Byron placed eighth on the speed chart in the 20-minute practice session for Saturday's NASCAR Xfinity Series race at Phoenix Raceway.

The Charlotte, North Carolina, native was seventh in the five-consecutive lap average category. Byron was the first car out in single-car, single-round Xfinity qualifying and posted a lap of 127.114 mph (28.321 seconds) in the No. 17 Chevrolet Camaro. He will start from the 28th position for the 200-lap race. Reigning Xfinity Series champion Cole Custer earned the pole position. 

Byron has four Xfinity Series wins, all of which came in his 2017 championship-winning season. Since then, he has made four starts in the series, two of which resulted in runner-up finishes.

Brandon McSwain, the lead engineer on Byron's No. 24 NASCAR Cup Series team, is making his crew chief debut atop the box for the No. 17 Xfinity Series team. This will be the first of four races in which McSwain will be the crew chief for Byron in the Xfinity ranks. 

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"To be able to do it with this organization is extremely humbling," McSwain told of his first race as a crew chief. "We have high expectations. They have had the Xfinity program back for two years and the elusive win has not come. Selfishly, we both want to check that box for Mr. H. 

"With the Hendrick name, the No. 17 and working with William, this is a no-brainer. It is a home run. I am very grateful for this new challenge, the opportunity to grow professionally and learn a new role."

McSwain and Byron's history goes back to the driver's 2017 Xfinity Series championship season at Hendrick Motorsports affiliate JR Motorsports. McSwain was an engineer on that team and then, before the 2019 season, was brought on by crew chief Chad Knaus to be an engineer on the No. 24 Cup Series team. 

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Saturday's Xfinity race marks the first of 10 events in the series in which Hendrick Motorsports will enter the No. 17 Chevrolet Camaro. Byron will be behind the wheel for four of those races, while Chase Elliott (two races), Kyle Larson (two races), Alex Bowman (one race) and Boris Said (one race) will also drive the car. Greg Ives, who won the Xfinity Series championship as a crew chief in 2014 with Elliott at JR Motorsports, will be the pit boss for the non-Byron races. 

Since its return to the Xfinity Series in 2022, Hendrick Motorsports has had three pole awards, three runner-up results, six top-five finishes, seven top-10s and 139 laps led in 10 starts. Most of those races have occurred on road courses with a handful of ovals mixed in. In its Xfinity history, Hendrick Motorsports has earned one Xfinity Series championship (2003) and 26 race wins.

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The No. 17 carries special significance to the Hendrick Motorsports family as it is the same number Ricky Hendrick drove and won with in the Truck Series. The paint scheme will again be based on the No. 17 truck driven by Hendrick during his 2001 rookie season. On the Cup side, NASCAR Hall of Famer Darrell Waltrip drove the 17 to nine wins for the team from 1987 to 1990, including in his 1989 DAYTONA 500 victory.

Tune in this afternoon to watch Byron drive the No. 17 Chevy at Phoenix. The 200-lap Xfinity race begins at 4:30 p.m. ET and will be on FS1, MRN Radio, and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio (Channel 90).