Photo courtesy of Sean Gardner | Getty Images
William Byron is entering his sixth season in the NASCAR Cup Series in 2023. He is back piloting the No. 24 Chevrolet for Hendrick Motorsports, the car that he debuted in and has run full-time since 2018.
He’s coming off of the best Cup Season of his career after making his first career Round of 8 and finishing 6th in the driver point standings. It was the first multi-win Cup year of his career, winning the Folds of Honor QuikTrip 500 at Atlanta and the Blue-Emu Maximum Pain Relief 500 at Martinsville early in the 2022 season. His 746 laps led were the most in a season of his career, they accounted for 8.4 percent of his total laps run, also a career-high for lead lap percentage.
Byron cooled off from his hot start through the middle stretch of the season but managed to finish strong through the final 10 races of the season. He finished each of the final 10 races in the top 20 with six top-10 finishes and a third-place finish at the Bass Pro Shops Night Race at Bristol.
After finishing the regular season fifth in points, Byron advanced through the Round of 16 and Round of 12 holding onto sixth in the standings following the Bank of America Roval 400 Round of 12 elimination race. He climbed to fourth in the first two races in the Round of 8 with a 13th-place finish at Las Vegas and a 12th-place finish at Homestead-Miami. However, Christopher Bell recorded the victory the following week at Martinsville to secure his spot in the Championship 4 and Denny Hamlin also managed to pass Byron in the standings with a fifth-place finish, though he was beaten out by Ross Chastain on the move known as the “Hail Melon” which landed Chastain in the Championship 4.
Though eliminated from Championship contention, Byron finished the season strong in Phoenix with a sixth-place finish in the season finale.
24 days out from the 2023 Busch Light Clash at the Coliseum, Byron is gearing up for another playoff run, looking to make his first Championship 4 this season. Coming off his best season to date in 2022 the 25-year-old looks like a prime contender in 2023.
Byron finished 6th in the main race at the 2022 Clash at the Coliseum, could his 2023 exhibition opener performance be a signal for his overall success this coming season? If so he’ll be looking to finish in victory lane Sunday, February 5 in Los Angeles.