Will William Byron Make Up for Brutal Championship Heartbreak in 2024 or Did He Lose His Final Chance?

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Aug 20, 2023; Watkins Glen, New York, USA; NASCAR Cup Series driver William Byron points to his win sticker on his car in victory lane after winning the Go Bowling at The Glen at Watkins Glen International. Mandatory Credit: Matthew O’Haren-USA TODAY Sports
Hendrick Motorsports ended 2023 with ten wins that took over the 300-win milestone in NASCAR. One of the primary reasons behind the team’s success was William Byron. The 26-year-old North Carolina speedster was the winningest driver in the Cup Series with six wins to his name. Having gone from strength to strength, Byron was a top pick for the championship. While a championship victory didn’t materialize, the dream run has established the No.24 driver as a dark horse.
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William Byron is in his sixth season as a full-time driver and has already had four consecutive seasons with a win. Having tasted victory, Byron amplified his talents in 2023 by producing a career-best season. Apart from his six victories, he had 15 top-fives and 21 top-tens. Having led more than 1000 laps for the first time in his career, the youngster dominated almost every chart in the sport. So what can we expect from him this time?
William Byron’s well-rounded racing profile makes him a contender for the 2024 championship
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Byron’s wins in 2023 weren’t a result of his skills on a single type of racetrack. Instead, the six wins were distributed across all kinds of venues, including two successive wins at Las Vegas and Phoenix. Continuing the momentum to the season finale at Phoenix, William Byron led 95 laps in the biggest race of his career. However, a minor miscalculation cost him the race, as Ryan Blaney won the championship as the highest-finishing driver.
Having experienced a close call in his last Cup race, Byron wants 2024 to bring him even more success. As per NASCAR, he said, “I mean, I’m not going to go into next year just because it’s the 40th year and say, ‘man, I really want to win,’ but I hope I win more races than I did this year. I hope I win 10.”
“So that’s the goal, and I told everybody that we just want to be the fastest next year. We were really good this year, we were always in the mix and always one of the guys, but just want to be faster next year.”
Shining behind the steering wheel, William Byron has also successfully filled his predecessor Jeff Gordon‘s shoes. The 94-time Cup race winner is a legend of the sport and one of the most loved drivers in the sport. Thankfully, Byron has already shown his potential to be Rick Hendrick’s next superstar. Not just on the track, but his demeanor off the track has made him one of the most popular Cup Series drivers.
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Byron’s success isn’t sudden
William Byron’s interest in racing started with racing on simulators like iRacing. Being one of the nine drivers to feature in ‘NASCAR: Full Speed,’ Netflix portrayed his story very well. The documentary highlighted his winning mentality, a notch above most drivers in his age bracket.
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HMS team owner Rick Hendrick commented on the same, saying, “I think William is a good poster [guy] for a lot of young people that have ambitions to be in racing that if work as hard as he’s worked, you can get there.”
USA Today via Reuters May 14, 2023; Darlington, South Carolina, USA; NASCAR Cup Series driver William Byron (24) celebrates victory at Darlington Raceway. Mandatory Credit: David Yeazell-USA TODAY Sports
Another huge reason behind his rise to the top of NASCAR is the presence of an expert voice behind him. The #24 Chevrolet’s crew chief, Rudy Fugle, has improved the team’s firepower and strategy execution to another level. As for William Byron, he has consistently expressed his confidence in the #24 team to keep moving up the ladder.
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With every significant aspect of his racing career on the right track, one might wonder if a championship victory is coming.

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