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3 Takeaways From William Byron on OOTG

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Cody Williams

Cody Williams is the author of BUNNY BOY and THE FIFTH LINE. He lives near Bristol, TN.
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Current NASCAR Cup Series points leader heading into the Round of 12, William Byron, driver of the No. 24 Liberty University Chevrolet for Hendrick Motorsports, sat down with our very own Eric Estepp, host of Out of the Groove on YouTube for a very special interview. The interview was arranged by a great partner of both ours, here at The Daily Downforce, as well as William Byron, Liberty University. So, what did they talk about? Well, you can watch the full video of the interview below.

What I want to focus on in this article is the 3 key takeaways from the interview. Let’s get into it.

Reflection of a Breakout Year

William Byron has had some great success in the last couple of years at NASCAR’s highest level. 2023 has been, by far, one of the most consistent years of his still quite young career with 5 wins, 8 stage wins, 11 top-5s, 16 top-10s, and 22 top-20s. In the era of the NextGen car which provides maximum parity, Byron has emerged as the top dog at Hendrick Motorsports for the 2023 season. And he might just be the team’s best chance at a championship this year as Larson has been terribly inconsistent…other than how he performed in the Round of 16.

When discussing this year with Eric, Byron was fairly modest, saying that everybody has talked about his consistency but he still sees room for improvement in that area. Regardless, his average finish for 2023 thus far is 12.1, the best recorded of his career. If he and the team can reach the heights Byron believes them to be capable, look out. That No. 24 Liberty car will be a Championship 4 favorite for many years to come.

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Young Drivers With Experience

William Byron is a young driver himself (he is currently 25 years old in his 6th full-time year in the Cup Series), so Eric also asked him his thoughts on drivers breaking into NASCAR’s top level at 21 or 22 years of age while skipping over the NASCAR Xfinity Series entirely for a full-time Cup Series ride. Here he’s obviously referencing Carson Hocevar and Zane Smith who, if the rumors are to be believed, will both have full-time Cup rides in 2024.

This has been a topic of discussion for some time as there were many drivers in the past (Joey Logano, Martin Truex Jr., and even William Byron himself) that had made fans wonder whether or not they were rushed up to NASCAR’s highest level without having the appropriate time to develop. These drivers struggled in the first handful of seasons of their respective careers.

William Byron states that what he notices about Carson Hocevar and Zane Smith (but Hocevar, in particular, as he’s been a key player in the Chevy NASCAR simulator) is the time and commitment they’ve taken to rise to the top. With the NextGen being essentially a spec car, he wonders what kind of benefits there are to staying in the lower series, viewing that time in the simulator is maybe the most valuable way a driver’s time could be spent. He also said that he somewhat wished that he had taken a little bit of a slower path to further develop.

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Liberty University Pride in the World of NASCAR

One of the last points Eric hits in this interview with William Byron is his relationship with Liberty University. Byron goes on to say on the subject that L-U has a lot of graduates from crew guys to shop guys, to industry insiders in the world of NASCAR, which is certainly an interesting thing to note. Even one of my teammates here at the Daily Downforce is an L-U graduate and I have even considered attending Liberty online to pursue a Master’s in Education Administration in the near future. It’s definitely on my list and it’s great to know that the school has a community that supports NASCAR and everything we’re trying to do here at DDF.

Byron said that with the online classes, L-U is bigger than it had ever been and that his relationship with them goes far beyond NASCAR sponsorship. He’s talked to many other athletes and coaches from the Flames athletic teams who all support him and what he’s trying to do. He said that he wants to finish his degree in Business Communications so that he can, one day, a long way off when his career as a driver is over, he’ll have something else to fall back on to forge a new path. I just think that that’s so darn cool!

What do you think, Daily Downforce readers and Out of the Groove viewers? What are some interesting tidbits you found from this sit-down with the one, the only, the giant hat-waring William Byron?

Let us know your thoughts! In the meantime, be sure to follow us on Twitter (or X), Instagram, and Facebook, and check out our YouTube channel as well! And keep it right here for all the latest news and discussions in the great sport of NASCAR!

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Picture of Cody Williams

Cody Williams

Cody Williams is the author of BUNNY BOY and THE FIFTH LINE. He lives near Bristol, TN.
All Posts