NASCAR CUP SERIES
TEAM CHEVY PRESS CONF. TRANSCRIPT
JUNE 18, 2021
WILLIAM BYRON, NO. 24 LIBERTY UNIVERSITY CAMARO ZL1 1LE, Press Conference Highlights Transcript:
DURING THE GOODYEAR TIRE TEST BACK IN MARCH, WE SAW TIRES CORDING AFTER 20-25 LAPS. WHAT EXACTLY CAUSES TIRES TO CORD LIKE WE SAW DURING THE TEST?
“I think just the concrete. We don’t normally run on concrete and concrete is pretty abrasive to tires, especially at like Dover or Bristol. You usually have tire issues there. I feel like that’s just what it is. It seems like it’s a lot better through practice. The track rubbered in pretty quickly. I feel like it’s gotten a lot better. I think the biggest thing for us was just trying to get it to turn. It’s a really flat place and it feels like of like Pocono (Raceway) in that aspect; the straightaways are pretty long. Yeah, it was cool.”
WAS THIS A TRUCK RACE THAT YOU WERE LOOKING FOR A RIDE BECAUSE YOU HAD NEVER BEEN HERE OR WAS THIS SOMETHING THE TEAM CAME TO YOU?
“Yeah, Rudy (Fugle) and Willie Allen came to me with this opportunity back in March, I think. It wasn’t on my radar. I haven’t run anything other than Cup for a few years. I was kind of nervous, but it worked out and they were willing to have me in their truck and that’s awesome. I’m really appreciative of the opportunity and feel like it’s one that’s going to help me in the Cup Series. But really, it’s just a chance to have fun with my guys. I get a chance to have Josh Graham here, who works on the 24, and meet a lot of the new guys at Rackley and their team. It’s been fun. We started off practice a little bit off, but we got a lot better and obviously got really good there by the end. Just have to keep working on it, but it’s awesome to have the opportunity.”
THEY PUT RESIN DOWN, WHICH THEOREDICALLY ISN’T TRACTION COMPOUND. DID YOU FEEL MORE GRIP UP THERE OR COULD YOU TELL ANY SORT OF DIFFERENCE?
“Yeah, I thought the track rubbered in pretty quickly. I thought the rubber laid down quicker than I’m used to in a practice session, so that was interesting. I was nervous firing off there, just not knowing the truck and seeing that a lot of guys usually have issues with the traction compound. I was kind of nervous there, so I kind of stayed pretty low for the first couple of runs. As I worked into it, it seemed like it was normal grip level. It wasn’t a huge deal. I don’t think we’re going super-fast in the center of the corner, so it’s not like you’re super on-edge getting to the resin compound.”
ON THE CUP SIDE OF THINGS, I WAS ASKING AROUND ABOUT THE CURRENT STREAK THAT HENDRICK MOTORSPORTS HAVE BEEN ON. I HEARD THAT REALLY THE ADVANTAGE THAT YOU GUYS HAVE IS WITH MASTERING THE BODY OF THE CURRENT CUP CAR. WITHOUT GIVING ME TOO MANY TRADE SECRETS, CAN YOU TELL ME A LITTLE BIT ABOUT WHY HENDRICK HAS CONTINUED TO DEVELOP THE CURRENT CUP BODY, EVEN THOUGH THIS CURRENT CUP CAR IS GOING TO BE OBSOLETE THIS TIME NEXT YEAR?
“I don’t think it’s really one thing. I think we’ve gone to work on a lot of different areas. It’s taken us two or three years, maybe four, since I’ve been here to kind of get to where we are. So, I don’t think it’s really one thing. Downforce always helps, but a lot of other things help. I feel like we’re just trending in the right direction and I give credit to our sim program; to everything that gets us close because we don’t have practice. So, to show up with the splitter being close, all those things being close, is really tough. So, I don’t think that’s really just downforce – I think it’s really just a lot of hard work from engineers, fabrication guys, everything.”
DO YOU KIND OF FEEL LIKE YOU’RE IN A DEFICIT COMING INTO THE SPORT, IN AN ERA WHERE THERE’S ABSOLUTELY NO TESTING? THE SIMULATOR IS REALLY ABOUT ALL YOU’VE HAD TO RELY ON.
“Yeah, it is. I think that’s why opportunities like this are so awesome. I think that’s why chances to run something else is really good for me, like I’m having this weekend. I feel like it’s a great opportunity for me to learn. I do feel like now in the Cup cars, I feel pretty up to speed. I don’t feel like I’m at a deficit by any means. It’s just figuring out the little details of each track that maybe I haven’t had a car at that track to be competitive with to know what I need to feel. We’re getting there though. I think we’ve been to a lot of tracks that I wasn’t competitive before in Cup and now, this year, we were really good. I think Texas (Motor Speedway) is an example of that. I’m excited for the summer months and see what we can do.”
HOW DOES IT FEEL TO BE BACK IN THE TRUCK SERIES HERE AT NASHVILLE SUPERSPEEDWAY?
“Yeah, it’s awesome. I obviously watch the Truck races every weekend, but you don’t really know how it’s going to drive until you get out there. So, I was really nervous going into the first corner, just to know what it was going to feel like, understand the side force and the feel. We aren’t going as fast as a 1.5-mile track, so I’m sure it would feel a little different there. But it kind of brings you back to a few years ago.”
“The other thing is how much room you have above your head. I’m not used to that either. The engine has changed since I’ve been in the Trucks. At the time, it was just open engines, so that’s a little different too. So, I’m getting used to the shifting and all that. Restarts I think will be a challenge for me, just to get up to speed and remember to shift. I’m going to have to be looking down at my tach and looking up. It’s going to be a challenge.”
Team Chevy high-resolution racing photos are available for editorial use.
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