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CHEVY NCS AT KANSAS 2: William Byron Press Conf. Transcript

NASCAR CUP SERIES
HOLLYWOOD CASINO 400
KANSAS SPEEDWAY
TEAM CHEVY PRESS CONF. TRANSCRIPT
OCTOBER 20, 2021

WILLIAM BYRON, NO. 24 RAPTORTOUGH.COM CAMARO ZL1 1LE, Teleconference Transcript:

YOU’VE HAD A COUPLE OF GREAT SPONSORSHIP ANNOUNCEMENTS FROM YOUR TEAM. TELL US A LITTLE BIT ABOUT THAT AND WHAT IT MEANS NOT ONLY TO HENDRICK MOTORSPORTS, BUT TO YOU AS WELL
“Yeah, we’re really excited. We’ve got a lot of momentum on the partnership side. I’m excited to have Raptor on the car this weekend for Kansas. It’s a company that Axalta is familiar with, and I think the paint scheme looks really cool. You can go to raptortough.com to learn more about that. And yeah, the Liberty news as well was awesome. I’m just really thankful to get to know those guys over the years and Dr. Prevo and his leadership over the last year or so. It’s been nice to get to know Dr. Prevo and they’re doing a lot of great things up there. I got a chance to see coach Freeze and see his football team play two weeks ago. It’s pretty cool up there and it’s been a good couple of weeks.”

SOME PEOPLE DON’T LIKE GREEN CARS, BUT IT MIGHT BE CONSIDERED OLIVE. HAVE YOU EVER HAD ANY SUPERSTITIONS AS FAR AS COLOR OF THE CAR?
“Green cars have always been touchy for me but if they look good, then it doesn’t matter to me. I’ve actually won a couple of races with kind of a green car back in Xfinity with Axalta in their industrial paint scheme. No, I’m not worried about it. Rudy (Fugle, crew chief) is a little superstitious, so I’m sure he’ll have to get over it.”

THERE HAS BEEN A LOT OF CHATTER THIS WEEK ABOUT HOW NON-PLAYOFF DRIVERS RACE PLAYOFF DRIVERS. IN YOUR SITUATION, WOULD IT BE ANY MORE DIFFICULT TO RACE FOR A WIN VERSUS KYLE LARSON FOR A WIN?
“I think it all depends on the point situation. Typically, if a guy is racing for a win, they’re having a really good day. So, they’re getting a lot of Stage points and they’re up front. So, throughout that race last week, my team never told me where Kyle was in points and all that. But knowing before the race that he has a bunch of bonus points and then knowing throughout the race that he got a bunch of Stage points, I wasn’t super worried about his point situation. But I didn’t want to obviously get in a wreck with him. So, we just raced hard and clean and just raced smart. But I want win and my team wants to win, so I’m not going to do anything to sacrifice that. I just have to be aware of the situation.”

AT TEXAS THERE WAS A LOT OF GREAT SPEED IN THE NO. 24 CAR AND A LOT OF RACE-WINNING CAPABILITIES FROM YOU AND YOUR TEAM. HOW ENCOURAGED ARE YOU THAT YOU’RE HERE TO STAY FOR GOOD AND THAT YOU ARE STILL CAPABLE OF WINNING RACES?
“I think that, for us, over the course of this year, there has been a lot of good aspects and then there have been some aspects that have been disappointing. But I think all the key ingredients that it takes to win races is there and it’s been there. We won the third race of the year. So yeah. We’re very capable. It’s just about us putting together all the details to be successful. I think we’ve had a shot to win multiple races this year at different times. I think we’ve got all the good properties of a race team that it takes to win races, and Texas was a good example of that. Hopefully we have another shot to win this weekend.”

HAVING BEEN WITH HENDRICK MOTORSPORTS FOR THE LAST FOUR YEARS, WHAT HAS THE ORGANIZATION GIVEN TO YOU THAT HAS ENRICHED YOUR LIFE NOT ONLY PROFESSIONALLY, BUT PERSONALLY?
“I think the more time that I spend there, the more I love being there. I’ve really kind of grown into it being a home for me. When I started there, I felt a little bit uncomfortable. I felt like the place was bigger than me, and really kind of hard to fit in. And as I go, and I surround myself with people that have the same desires and interests and think the same way, I think we just get more and more comfortable. It’s been a great year and I feel like I’m just very comfortable in that environment.”

DID YOU GET A SENSE THAT ANYBODY RACED YOU OR THAT YOU WERE RACED A LITTLE BIT DIFFERENTLY AT TEXAS BECAUSE YOU WEREN’T IN TITLE CONTENTION EVEN THOUGH YOU HAD A RACE-WINNING CAR?
“I really don’t think so. I think those situations have to be very clear cut for someone to race differently. I was thinking about that throughout the race and some of the cautions. As a race car driver, you’ve got a certain mindset and a certain way that you think as you go throughout the race, and it’s very hard to just kind of change that on the fly. So, you don’t really alter your whole strategy. But if it’s a clear-cut situation where a Playoff guy…. Like, I wouldn’t wreck one of them, especially. I think that’s kind of the biggest thing for me is kind of trying not to wreck one. But I didn’t feel like anyone raced me different or that I raced them differently. But you see the yellow spoilers. You kind of know who you’re around and things like that. I think you’re just kind of aware of those guys and what they’re trying to do.”

FOR THE SECOND WEEK IN A ROW, YOU HAD CONTACT WITH THE NO. 8 CAR OF TYLER REDDICK. AT THE ROVAL, YOU TALKED TO HIM AND HE TOLD YOU WHAT HAPPENED AND YOU SAID YOU WERE GLAD TO KNOW THAT. IS THERE ANY MORE REASON NOW TO HAVE FURTHER COMMUNICATION WITH HIM? IS THERE A GROWING FRUSTRATION?
‘No, I don’t think I’m very frustrated. I think I would have been very frustrated if the tire didn’t stay up because that’s kind of the way our season has been with flat tires. But no, I think it just was a situation where is a misjudgment and a couple of those, but I think that’s just something you kind of keep in mind when you’re racing, but yeah, no; I still don’t think it’s anything malicious, but it is another kind of misjudgment.”

AT KANSAS, HOW DO YOU DESCRIBE RESTARTS WHETHER YOU’RE AT THE FRONT OR A FEW ROWS BACK AND WHAT SEEMS TO BE CHAOS?
“Yeah, they are very difficult. I think when I first started out in my career in the Cup series, Kansas restarts were probably a nemesis for me (laughs). I think that’s become better over time. We’ve gotten better at predicting where those guys are going to be and using our mirrors and using our spotter to kind of help those conditions. But yeah, it’s tough. A lot of times you can’t always win the restart at Kansas. You have to just minimize the loss. Especially if you’re on the front row, you look at….. We have all these retention rates and everything and you look at the retention on the front row and it’s not very high. So, you just have to know that going in and know that it’s going to be a challenge to hold the lead or to be second. Unlike Texas, where it’s a very narrow track and you can get a good push and get out front. This place will be a lot different on restarts.”

WHAT IS ONE OF THE KEY THINGS YOU HAD TO LEARN ABOUT RESTARTS AT KANSAS?
“I think the biggest thing with the 550 races is getting linked-up to your push if you’re the leader. So, you’ve got to do things whether you drag the brake, or you roll into the throttle slow, you’ve got to make sure that that guy is linked-up to your bumper to push you because if not, there’s not enough horsepower for you to just drive away, unless you’re in first gear or you have different ratios or something. So, that’s watching the mirror. That’s listening to my spotter and him countdown when that guy is getting to my bumper, so I’m always kind of looking up and seeing him and seeing how close he’s getting to me. And then, if you’re not the leader, it’s all about side drafting appropriately, in the right spot. Getting through the gears is important, especially if you’re not the leader, to make sure you’re not losing any momentum. And then yeah, just protecting kind of your right rear or your left rear, based on what lane you’re in, to make sure somebody doesn’t put you three-wide.”

HENDRICK MOTORSPORTS HASN’T ANNOUNCED AN EXTENSION FOR YOU. YOU’RE SIGNED THROUGH NEXT YEAR. YOU’VE PROBABLY BEEN WORKING ON THAT. ARE YOU CLOSE, AND WOULD YOU EXPECT AN ANNOUNCEMENT BEFORE THE START OF NEXT YEAR?
“Yeah, I think when the time comes, we’ll work on it. And I love being at Hendrick Motorsports and don’t see anything different there, and the way we’re running and everything, it’s been great. So yeah, when the time comes, I’m sure we’ll work on it. I’m not very concerned about it.”

Team Chevy high-resolution racing photos are available for editorial use.

About Chevrolet
Founded in 1911 in Detroit, Chevrolet is now one of the world’s largest car brands, available in 79 countries with more than 3.2 million cars and trucks sold in 2020. Chevrolet models include electric and fuel-efficient vehicles that feature engaging performance, design that makes the heart beat, passive and active safety features and easy-to-use technology, all at a value. More information on Chevrolet models can be found at www.chevrolet.com.



The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of SpeedwayMedia.com.

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