Rudy Fugle to call 100th Cup event as crew chief at Charlotte Roval

A significant milestone mark is in the making for Ryan “Rudy” Fugle, crew chief for William Byron and the No. 24 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 team in the NASCAR Cup Series. By participating in this weekend’s Playoff event at the Charlotte Motor Speedway Road Course for the Bank of America ROVAL 400, Fugle will call his 100th career race as a crew chief in NASCAR’s premier series.

A native of Livonia, New York, Fugle made his inaugural presence as a NASCAR Cup Series crew chief at the start of the 2021 season, where he was hired by Hendrick Motorsports to lead the No. 24 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 team piloted by the 2017 Xfinity Series champion William Byron. By then, Fugle was coming off seven seasons in the Craftsman Truck Series, where he worked as a crew chief for Kyle Busch Motorsports and had accumulated 28 victories and two championships (2015 with Erik Jones and 2017 with Christopher Bell). The move also reunited Fugle and Byron, both of whom won seven races during the 2016 Truck season.

During the first two scheduled events of the 2021 season, Fugle and Byron finished no higher than 26th and were mired back towards the top-30 cutline. Then during the third event of the season at Homestead-Miami Speedway in February, Fugle achieved his first career victory as a Cup crew chief after Byron led a race-high 102 of 267 laps to claim his second career win in NASCAR’s premier series. The Homestead victory would serve as the first of 16 top-10 results, including two runner-up finishes, achieved between the duo along with two poles during the 26-race regular-season stretch as they claimed a spot to the 2021 Cup Playoffs. Their title hopes came to an end following the Round of 12, but Fugle led Byron and the No. 24 team to four top-six results during the 10-week Playoff stretch before concluding the season in 10th place in the final standings. By then, Byron had tripled his top-five results compared to his previous two Cup seasons at 12, achieved a career-high 20 top-10 results and finish in the top 10 in the final standings for the first time in his career.

Remaining as Byron’s crew chief for the 2022 season, Fugle led the No. 24 team to its first top-five result of the season at Las Vegas Motor Speedway in March following two consecutive DNFs during the first two scheduled events. He then earned his second career victory as a crew chief after Byron notched a dominant win at the reconfigured Atlanta Motor Speedway. The duo went on to win at Martinsville Speedway in April and endure an up-and-down regular-season stretch before securing their spots for the 2022 Cup Playoffs. Finishing no lower than 16th throughout the Round of 16 and 12, Fugle and Byron transferred to the Round of 8. Despite achieving respective finishes of 13th, 12th and seventh during the penultimate round, they were unable to transfer to the Championship 4 round. Nonetheless, a sixth-place result during the finale at Phoenix Raceway in November was enough for Fugle, Byron and the No. 24 team to settle in a career-best sixth place in the final standings.

This season, Fugle and Byron have notched five victories (Las Vegas and Phoenix in March, Darlington Raceway in May, Atlanta Motor Speedway in July and at Watkins Glen International in August), nine top-five results and 14 top-10 results in 25 events. Fugle’s low point of this season was being suspended for four events from late March through early April as part of Hendrick Motorsports being hit with a severe points and fine penalty involving its hood louvers being confiscated from all four entries during the Phoenix weekend at March, which the event was won by Fugle and Byron. Despite all four Hendrick entries each being docked 100 points and 10 Playoff points, Fugle and Byron made the 2023 Cup Series Playoffs on the strength of their five regular-season victories. After finishing no lower than 15th during the first three Playoff events and transferring from the Round of 16 to 12, the duo notched their sixth Cup victory of the season at Texas Motor Speedway in late September. The victory not only guaranteed them and the No. 24 team into the Round of 8, but they delivered the record-setting 300th Cup career victory for Hendrick Motorsports. Currently, they are coming off a runner-up result at Talladega Superspeedway as they continue their pursuit of winning their first Cup Series title, beginning in the Round of 8 following this weekend’s Round of 12 conclusion.

Through 99 previous Cup events, Fugle has achieved nine victories, five poles, 28 top-five results and 47 top-10 results while working with William Byron and the No. 24 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet team.

Fugle is primed to call his 100th Cup Series event as a crew chief at the Charlotte Motor Speedway Road Course for the Bank of America ROVAL 400 on Sunday, October 8, with the event’s broadcast to commence at 2 p.m. ET on NBC.

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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