William Byron Focused on Strong Bristol Night Race

No doubt, William Byron seems relaxed ahead of Saturday night's Bristol Night Race. (Photo: Jonathan Huff | The Podium Finish)

No doubt, William Byron seems relaxed ahead of Saturday night’s Bristol Night Race. (Photo: Jonathan Huff | The Podium Finish)

All things considered, William Byron faces a challenging task ahead of Saturday night’s Bristol Night Race. Byron, who sits 18 points outside of the final transfer spot into the Round of 12, would understandably seem under intense pressure.

Instead, the 23-year-old Charlotte, North Carolina native seems rather cool and determined. In this case, the fourth-year NASCAR Cup Series racer focuses on having fun with his family and friends.

"We’ve had a lot of fun but definitely want to accomplish a lot more." - William Byron (Photo: Stephen Conley | The Podium Finish)

“We’ve had a lot of fun but definitely want to accomplish a lot more.” – William Byron (Photo: Stephen Conley | The Podium Finish)

“Just trying to stay focused and keep a little bit of variety throughout the week,” Byron said in a pre-race Zoom conference. “I enjoy playing golf with my buddies and my family. I enjoy doing various things around town. So yeah, I just try to keep it pretty relaxed throughout the week.”

By all means, Byron’s patented calm and relaxed approach showcased itself during his incredible, 11 consecutive weeks of top 10 results. Moreover, Byron, the catalyst of Hendrick Motorsports’ winning ways in 2021, apparently matched teammate Kyle Larson‘s exploits with consistency.

Following the Pocono doubleheader weekend in late June, Byron and his No. 24 Axalta Chevrolet team seemingly hit a snag. In the past nine Cup races, Byron has seven finishes of 20th or worse including accidents at Indianapolis, Daytona and Darlington.

Conversely, Byron, in the midst of his struggles, attributes his poise under pressure mindset and approach by taking care of himself.

Byron seemingly masters his demands in healthy fashion. (Photo: Stephen Conley | The Podium Finish)

Byron seemingly masters his demands in healthy fashion. (Photo: Stephen Conley | The Podium Finish)

“I feel like, you know, time management and just understanding your body really well,” Byron said earlier in a Hot Seat interview feature. “I’ve been wearing the Whoop band for a couple of years now. And that’s helped me just kind of, you know, stay on a schedule and routine with my sleep and everything.”

Along the same lines, Byron, much like his incredible discipline with racecraft and awareness, knows there’s room for improvement.

“I feel like I just feel better because of those things,” he said. “So, it’s been tough with the pandemic, you know, just figuring out ways to stay healthy and mentally healthy is the biggest thing. And yeah, I feel like I’m doing an okay job of it, but definitely could still be doing better. But I just try to keep myself motivated in different ways.”

Perhaps Byron sums up his confidence in an exact manner when asked why he remains upbeat about his chances ahead of the NASCAR Playoffs.

Live from Bristol, it's Saturday night racing. (Photo: Michael Guariglia | The Podium Finish)

Live from Bristol, it’s Saturday night racing. (Photo: Michael Guariglia | The Podium Finish)

“Oh, man, I’d say just consistency, number one,” Byron shared. “I think that we understand each other and communicate extremely well. And we don’t have breakdowns in communication. I think number three, you know, the team that we’re with, Hendrick Motorsports, and the resources and the tools that we have this year to go and win a championship.”

Bristol stands in Byron’s way between advancing into the Round of 12 or facing early elimination for a second straight year. Truthfully, Byron’s faith in his No. 24 team remains fervent given his comfort with the Hendrick ways.

Given these points, Byron knows he’s got some of the top minds and best cars to fight another day in the tenacious, competitive Cup Series.

William Byron epitomizes the late Stuart Scott's saying of "being as cool as the other side of a pillow." (Photo: Stephen Conley | The Podium Finish)

William Byron epitomizes the late Stuart Scott’s saying of “being as cool as the other side of a pillow.” (Photo: Stephen Conley | The Podium Finish)

“I love the culture at Hendrick Motorsports,” Byron said. “I feel like we have a really good culture. We’re honest with each other and are motivated and have a lot of unbelievable resources from Mr. Henrdick and Jeff Gordon and Jeff Andrews. I really enjoy being there and I love racing their cars. It’s a lot of fun this year. We’ve had a lot of fun but definitely want to accomplish a lot more.”

As long as Byron, crew chief Rudy Fugle and the No. 24 team are in the fight, the possibilities remain as strong as ever for another three weeks of championship chasing.

Rob Tiongson

Rob Tiongson is a 30-something motorsports journalist who enjoys sports like baseball, basketball, football, soccer, track and field and hockey. A Boston native turned Austinite, racing was the first sport that caught his eyes.

From interviews to retrospective articles, if it's about anything with an engine and four wheels, it'll be here on TPF, by him or by one of his talented columnists who have a passion for racing.

Currently seeking a sports writing, public relations, or sports marketing career, particularly in motorsports. He enjoys editing and writing articles and features, as well as photography. Moreover, he enjoys time with his family and friends, traveling, cooking, working out and being a fun uncle or "funcle" to his nephew, niece and cat.

Tiongson, a graduate of Southern New Hampshire University with a Bachelor of Arts in Communication, pursues his Master of Arts in Digital Communications at St. Bonaventure University. Indeed, while Tiongson is proud to be from Massachusetts, he's just as happy to be a Texan.

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