MOORESVILLE, N.C. (Feb. 16, 2016) – William Byron will kick off his rookie season in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series (NCWTS) Friday night under the lights at Daytona (Fla.) International Speedway in the NextEra Energy Resources 250. After winning the NASCAR K&N Series East championship in 2015, Byron joined another championship team, Kyle Busch Motorsports to further his racing success. Byron will drive the No. 9 Liberty University Tundra full time in 2016 while competing not only for the Sunoco Rookie of the Year championship, but also the series championship under the new Chase format.
Byron made his debut at Daytona last weekend in the ARCA Racing Series. Driving for Venturini Motorsports, Byron qualified second and finished second in the very first restrictor-plate race of his short driving career. Byron was able to run up front much of the race, but pit strategy shuffled him back in the field mid-race. With patience and skill, he was able to work his way through the draft back to the front of the field for a podium finish. The strong finish helped him earn approval from NASCAR to compete at Daytona again Friday night in the NCWTS race.
This season Byron will have the benefit of working with the 2015 NCWTS championship team led by crew chief Rudy Fugle. Ten members of this year’s No. 9 Tundra team were a part of last year’s No. 4 Tundra team with Erik Jones, which collected three wins, five poles, 925 laps led, 11 top-five and 20 top-10 finishes across 23 starts last season and captured the 2015 NCWTS Driver’s and Owner’s Championship.
Racing is not the only thing on Byron’s plate. He is currently in his senior year at Charlotte (N.C.) Country Day and is taking college courses online through Liberty University Online Academy. Once he graduates from high school in the spring, his plan is to pursue a business degree at Liberty while advancing his racing career. More than 13,500 students attend classes on Liberty’s campus in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Lynchburg, Va., and more than 95,000 students are enrolled in Liberty’s online program.
While being a full-time NASCAR driver in addition to being a full-time student may seem challenging for most, Byron plans to remain an honor-roll student at school and lead the rookie driver class of 2016.
William Byron, Driver of the No. 9 NCWTS Liberty University Tundra:
What are your thoughts on the new Chase format for the Truck Series?
“I think the new Chase format is a great thing for me because it gives me time to experiment and learn before I get to the final seven races. The early part of the season will be a learning curve, especially going to new tracks where I haven’t raced before, but by the end of the season hopefully we will be in a position to compete for a championship.”
How much did the ARCA race last weekend help prepare you for the truck race at Daytona?
“The ARCA race helped me learn the draft and experience Daytona for the first time. Restrictor-plate racing is entirely new to me, so it was great experience. I know racing the trucks will be very different because of the aerodynamics, but getting experience in the draft will be very helpful when I get on track in my Liberty University Tundra Thursday afternoon.”
What do you think will be your biggest challenge running the full NCWTS schedule?
“I think the biggest challenge will be going to a variety of different race tracks each week. But honestly, I’m so ready to run a full season and I can’t wait to see what we can accomplish. Having Rudy (Fugle, crew chief) and Kyle Busch to ask for advice will definitely help me throughout the year.”
Rudy Fugle, Crew Chief of the No. 9 NCWTS Liberty University Tundra:
How will the new Chase format benefit William?
“The format is going to be perfect for us. It makes the first half of the year less stressful because William can spend time learning in the seat. I think it will help him take less chances and bring home good finishes when he might have made a mistake trying to finish fifth when he should have finished eighth. You live and you learn for the next week and it’s all about being in the top eight in the points, or getting a win to get in the Chase. I definitely think by the time we get five or six races under our belts he’ll be ready to win races, not right away. That experience we can gain at the beginning the year will get him rolling.”
William Byron’s No. 9 Liberty University Tundra:
KBM-013: The No. 9 Liberty University team will race KBM-013, for Friday’s NextEra Energy 250 at Daytona International Speedway. Kyle Busch won with this Tundra at Daytona in 2014, while Erik Jones drove it to a second-place finish in last year’s season opener.
KBM-013 Performance Profile
|Totals||6 starts, 1 Win||7.0||10.3||33|
Notes of Interest:
William Byron 2015:
- Made first career NASCAR Camping World Series start at Phoenix International Raceway in November
- Captured the 2015 NASCAR K&N Pro Series East Championship and Rookie of the Year honors after producing four wins, three poles, 740 laps led, five top-five and 11 top-10 finishes across 14 starts
- Picked up a victory at Greenville (S.C.) Pickens Speedway in just his second career K&N Pro Series East start, earned the championship lead after a runner-up finish at Bristol (Tenn.) Motor Speedway in the third race of the season and stayed at the top of the standings for the remainder of the season
- Made two ARCA Racing Series starts where he led a race-high 120 laps in his series debut at Lucas Oil Raceway at Indianapolis before settling for a runner-up finish when the race was decided by tire strategy. Also won the pole at Kentucky Speedway
- Earned a victory at Hickory (N.C.) Motor Speedway in the CARS Super Late Model Tour and finished second at Motor Mile Speedway in Radford, Va.
- Finished fifth in the K&N Pro Series West race on the road course at Sonoma (Calif.) Raceway in June
|Series||Races||Win||Top 5||Top 10||Pole||Laps||Led||AvSt||AvFn|
|CARS Super LM||3||1||3||3||0||400||156||5.3||2.3|
William Byron 2014
- Named the N.C. NASCAR Whelen All-American Series Late Model Rookie of the Year with seven poles, 10 podium finishes and 15 top-five finishes in 30 starts
- Finished second in the overall Late Model standings at Hickory (N.C.) Motor Speedway
- Competed in his first Pro Late Model race at South Alabama Speedway in Kinston. He started and finished second
- Earned a top-10 finish in his first All-American 400 Pro Late Model event at Fairgrounds Speedway in Nashville, Tenn.
- Won six of six races at Winter Nationals in Auburndale, Fla., and crowned Pro Legend Champion
- Charlotte (N.C.) Motor Speedway Winter Heat Series Champion in the Legend Car Pro division
- Two wins and seven podium finishes in Charlotte’s Summer Shootout Series Legend Car Pro division
William Byron 2013
- Competed in the U.S. Legend Car Young Lion Division where he earned 33 wins, 59 top-five and 64 top-10 finishes in 69 starts to become the U.S. Legend Champion
- Won first-career feature at Concord (N.C.) Speedway
- Won pole and feature at Caraway (N.C.) Speedway – first time on a track over a quarter mile
- Won Legends All-Star Race at Charlotte Motor Speedway
- Atlanta (Ga.) Motor Speedway Thursday Thunder Champion
- Won Legends Stock 2013 at Bethel (N.Y.) Motor Speedway
- Won U.S. Legends Race of Champions at Lake Erie (Pa.) Speedway
Kyle Busch Motorsports’ No. 9 Tundra:
- The No. 9 team will be using the Owner’s points earned by the No. 4 Tundra team last season
- Ten members of this year’s No. 9 Tundra team were a part of last year’s No. 4 Tundra team which collected three wins, five poles, 925 laps led, 11 top-five and 20 top-10 finishes across 23 starts last season and captured the 2015 NCWTS Driver’s and Owner’s Championship
KBM NCWTS Program
- Has collected one NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Driver’s Championship, four Owner’s Championships, 45 Truck Series victories and 24 poles across 271 starts since originating in 2010
- 45 career Truck Series victories as an organization ranks second all-time behind Roush Fenway (50)
- 14 victories as an organization during the 2014 season broke the Truck Series record of 12 set by Ultra Motorsports in 2001
- Seven different drivers have won a race for KBM, led by owner-driver Kyle Busch with 28. Erik Jones has collected seven victories, Darrell Wallace Jr., has five wins, Denny Hamlin produced two victories and Christopher Bell, Kasey Kahne and Brian Scott all collected one triumph
- Has collected victories at 20 of the 21 tracks on the 2015 schedule, excluding Atlanta Motor Speedway
KBM NCWTS @ Daytona International Speedway
- KBM drivers have collected one win, 42 laps led, four top-five and five top-10 finishes resulting in an average finish of 15.2 across 12 starts at Daytona
- Owner-driver Kyle Busch picked up the team’s lone victory at the 2.5-mile tri-oval in dramatic fashion in the 2014 season opener, finishing .016 seconds ahead of fellow Toyota competitor Timothy Peters
The Fugle File:
Fugle begins his third season as a crew chief at KBM and fifth overall with the team. Under his tutelage last season, Erik Jones posted three wins, five poles, 925 laps led, 11 top-five and 20 top-10 finishes en route to becoming the youngest champion in Truck Series history and the first driver to collect both the Rookie of the Year and the series title in the same year. The duo also nabbed KBM its record-breaking fourth Truck Series Owner’s championship last season, which was the second with Fugle calling the shots. In 2013, he led KBM’s No. 51 Tundra team to a series-leading six wins and an Owner’s Championship. The New York native’s Truck Series drivers have totaled nine wins, six poles, 21 top-five and 35 top-10 finishes across his 44 races atop the pit box for KBM.
Fugle has one top-five finish as a crew chief in two starts at Daytona. Erik Jones placed second last year in an exciting finish with Fugle atop the pit box.