NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series Overview:
Event: Weather Guard Truck Race on Dirt, Race 6 of 23, 150 Laps – 40/50/60; 75 Miles
Date/Broadcast: April 8, 2023, at 8 p.m. ET on FS1, MRN and SiriusXM NASCAR 90
The Beat on Byron:
- William Byron makes his KBM return behind the wheel of the No. 51 Silverado Saturday in his first event on his three-race schedule in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series this season. Byron collected a Truck-Series leading seven victories and 727 laps led driving for KBM in 2016. He earned Sunoco Rookie of the Year honors that season and led the No. 9 team to an owner’s championship with his victory at Homestead-Miami Speedway. The North Carolina native returned to victory lane in the Truck Series last year leading a race-high 94 laps for Spire Motorsports in the HendrickCars.com Silverado at Martinsville Speedway. Across 26 career starts in NASCAR’s Truck Series, the 25-year-old driver has totaled eight wins, three poles, 821 laps led, 12 top-five and 17 top-10 finishes resulting in an average finish of 10.7.
- HendrickCars.com, the online home for everything Hendrick Automotive Group, will be the primary sponsor on Byron’s Silverado for his three-race schedule. The Ricky Hendrick tribute scheme will also adorn the No. 51 for the races at Darlington Raceway May 12 and North Wilkesboro Speedway May 20. All three races on Byron’s schedule will mark his first starts in the Truck Series at the respective venues. Across two starts in the Cup Series on the dirt at Bristol, Byron has compiled and average finish of 12.0, with a best result of sixth coming in last year’s race. His lone Truck Series race on dirt came with KBM at Eldora Speedway where he finished ninth.
- Byron, who collected KBM’s Truck Series record-breaking 51st victory at Kentucky Speedway in 2016 can etch his mark in the KBM historical archives again this weekend as he looks to collect the organization’s 100th NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series victory. KBM-owner driver Kyle Busch collected KBM’s record-extending 99th-career victory with his dominant victory at Las Vegas Motor Speedway in March leaving his organization one shy of the century mark. Overall, 18 different drivers have won at least race behind the wheel of a KBM truck, led by Busch’s 47. Four drivers rank second on the list with seven victories: Byron, Christopher Bell, Erik Jones and John Hunter Nemechek. KBM has collected three of those victories on dirt, most recently with Martin Truex Jr. at Bristol in 2021. Bubba Wallace (2014) and Bell (2015) each scored victories at Eldora Speedway.
- Veteran crew chief Brian Pattie will call the shots for the No. 51 team this year in his first season at KBM after spending the last 14 seasons atop the pit box in the NASCAR Cup Series. It took the veteran signal caller just two races to get his first win at KBM, winning with KBM owner-driver Kyle Busch at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. In the Cup Series, his drivers produced six wins, nine poles, 57 top-five and 131 top-10 finishes across 528 starts. In 2012, he guided Clint Bowyer to three victories and a runner-up finish in the Cup Series championship standings. In 2017, he guided Ricky Stenhouse Jr. to two wins and a berth in the playoffs. The Florida native has also recorded 11 wins in the NASCAR Xfinity Series, and he now has two wins as a crew chief in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series. This will be Pattie’s first time atop the pit box for a Truck Series event on the dirt at Bristol. He has two Cup Series starts, including a second-place finish with Ricky Stenhouse Jr. in 2021.
- The No. 51 team currently ranks fifth in the Craftsman Truck Series owner’s point standings after five races. Across five starts in 2023, the team has recorded one win, one pole, 98 laps led, two top-five and four top-10 finishes resulting in an average finish of 9.8. Owner-driver Kyle Busch will return to the No. 51 at Martinsville Speedway April 14.
William Byron, Driver Q&A:
Are you looking forward to getting back in a KBM truck for three races?
“I’m looking forward it. Seeing how fast the trucks have been makes me excited to get in them. The tracks that we picked are ones that I really work on and get better, with the exception of Darlington, which is one that I just really, really love racing there.”
Do you feel the racing you’ve done outside of the Cup Series in recent years has helped contribute to your success in the Cup Series?
“Yeah – I think it gives me something to do and work towards during the weekend and not just be solely focused on the cup car. I can just kind of learn things here and there from the different vehicles I get into, and I feel like it makes me better when I get into the Cup car because I have more knowledge. Always kind of learning as a driver and I feel like it helps being able to race more.”
You scored KBM’s record-breaking 51st victory in 2016. How cool would it be to get the 100th win for them?
“It would be awesome. Dirt is not my forte but certainly with these guys I think we can hopefully go out and get a win. We’ll play it by ear how the weekend goes, but hopefully we can get there by the end.”
William Byron Career Highlights:
- With his series leading two wins across the first seven races, Byron now has six career NASCAR Cup Series victories. In 2022, he finished a career-best sixth in the Cup Series championship standings and ranked third in the series with 746 laps led. Across 187 career Cup Series starts he has totaled nine poles, 1990 laps led, 29 top-five and 65 top-10 finishes.
- Byron captured an Xfinity Series championship and Rookie of the Year Honors for Jr. Motorsports in 2017 after totaling four wins, two poles, 262 laps led, 12 top-five and 22 top-10 finishes.
- The North Carolina native has totaled eight wins, three poles, 821 laps led, 12 top-five and 17 top-10 finishes resulting in an average finish of 10.7 across 26 career Truck Series starts.
- Won the 2015 NASCAR K&N Pro Series East title after registering four wins, three poles, five top-five and 11 top-10 finishes across 14 events.
William Byron’s No. 51 HendrickCars.com Silverado RST:
KBM-12: The No. 51 HendrickCars.com team will unload KBM-12 for Saturday’s race on the dirt at Bristol. Martin Truex Jr. piloted this truck to a dominant victory at the Bristol dirt in the 2021 race when he led 105 of 150 laps en route to his first career Truck Series triumph. Buddy Kofoid drove this chassis in the two dirt races last season, producing a best result of 11th at Knoxville Raceway. On pavement, this truck has one victory, which came with Erik Jones at Iowa Speedway in July of 2014.
KBM-12 Performance Profile:
|Starts||Wins||Average Start||Average Finish||Laps Led|
KBM Notes of Interest:
- KBM drivers has scored three wins, one pole, 495 laps led, 10 top-five and 17 top-10 finishes resulting in an average finish of 12.7 across 32 career starts on dirt tracks. Martin Truex Jr. won the inaugural race on the dirt at Bristol Motor Speedway in 2021, while Bubba Wallace (2014) and Christopher Bell (2015) each scored victories at Eldora Speedway.
- With his victory at Atlanta (Ga.) Motor Speedway last year, Corey Heim became the 18th different driver to win a Truck Series event for KBM. In addition to collecting a series-record seven Owner’s Championships, the organization has produced two championship-winning drivers: Erik Jones (2015) and Christopher Bell (2017).
- With 40 victories, the No. 51 is the winningest number in KBM’s Truck Series fleet.