Hendrick 'blown away' by NASCAR Cup signing Byron's junior success

Hendrick Motorsports team owner Rick Hendrick says he was "blown away" by new NASCAR Cup signing William Byron's junior racing success

Hendrick 'blown away' by NASCAR Cup signing Byron's junior success

Byron, who has not raced in NASCAR's top tier, will replace the outgoing Kasey Kahne, after a deal was formally announced by Hendrick on Wednesday.

He will complete the team's four-car line-up alongside Jimmie Johnson, Chase Elliott and Alex Bowman, who will take over the seat vacated by Dale Earnhardt Jr when the veteran retires.

Hendrick said Byron's rise through NASCAR's second- and third-tier Xfinity and Truck series convinced him to take a chance on the teenager.

Byron was in contention for the Truck title last year before an engine failure in the penultimate race ended his chances, and he is currently second in the Xfinity standings this season with three wins.

"The thing that impressed me so much with William was his ability to win so many races in the truck series — becoming the youngest guy to win," said Hendrick.

"Then you look at the job he's done in Xfinity this year, becoming the youngest winner at Indy, how he goes to the front so quick, how he picks up on things.

"He's fast and that speaks volumes for his talent in the car."

Byron claimed his first title in 2015 by winning NASCAR's regional K&N Pro Series East while studying.

Hedrick, who signed Byron last year during his Truck campaign, said that commitment had marked the 19-year-old out as a talent.

"[In] his last year as a senior at Country Day, he won the K&N Series, he was an honour student, was taking college courses and he became an eagle scout," said Hendrick.

"When you do all that and fit it into here and excel in every area, that takes tremendous commitment, drive and determination.

"We've seen he's got the talent, but his character is unbelievable. He's very, very bright.

"He's spends all his time studying or iRacing or in a simulator or a race car.

"His rapid rate of success has blown us all away."

Hendrick has not ruled out the possibility of giving Byron additional seat time in a Cup car later this year.

Byron insisted he was not intimidated about stepping up to the main series.

"It's going to be a test and you're going to have to match that intensity," Byron said.

"I've got a real a golden opportunity here at Hendrick Motorsports.

"It's going to be challenging at times. But I know that and I'm prepared for that."

Kahne's future is less clear, after Hendrick dropped the 37-year-old with a year remaining on his contract.

He could find salvation in the form of GMS Racing, but that is dependant on the outfit moving up to the Cup series next year.

GMS has helds talks regarding a technical alliance with Hendrick for 2018.

shares
comments
William Byron to replace Kasey Kahne in 2018 Hendrick NASCAR team

Previous article

William Byron to replace Kasey Kahne in 2018 Hendrick NASCAR team

Next article

Chevrolet reveals new Camaro ZL1 for 2018 NASCAR Cup season

Chevrolet reveals new Camaro ZL1 for 2018 NASCAR Cup season
Load comments
How NASCAR is gearing up for its "biggest change" in 2022 Plus

How NASCAR is gearing up for its "biggest change" in 2022

It’s not just Formula 1 that’s set for upheaval in 2022, as the NASCAR Cup Series adopts its Next Gen cars that will cast any in-built advantages aside and require teams to adopt a totally new way of operating. Far more than just a change of machinery, the new cars amount to a shift in NASCAR's core philosophy

NASCAR
Oct 12, 2021
Why Bubba Wallace’s Talladega win is such a big moment for NASCAR Plus

Why Bubba Wallace’s Talladega win is such a big moment for NASCAR

Bubba Wallace claimed his maiden NASCAR Cup Series at Talladega on Monday to become the first Black victor in the category since Wendell Scott in 1963. Both Wallace and Scott had faced obstacles and racism in their paths to their breakthrough wins, and NASCAR is trying to put it right with its range of diversity programmes

NASCAR
Oct 5, 2021
Why NASCAR's most resilient driver has landed on his feet at 23XI Plus

Why NASCAR's most resilient driver has landed on his feet at 23XI

In a career that has had many ups and downs, Kurt Busch has been written off many times before. But facing career uncertainty after the sale of Chip Ganassi's NASCAR team, the 2004 Cup champion has found a new berth at Denny Hamlin and Michael Jordan's 23XI organisation - which underlines his enduring value

NASCAR
Aug 31, 2021
The F1 nearly-man winding back the clock in NASCAR’s European cousin Plus

The F1 nearly-man winding back the clock in NASCAR’s European cousin

A multiple F3000 race winner, Marc Goossens was on the precipice of making Formula 1 in the 1990s - but a lack of budget left him without a path to the promised land. Turning to an illustrious racing career in sportscars, Goossens left the endurance circuit to try his hand at racing stock cars - and now calls the NASCAR Euro Series home

NASCAR
Jul 1, 2021
Why a British prospect is trying to make it in NASCAR Plus

Why a British prospect is trying to make it in NASCAR

There has never been a full-time British driver in the NASCAR Cup. But Alex Sedgwick, who is rising through the stock car ranks, wants that to change and could be a trailblazer for European talents to reach the top echelons of the NASCAR ladder

NASCAR
Feb 28, 2021
How Earnhardt’s death changed American motorsport Plus

How Earnhardt’s death changed American motorsport

It's 20 years since legendary driver Dale Earnhardt Sr died at the Daytona 500, but the legacy of his crash continues today through the pioneering safety work done by NASCAR

NASCAR
Feb 18, 2021
The NASCAR subplots to keep an eye on in 2021 Plus

The NASCAR subplots to keep an eye on in 2021

This weekend's Daytona 500 kickstarts a NASCAR Cup season that promises plenty of intrigue courtesy of new owners and a refreshed calendar. Here's what you need to know ahead of the new season

NASCAR
Feb 12, 2021
How a second-chance NASCAR ace is rebuilding his career Plus

How a second-chance NASCAR ace is rebuilding his career

From a disgraced NASCAR exile, Kyle Larson has been given a shot at redemption by the powerhouse Hendrick Motorsports squad. Replacing seven-time champion Jimmie Johnson is no easy billing, but Larson has every intention of repaying the team's faith

NASCAR
Feb 11, 2021