RACE INFO: O’Reilly Auto Parts 500 at Texas Motor Speedway | 3 p.m. ET on Sunday, March 31
HAPPY 100, WILLIAM: When the green flag drops this weekend, William Byron will hit a notable mark in his NASCAR career. The NASCAR Cup Series race at Texas Motor Speedway will signify Byron’s 100th start across all three national series. During his NASCAR career, Byron made 24 starts in the NASCAR Gander Outdoor Truck Series, winning seven races and rookie of the year honors in 2016. Progressing to the Xfinity Series in 2017, Byron continued his success, winning four races in 33 starts as well as the series championship and rookie of the year award. Byron made the jump to the Cup level in 2018, and despite a learning curve after 42 starts, Byron has collected a Daytona 500 pole, four top-10 finishes, and was named the rookie of the year for the third consecutive season in 2018.
TEXAS TRIUMPH: This weekend, Byron will return to one of the tracks where he has had the most success in his NASCAR career – Texas Motor Speedway. With two starts in each series at the 1.5-mile speedway, Byron became the youngest-ever Truck Series winner at Texas with his win in June of 2016. The Charlotte, North Carolina, native also collected his first career Cup Series top-10 finish in last year’s spring race. In fact, Byron has finished in the top 10 in 83 percent of all his Texas starts (five out of six) and has an average finish of 3.5 in Truck, 8.0 in Xfinity and 13.0 in Cup at the track. Across all three series, Byron has led a total of 41 laps at Texas, with his lap led in the spring Cup race making him the youngest driver to lead a lap at the 1.5-mile track in the Cup Series.
“I would say it’s just a bit of luck that Texas just suits me. I just like that place and it seems to like me as well.”William Byron
BYRON ON HIS SUCCESS AT TEXAS: “I don’t know, really, I haven’t really thought about it. I’ve just been there more than most of the other tracks we race at, probably. Our cars have been pretty good there for the most part, as well. I would say that it’s just really been luck of the draw with the race cars that I’ve had. In Trucks and Xfinity, we ran pretty well and I got a win. I would say it’s just a bit of luck that Texas just suits me. I just like that place and it seems to like me as well.”
KNAUS KNOWS: This weekend, No. 24 team crew chief Chad Knaus will call his 33rd Cup Series race at Texas Motor Speedway from on top of the pit box, but this will be his first at the 1.5-mile oval with Byron and the No. 24 team. In his 32 previous races, Knaus has won seven times at the “No Limits” track, with the most recent win coming in the spring race of 2017. In his career as Cup crew chief, Knaus’ seven wins at Texas Motor Speedway are his fourth-most at a track behind Dover International Speedway (11), Martinsville Speedway (nine) and Charlotte Motor Speedway (eight).
BOWMAN IN THE LONE STAR STATE: Bowman has seven starts in the NASCAR Cup Series at Texas Motor Speedway. His best finish of 13th came in 2016 in the No. 88 machine while he was filling in for Dale Earnhardt Jr. The 25-year-old’s first two poles in the NASCAR Xfinity Series came at Texas in 2013, when he led seven laps in those events. Those laps led were Bowman’s first in Xfinity Series competition. The driver of the No. 88 Chevy completed 99.8 percent of total laps in those two events.
IVES IN TEXAS: Crew chief Greg Ives will call the shots for the ninth time for the No. 88 team at Texas this weekend. The Michigan native has three top-five finishes and four top-10s at the track, with a best finish of second coming in 2016 with Earnhardt. Ives’ drivers have an average finish of 13.2 at the Fort Worth, Texas, track. From 2006-2012, Ives was a race engineer for the No. 48 Hendrick Motorsports team. During that time, he was a part of two wins, one pole award and nine top-10 finishes at Texas.
BOWMAN ON THE 2020 CUP SERIES SCHEDULE: “This is quite the change. I think this will be good. My home track race will be the season finale and I think that is great for ISM Raceway. It will be interesting to see how the race shakes out in Daytona for the regular season ending. There is always the potential for a race upset at a superspeedway, so that will make things exciting.”
HENDRICK MOTORSPORTS AT TEXAS: Hendrick Motorsports has earned nine wins, 37 top-five finishes, 68 top-10s, six pole positions and 2,299 laps led at Texas Motor Speedway. Jimmie Johnson most recently visited Victory Lane at the track for the organization in April 2017. The organization owns six wins in the last 13 races at Texas, the most among all teams, with Johnson winning four of the last nine.