Before taking on the Charlotte Motor Speedway road course this weekend, William Byron took some time to answer questions from fans on NASCAR Reddit…
What are you doing this week to help you manage the stress of this week being the last in round 1?
William Byron: Just trying to make the week as long as possible to make sure we have enough time to prepare. Getting the right amount of rest, preparing at the karting track, etc. Trying to do everything I can to be prepared so when I show up on Friday I have no doubt about what I’m going to do.
What was your feeling when you met Rick Hendrick and found out he was interested in your driving career?
WB: I was pretty starstruck. He was the first person I met that I was starstruck by. I grew up watching his teams and him and the relationship he had with his drivers was really close. When we first met it wasn’t like I knew I would drive for him – it was really casual. Two years later I got a call from him (July 2016) that I had an opportunity to race with the team.
What is your favorite and least favorite part about working with Chad?
WB: Favorite part is that he is organized and he holds the whole team accountable. Everyone is really focused. The worst part is that sometimes it’s hard for him to accept what’s going on in the moment if it’s not the very best. Sometimes we have to take a step back and regroup and refocus and make sure we’re staying the course.
Favorite paint scheme you’ve ever run? Go!
What are your favorite race tracks on the circuit?
WB: I like Dover the most. Charlotte for the 600 is cool and it’s my home track. Phoenix as well – I had the most success there in the lower levels.
As we all know, your iRacing experience/success played a big role in getting you to where you are today. Do you still use iRacing to prepare for races, and if so, how does that help you with setups and adjustments for when you actually get in the car?
WB: I do. The interesting thing about iRacing for me now that I am racing all the time on the weekends is that its harder to find the time. But when I do find the time, I find I have to get really immersed in it to get up to speed and be at the level of competition I need to be. Sometimes I’ll race 2-3 nights a week and it’s really fun. I feel like it’s good once I get the feel for it again. If I just go on for one race a week I get frustrated because I don’t get the feel for it – it’s different from sitting in the car.
Is there one track in particular you have run this year where you have noticed a significant improvement from running there last year, and why would you say the performance improved?
WB: Las Vegas. When I went there last year I struggled for whatever reason and this year was just easier to go faster and I felt like I was in the mix. Last year I wasn’t even in the mix (laughs).
What is your favorite part about racing at the Cup level so far?
WB: The intensity of it. It’s cool to know you’re racing against the best guys in the world in stock cars. Everyone you race against is really good so there are no easy passes.
Who has been the biggest mentor for you since going to the Cup series?
WB: There’s been little tidbits from a bunch of different people. Max Papis has always been a mentor for me off the track. Kevin Harvick. Jimmie Johnson and he is still a good resource. And honestly, I have to just learn for myself. Everything everyone says makes sense but you have to go out there and do it. There’s no one way to learn something from someone.
If you had to describe your driving style by comparing it to other drivers, who would you compare yourself to?
WB: That’s a tough one! I think probably my teammates because we drive the same cars and you have to adapt to each other. Maybe Jimmie?
What’s your favorite sport to watch and play besides NASCAR?
WB: I really like the Olympic sports. I like watching snowboarding and swimming especially. It’s such a short competition and so much pressure – it’s really fun to watch.