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      Coming off milestone win, Charlotte 600 next up for No. 24 team and William Byron

      © 2022 Nigel Kinrade / NKP

      Coca-Cola 600
      Charlotte Motor Speedway
      Sunday, May 26 | 6 p.m. ET

      24 POWER: At the midway point of the 2023 NASCAR Cup Series regular season, William Byron and the No. 24 team are asserting their position as frontrunners. In 13 races, Byron has secured two pole awards, six top-five finishes – surpassing his total from the entire 2022 season – seven top 10s and 596 laps led, compared to the 746 laps he led in all of 2022. He ranks first in the following statistical categories: Wins (three), laps led (596), laps run in the top five (1,787), stage wins (six) and top-five finishes (six). The Charlotte, North Carolina, native also holds the second-best average running position this season (8.20) – one of only two drivers to have a top-10 average running position. In the last five races, he has accumulated the most points (194) and is on a run of four consecutive top-10 finishes – the longest active streak in the field. 

      THAT NO. 1 FEELING: Byron has gotten off to an impressive start this season, collecting his third win, which is the most in a single Cup Series season for the 25-year-old driver. In fact, he now has five wins in the Next Gen car – tied for the most with three other drivers including Hendrick Motorsports teammates Kyle Larson and Chase Elliott. Byron has collected six wins since the start of 2021, which has him tied for the third-most behind Larson (15) and Elliott (7).

      1.5-MILE MOMENTUM: Byron is no stranger to success on traditional 1.5-mile tracks during his Cup Series career. Since the start of the 2021 season, he has two wins, one runner-up finish, six top-fives and 12 top 10s on that track type. This season on 1.5-mile tracks, he has recorded one win and two top-five finishes (a win at Las Vegas Motor Speedway and third at Kansas Speedway). Since the start of 2022, he has collected 328 points on this style of track which ranks third.

      HOME SWEET HOME: Cutting his teeth in the racing world in Charlotte, North Carolina, Byron is one of only a handful of drivers who was born and raised in the “home of NASCAR.” After visiting U.S. Legend Cars International headquarters in Harrisburg, North Carolina, with his father in 2012, Byron found himself behind the wheel for the first time the next year competing in the Young Lions Division. Winning 33 of the 69 legend car events he ran across the United States in 2013, Byron went on to lock up the U.S. Legend Car Young Lions National championship and the Thursday Thunder Young Lions championship at Atlanta Motor Speedway. Progressing to the Legend Car Pro Division the next season, Byron also signed with JR Motorsports developmental program. From that point on, he hasn’t slowed down any as he climbed the racing ranks before ultimately making it to the top level of NASCAR as a Cup Series rookie in 2018.

      CUE CHARLOTTE: In his Cup Series career, Byron has six starts at Charlotte Motor Speedway’s 1.5-mile oval, five of which have come in the Coca-Cola 600 on Memorial Day weekend. In just his second start at the Charlotte oval in 2019, he became the youngest pole sitter for the 600 at the age of 21 years, 5 months, and 24 days. Among his six starts, Byron has two pole awards, one top-five finish and two top 10s with 62 laps led at his hometown track, including a track-best finish of fourth in the 2021 600-mile event. He is currently on a three-race run of laps led at the oval – tied for the second-longest streak. Other than his six Cup Series starts at Charlotte, the 25-year-old driver has two NASCAR Xfinity Series starts as well as one NASCAR CRAFTSMAN Truck Series start at this layout.

      RUDY RUNS CLT: Sunday will mark crew chief Rudy Fugle’s third time on top of the pit box for the Coca-Cola 600. In his two starts at the Charlotte oval, he has two top-five starting positions with one top-five finish. Apart from his two Cup Series starts, Fugle has 10 other national starts at the Charlotte oval on his résumé, with eight of those coming in the Truck Series. The Livonia, New York, native has collected two wins (2013 and 2019), one pole award, four top-five finishes and six top 10s. His Truck Series drivers completed all of the laps (1,077) in those eight Charlotte starts, with 310 circuits led. One of those eight starts came with Byron in 2016, when the duo started at the front and led 25 laps en route to a 10th-place finish.

      PIT ROAD PROWESS: The No. 24 pit crew has been strong on pit road with an average four-tire pit stop time of 11.128 seconds – the second-fastest average in the field. 

      BYRON ON WHAT CHARLOTTE MEANS TO HIM: “This is one of my favorite races of the season. Not only are we racing at home, but it’s my home track. I usually have family here and the race just has so much history behind it. I remember going to Charlotte as a kid to watch races and how memorable the weekend was. Not only that, but it’s literally right by the shop, so I know winning at Charlotte is a big deal to Mr. Hendrick and all of Hendrick Motorsports. Hopefully, we keep up the good runs we’ve been having this year and can add another one on Sunday.”

      FUGLE TALKS THE DIFFICULTIES OF RACING AT CHARLOTTE: “Charlotte is kind of a track that it’s in the middle on tire fall off. It’s not as abrasive as the last couple of tracks we’ve raced at but it has a lot of character and a lot of bumps. There’s big, huge load bumps in turn one. In turns three and four, there’s some washboard-like bumps. That makes it difficult to get the shock package right and the spring package right. Depending on tire fall off and track position on Sunday, you may see the top lane work in but the middle lane should prevail to be the quickest way around.”

      © 2023 Danny Hansen / NKP


      CLOSING IN ON 300: William Byron’s victory at Darlington Raceway leaves Hendrick Motorsports just four points-paying victories away from 300 wins in the NASCAR Cup Series. Twenty drivers have combined to reach the organization’s current total of 296 wins, which is the most in the sport by any one team. With five wins this season, Hendrick Motorsports has posted its 36th multi-win season in the Cup Series, while maintaining its streak of at least two victories per season for the past 30 years.

      600 MILES OF REMEMBRANCE: The Memorial Day weekend race at Charlotte Motor Speedway remembers the men and women who gave their lives in service while defending the United States of America. Fallen service members will be honored as one name will be on the windshield of every Cup Series car.

      BLACKJACK: Hendrick Motorsports has 21 wins at Charlotte, which are tied for the third-most Cup Series victories at any one particular track by an organization. The team also holds the top-two spots on this list with its win totals at Martinsville Speedway (28) and Dover Motor Speedway (22).

      ENDURING STRENGTH: The 600-mile race at Charlotte is a test of everything – machine, pit crew and driver. The longest race on the Cup Series schedule has been won a record 12 times by Hendrick Motorsports – that’s more than the second- and third-place teams on the list combined (11).

      DEEP SIX: Six drivers have won the Coca-Cola 600 in the team’s history. Jimmie Johnson’s four wins (2003, 2004, 2005 and 2014) are part of his track-best eight wins on the oval. Next on the list is Jeff Gordon with three wins (1994, 1997 and 1998). Darrell Waltrip was the first Hendrick Motorsports driver to win this prestigious event and he won it in back-to-back years (1988 and 1989). Casey Mears (2007), Kasey Kahne (2012) and Kyle Larson (2021) each have one win.

      HISTORICAL HIGHS: In the 2021 edition of the Coca-Cola 600, Hendrick Motorsports earned its 269th NASCAR Cup Series win, passing Petty Enterprises to become the all-time winningest team in Cup Series history. All four Hendrick Motorsports cars placed in the top five, marking the first time in the history of the Memorial Day weekend event that a team had four drivers finish in the top five. Larson and Chase Elliott’s one-two finish was one of four instances that teammates have finished in the top two in this race.

      OUT IN FRONT: In 2023, Hendrick Motorsports has led the most laps with 1,262 circuits out front, which equals out to 36% of the laps raced. That total is the eighth-most all-time by the team through 13 races. The team has led laps in all but one race this season (Atlanta Motor Speedway in March). Byron (596) and Larson (582) rank one-two in that statistical category.

      TAKING THE STAGE: With nine stage wins this season, the Concord, North Carolina, based team is tied for the third-most all-time through 13 races. Byron leads the series with six, which is also the second-most at this point in the season in the stage racing era (start of the 2017 season). Larson has tallied two stage wins, while Elliott has one.

      NEXT GEN NUMBERS: In the Next Gen era (start of the 2022 season), Hendrick Motorsports has the most wins at traditional 1.5-mile tracks with three. Alex Bowman won at Las Vegas Motor Speedway in March 2022, Larson triumphed at Homestead-Miami Speedway in October 2022 and Byron took the victory at Las Vegas in March 2023. Both Larson and Byron swept the stages in their wins.

      PODIUM PLACEMENT: In four races this season, the 14-time Cup Series championship-winning organization has placed at least two drivers in the top-three finishing positions. In fact, they are the only organization to accomplish that at all this season. Darlington was the latest occurrence with Byron winning and Elliott placing third. This achievement also happened at Kansas Speedway (Larson was second and Byron was third), Richmond Raceway (Larson won the race and Josh Berry was second) and Las Vegas (Byron, Larson and Bowman placed one-two-three).

      Via Hendrick Motorsports