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      William Byron aims for fourth straight top-10 finish as Axalta throwback takes on Darlington

      Goodyear 400
      Darlington Raceway
      Sunday, May 14 | 3 p.m. ET

      24 POWER: Byron and the No. 24 team continue to be one of the front runners during the 2023 NASCAR Cup Series season. So far this year, he is tied with two other drivers, including Hendrick Motorsports teammate Kyle Larson, for the most wins in the series (two). Byron ranks first in laps led (589), laps run in the top five (1,531) and is tied with three other drivers (including Larson) for the most top-five finishes (five). He also ranks fourth in laps run in the top 10 (1,991). The Charlotte, North Carolina, native holds the second-best average running position this season (9.66) – one of only two drivers to have a top-10 average running position.

      KANSAS KAN-DO: William Byron captured the pole on Saturday and led the opening two laps at Kansas Speedway. However, the handling of his No. 24 Chevy swung loose, forcing him into the wall and causing rear-end damage. A pit road speeding penalty and further damage led to him going three laps down. After making repairs and using strategy, the No. 24 team was able to reclaim all of their laps, making it back on the lead lap before the end of stage two. Byron regained the lead on lap 213. Continuing to run up front through the remainder of the race, he ultimately crossed the finish line in third – his third consecutive top-10 finish which is the longest active streak by any driver.

      DARLINGTON DEETS: Entering Sunday’s race with nine previous Cup Series starts at Darlington Raceway, Byron is looking to capitalize on his previously strong showings and continuing to have a little luck along the way. Despite running well in most of his Darlington starts, his results do not accurately represent the strength he has shown. Byron has a track-best finish of fourth (September 2021) among his two top-five finishes and three top 10s. In this race last year, Byron was leading with two laps to go before being moved out of the way and ultimately finishing 13th.

      THE FUGLE FILES: When the Cup Series returns to Darlington, it will mark the fifth trip to the South Carolina track for crew chief Rudy Fugle at the top level of NASCAR. In his past four Cup Series starts, Fugle has collected one top-five finish, two top 10s and 74 laps led. Prior to his Cup Series career, Fugle had only three previous starts at Darlington – two in the NASCAR CRAFTSMAN Truck Series and one in the NASCAR Xfinity Series.

      THROWIN’ IT BACK: For this weekend’s historic race at the 1.366-mile track, Axalta unveiled Byron’s No. 24 Chevrolet for this weekend’s throwback event last month. Paying tribute to Jeff Gordon, the No. 24 Axalta Chevy dons the iconic Chromalusion paint scheme that Gordon ran during the 1998 All-Star Race. That season, Gordon won 13 points-paying races and seven pole awards en route to his third Cup Series championship. That car also recognized NASCAR’s 50th anniversary. Similarly, Byron’s will sport the 75th anniversary logo.

      DOUBLE UP: In addition to his full-time driving duties in the Cup Series behind the wheel of the No. 24 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1, Byron will also compete in the Truck Series race this weekend with Kyle Busch Motorsports (KBM) at Darlington. This is the third time Byron has pulled double duty in 2023 and will mark his second Truck Series start of the season. Byron is returning to the team that he got his NASCAR national series start in and will run the No. 51 HendrickCars.com Chevrolet Silverado on Friday. With KBM, Byron has 25 starts, winning an unprecedented seven race wins en route to collecting rookie of the year honors and narrowly missing the Championship 4 race in 2016.

      PIT ROAD PROWESS: Through 12 races, the No. 24 pit crew tops the board with the fastest average four-tire pit stop time of 11.227 seconds. They also had the fastest four-tire pit stop in the season opener at Daytona International Speedway at 11.278 seconds.

      BYRON BREAKS DOWN WEEKEND: “Darlington is one of the tracks I really like racing at. You have to manage tires throughout a run because the surface is so old and really uses tires up. We had a hot slick surface last weekend to race on and had a couple tires ‘slip’ because of it. This weekend will be similar in that situation but you really have to manage them throughout the entire run as well. You can’t go too hard early on because you’ll fall off too much in the end. I think running the truck race on Friday will help with that as well. It will help me get up to speed on what the track characteristics are like since we were there last fall.”

      FUGLE TALKS DARLINGTON: “You have two completely different ends to Darlington. (Turns) one and two you will run a lot of throttle and you’ll be pretty close to the wall. Going into (turn) three you’re going to have to stomp on the brakes, and you can get fairly low or you can rip the wall, but just know you’ll get loose at that end of the track if you do. It makes for a heck of a race. It’s one of those races that you don’t get the full experience unless you watch it in person. If you could get down there and sit in turn four to see how sideways the cars are, you’ll see how crazy it is to drive those things.”



      CLOSING IN ON 300: Hendrick Motorsports is five points-paying victories away from 300 wins in the NASCAR Cup Series. Twenty drivers have combined to reach the organization’s current total of 295 wins, which is the most in the sport by any one team. With four wins this season, Hendrick Motorsports has posted its 36th multi-win season in the Cup Series. The organization has won at least two races in each of the last 30 seasons.

      THE BEST 75: In honor of NASCAR’s 75th anniversary season, Darlington Raceway will recognize the sport’s 75 Greatest Drivers during the throwback weekend. Among those honored are current drivers Chase Elliott and Kyle Larson. To learn more about those being honored with ties to the 14-time championship-winning squad, click here.

      ON TOP AT DARLINGTON: The company’s 14 wins at the South Carolina track are the most all-time by a team. NASCAR Hall of Famer Jeff Gordon’s seven wins account for half of the total. Jimmie Johnson posted three wins at the 1.366-mile track, including the organization’s 200th Cup Series win in 2012. Terry Labonte, Mark Martin, Tim Richmond and Ricky Rudd each tallied one trip to victory lane at the track “Too Tough to Tame.”

      SPRING REVIEW: In last year’s spring race at Darlington, Elliott led the team with a fifth-place finish in a backup car. William Byron held the lead with three laps to go (and led 24 laps on the day) but was moved out of the way by the eventual race winner coming to two to go. Larson led 30 laps before a mechanical issue impacted him in stage two.

      OUT IN FRONT: Hendrick Motorsports has led the most laps this season with 1,226 circuits out front. The team has led laps in all but one race this season (Atlanta Motor Speedway in March) and has controlled the race for 38% of the laps run. Byron (589) and Larson (553) rank one-two in that statistical category. The team’s total is more than double the total of the team that ranks second (593). The 1,226 circuits in front are the fifth-most ever for the organization through 12 races. Each of the years with higher occurrences: 1996 (1,771 laps led), 1995 (1,629 laps led), 2010 (1,398 laps led) and 2007 (1,384 laps led) were championship seasons for the Concord, North Carolina, based squad.

      STAGE SAVANTS: In the 2023 season, Hendrick Motorsports has a series-best nine stage wins. Three of its drivers have tallied a stage victory. Byron leads all drivers with six, while Larson has two and Elliott has one. In the stage racing era, this is tied for the second-most stage wins through 12 races. The high to this point in a season is 11 stage wins, which was accomplished by this organization in 2020.

      NEXT GEN NUMBERS: Elliott and Larson are among the three drivers with the most wins in the Next Gen era. Since the start of the 2022 season, both drivers have five victories. Byron is in a three-way tie for fourth in the category with four wins.

      Via Hendrick Motorsports