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      Coming off Daytona win, William Byron brings new Axalta paint scheme to Atlanta

      © 2024 Ben Earp / NKP

      Ambetter Health 400
      Atlanta Motor Speedway
      Sunday, Feb. 25 | 2:30 p.m. ET

      DAYTONA 500 CHAMP: William Byron won the 2024 DAYTONA 500 to become the latest champion of “The Great American Race” at Daytona International Speedway. Before the race, Byron had to start at the rear of the field for going to a backup car from damage sustained in his eighth-place finish in the second Duel at Daytona race. The 26-year-old driver overcame that and scored stage points in both stages. On the final restart with four laps to go, Byron lined up second and controlled the inside lane. He surged to the point position and then held off a host of challengers in the closing laps, including Hendrick Motorsports teammate Alex Bowman, for the victory. The win also came on the 40th anniversary of Hendrick Motorsports’ first start. It is Byron’s 11th victory in the NASCAR Cup Series and his second Cup Series points win at Daytona.

      WHAT’S IN A NUMBER: With his win at Daytona, Byron continues to extend the history and legacy of the No. 24. The iconic car number is third on the all-time list with 104 Cup Series wins, trailing only the No. 43 (200 wins) and the No. 11 (231 wins). Four of the No. 24’s wins have come in the DAYTONA 500 – Byron in 2024 and team vice chairman and NASCAR Hall of Famer Jeff Gordon in 1997, 1999 and 2005. All of Byron’s 11 premier series wins have come in the No. 24, while Gordon accounts for 93 wins in the number.

      © 2024 Nigel Kinrade / NKP

      TWO FOUR SANDWICH: Byron has nine Cup starts at Atlanta Motor Speedway, with four occurring on the 1.54-mile track after its reconfiguration prior to the 2022 season. He has two victories in those four starts and has paced the field a series-high 171 times over that span. Byron was the first winner on the newly configured track in March of 2022 and the most recent in July of 2023.

      DRAFT DAY: When it comes to drafting-style tracks (Daytona, Atlanta and Talladega Superspeedway), Byron normally runs upfront. He has four wins on this type of track – Monday’s DAYTONA 500, his first Cup Series victory at Daytona in August of 2020 and two wins at Atlanta. He has also led 230 laps at drafting tracks since the start of the 2022 season. In fact in the Next Gen era (since 2022), Byron (three) and Hendrick Motorsports teammate Chase Elliott (two) are the only repeat winners on drafting-style tracks.

      STREAKING: Byron’s five straight top-10 finishes on drafting tracks is the longest active streak in the Cup Series. It also marks the longest streak by a Hendrick Motorsports driver since Ken Schrader had five straight in 1994 and 1995. During this stretch, Byron has won twice (Atlanta 2023 and the 2024 DAYTONA 500) and posted a runner-up finish (Talladega in October of 2023).

      NEXT GEN DUO: Since the introduction of the Next Gen Cup Series car in 2022, Byron and crew chief Rudy Fugle have a series-leading nine wins. The duo leads Hendrick Motorsports teammates driver Kyle Larson (seven wins) and crew chief Cliff Daniels (six wins).

      RUDY RUNS THE ATL: Sunday will mark Fugle’s sixth race at Atlanta in the Cup Series and his fifth after the track’s reconfiguration. In four starts since the beginning of 2022, the crew chief of the No. 24 Raptor High Heat Chevrolet has led Byron to two victories. Fugle has seven additional national series starts with six of those coming in the NASCAR Truck Series. In those six Truck Series events, he has a pair of wins, four top-five finishes, five top 10s and a pole.

      RAPTOR® TOUGH: At Atlanta, Byron will sport a special paint scheme with the No. 24 Raptor High Heat Chevrolet Camaro ZL1. RAPTOR® is a durable protective coating from Axalta that is designed to tolerate the toughest climatic conditions and can be applied to a wide range of items, including truck beds, lawnmowers, outdoor furniture and more. With 16 pre-mixed colors available, it’s easy to personalize anything you want to protect. RAPTOR® is available at local paint distributors, auto parts stores and online retailers. For a better look at Byron’s No. 24 Raptor High Heat Chevrolet Camaro ZL1, click here.

      BYRON ON HOW IT FEELS TO BE A DAYTONA 500 CHAMP: “It’s still pretty surreal and it’s starting to set in now just experiencing all the different things that come with being a DAYTONA 500 winner. It really is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. You don’t know if you’re ever going to have a chance to win that race again. It’s made for a short week this week to get ready for the next race but I wouldn’t change it for anything.”

      BYRON ON WHAT HE THINKS IS IN STORE FOR THE NO. 24 TEAM THIS YEAR: “We need to continue the course we’ve been on. Last year was really valuable, getting to Phoenix and having a chance to race for a championship. This year, the hunger and drive are really high. We have a lot more to accomplish. This is a good start and we have a lot to be proud of but we want more. We always want more and that starts this weekend in Atlanta.”

      FUGLE TALKS DAYTONA 500 VICTORY: “It’s amazing. What a race. I can’t believe it. It’s a special one especially to see all the excitement from everyone involved. It just means so much. We haven’t won this race at Hendrick Motorsports in 10 years, so it’s a big deal. I’m proud of William, I’m proud of my guys and just everyone here. It still really hasn’t set in after a couple of days.”

      FUGLE DISCUSSES ATLANTA: “Overall, the track has given up a lot of grip since the repave. It’s a whole different animal. Its got a lot of character already and the cars are lifting a lot. I think we will have a little less, if not the same, amount of grip from the summer. Either way, it’s going to be hard to drive. The cars were hard to drive in the summer and it made for some awesome racing. It reminded me of the late 2000’s Daytona where you had the packs and big drafts but it was impossible to stay wide open all the way around and two wide. I think it will be a lot like that this weekend.”

      © 2024 Nigel Kinrade / NKP


      FABULOUS 40: In 2024, Hendrick Motorsports is celebrating its 40th anniversary. Among the categories that the Rick Hendrick-owned organization holds the NASCAR Cup Series record for are all-time wins (302), poles (246), laps led (79,781) and championships (14). With its win in the 2024 DAYTONA 500, the organization has now won at least one race in each of the last 39 seasons.

      1-2 FINISH IN DAYTONA: William Byron and Alex Bowman finished first and second in the 2024 DAYTONA 500 and the result came on the 40th anniversary to the day (Feb. 19) of Hendrick Motorsports’ first start. This was the fourth time in team history that Hendrick Motorsports swept the top-two spots in “The Great American Race” and the win is the ninth in the event for the organization (which is tied with Petty Enterprises for the most wins by a team in the DAYTONA 500). The Rick Hendrick-owned team also became the first to win the Harley J. Earl Trophy in five decades.

      SIGN OF THE FUTURE: In three of the last six instances that Hendrick Motorsports has won the DAYTONA 500, the driver that was victorious in the event went on to win the championship in the same year. Team vice chairman Jeff Gordon accomplished this in 1997 and Jimmie Johnson did it in 2006 and 2013.

      © 2024 Gavin Baker / NKP

      PEACH STATE POWER: Hendrick Motorsports has seen eight of its drivers win at Atlanta Motor Speedway – the most among all organizations. Gordon and Johnson each won five times at the Georgia oval. Byron has two wins at Atlanta. Darrell Waltrip, Ken Schrader, Jerry Nadeau, Kasey Kahne and Chase Elliott have one victory apiece. Gordon (23 years, 7 months and 8 days) and Byron (24 years, 3 months and 20 days) stand as the second and fourth-youngest Cup Series winners in track history.

      GEORGIA ON THEIR MINDS: Hendrick Motorsports has been to victory lane 17 times at Atlanta. The total is the most among all Cup teams and is the fifth-most for the organization at any track. Martinsville Speedway (28), Dover Motor Speedway (22), Charlotte Motor Speedway (21) and Pocono Raceway (19) are the only venues where Hendrick Motorsports has more wins.

      DRAFTING DOMINANCE: Hendrick Motorsports has 33 all-time wins on drafting tracks (Daytona International Speedway, Talladega Superspeedway and Atlanta), which is 13 more than the next-best teams. Three of those victories have come at the 1.54-mile Georgia venue since its reprofiling ahead of the 2022 season. The team also has 16 wins at Daytona and 14 at Talladega.

      RECONFIGURATION ROUNDUP: Since Atlanta reconfigured to a drafting track ahead of the 2022 season, Hendrick Motorsports has found great success. Over the last four races there, the Concord, North Carolina, team has the most wins (three) and led the most laps (301). Byron and Elliott swept the 2022 Cup races and Byron won the rain-shortened summer race in 2023. Since the reprofiling, Byron and Elliott rank first and third, respectively, in laps led and have led 29% of the laps run.

      NEXT GEN NUMBERS: Hendrick Motorsports has been strong on drafting tracks in the Next Gen era. Since 2022, the organization has the most wins (five), top-10 finishes (19) and laps led (584) on that track type. In addition, Byron and Elliott are the only repeat winners on drafting tracks in the Next Gen era.

      WINNER WINNER: With 22 Cup Series wins, Hendrick Motorsports is the winningest team in the Next Gen car. Three of the team’s drivers rank in the top five in victories. Byron is first (nine wins), Kyle Larson is second (seven wins) and Elliott is in a five-way tie for third (five wins).

      Via Hendrick Motorsports