Country Day senior hits the books after he hits the track

DOVER, Del. William Byron doesn’t know what kind of reception he’ll receive when he shows up for school at Charlotte Country Day on Monday morning.

Byron, a senior at Country Day, won NASCAR’s K&N Pro East season championship Saturday after finishing ninth in the Drive Sober 125 at Dover International Speedway.

Byron, 17, won the title as a rookie. He also understands that his stature – and recognition – as one of NASCAR’s rising young stars around the Country Day campus isn’t what it might be if he were a star football or basketball player for the Buccaneers.

“I don’t know that a lot of people will know about it,” said Byron, who drives a Chevy for HScott Motorsports. “I hadn’t told a lot of people that I was racing for a championship, except for people who keep track of it and ask me about it.”

Byron has only been racing for three years. Growing up in the Foxcroft neighborhood in southeast Charlotte, he doesn’t come from a racing background and first became interested in the sport by playing online. He convinced his father Bill to take him to a race at Martinsville (Va.) Speedway when he was 7.

That experienced hooked William, who started out in a Legends car and immediately won a national championship in 2013. He also drives late models for Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s JR Motorsports and was the N.C. rookie of the year in NASCAR’s Whelen All-American Series.

Byron stormed through this K&N season as a rookie, winning four races and needing only a ninth-place finish Saturday at Dover to claim the title. That’s exactly what he did – finishing ninth, one place ahead of series runner-up Scott Heckert. Collin Cabre won the race.

Byron, who will attend Liberty University (his primary sponsor) next season, also hopes to race in NASCAR’s Truck Series in 2016. He said he will drive in the Trucks’ season finale at Phoenix in November.

“It will be different for sure,” Byron said. “I just want to make it to the Sprint Cup series. That’s a lot of kids’ goals. I’ve got a limited amount of experience now, but I’m learning each step as I go.”