William Byron, a senior at Charlotte Country Day, won the first NASCAR Truck Series race of his young career last week at Kansas Speedway. One season after winning NASCAR’s K&N Pro Series East championship, Byron is already locked into the Trucks’ Chase postseason.
Byron spoke with reporters after his Kansas victory:
Q. What were your emotions during the final laps at Kansas?
A. I was really just praying for no cautions, but you have to earn it and my crew chief, Rudy Fugle, really told me about that on all the restarts. He’s like, ‘This is how you earn it.’ This is a dream come true. I was six years old watching Truck races. Didn’t start racing until I was 14 and just to be in a Toyota Tundra like this is amazing.
Q. How does this moment compare to what you thought it would be?
A. It doesn’t compare. It’s awesome. I mean, doing a burnout – I didn’t even know how to do a burnout, so I just kind of found the gears and watched the smoke in the back and it was just really cool. I’ve visualized this for a little bit, but I never thought it would come like this.
Q. What has it been like to work with top race teams like Kyle Busch Motorsports and JR Motorsports?
A. Just learning from those guys, whether it be L.W. Miller, or Dale (Earnhardt Jr.) himself came to a couple races or Kelly (Earnhardt). Just learning how to fit in and how to compose yourself and then the stuff inside the race car is ultimately up to you. So it’s really just out of the race car learning how they do things and how they go about it. It’s been so cool to drive for people that I used to just be race fans of because at six or seven years old I’m sure a lot of people watch races, but I didn’t ever really imagine being in a race car. To be actually with those guys now is really cool.
Q. What does this win and a place in the Chase mean to you?
A. It’s awesome. All the way from the first race at Phoenix, I knew there was a lot to this. There are so many ebbs and flows to the race and it’s just really important to keep your head. You just can’t give up.
Q. When do you graduate from Country Day and when was your prom?
A. My graduation is May 27 and that’s actually an off weekend, so I’m pretty fortunate with that and get to enjoy that. My prom – I was racing that weekend and I was racing in Nashville. I think it was like April 8 or something. It’s a good balance between going to school and being a completely normal kid and people really have no idea what’s going on when we get to the race track. The cool part is that I like to just kind of do my business at school and keep my grades up and then get to the race track and enjoy myself.