William Byron is close to winning his first career race in the Monster Energy Cup Series. Overlooked in the aftermath of the Martinsville chaos was Byron keeping up with Martin Truex Jr.
At the end of the race Byron was in striking distance of Truex, who led 464 laps out of the 500. If Truex had made a mistake, Byron would have been right there to take advantage and potentially take home his first win.
After being eliminated from championship contention, Byron competed at Martinsville as if he advanced to the round of 8. Byron put on a performance that reminded 24 fans of when 9-time Martinsville winner Jeff Gordon was in the car.
Byron is hungry for his first career win. After the race, Byron admitted he would have tried to bump Truex out of the way to get his first career win. It was only his fourth career start at Martinsville, and he drove the race as if it had been his 24th start at the track. Byron was quietly in the top 10 all day. At the end, when it mattered, he made the charge up to the front and was the only car to stay in touch with the 19 at the end of the race. A good sight for Byron fans as he put together one of his best races in his career.
How Close is Byron to Winning?
With the way Byron and the 24 team are performing, you can not count them out of any of the remaining races this season. Do not be shocked if Byron steals in the final three races of the season. Back in the spring, Byron started 2nd at Texas and finished 6th, so returning to the track again will only help Byron.
With crew chief Chad Knaus, it is a strong possibility that the 24 team will be up front at Texas. Knaus has seven wins at Texas with Jimmie Johnson. The duo of Byron and Knaus has grown stronger as the year has went on. A win at Texas could solidify the strong pairing going into 2020.
Do not count out Byron at ISM. Last year in the fall race, he finished in 9th after starting 19th. He was fast at the track back in the trucks and Xfinity Series as well. It would not surprise many people if Byron contended at ISM.
Homestead is an unknown for Byron. He only has the one start from last year where he started 28th and finished 24th. Byron has won a championship at the track in the Xfinity Series so it is hard to tell how he will do there. Don’t expect a win here, but it certainly is not impossible.
The Future For Byron
William Byron is bound to have a strong 2020. If he does not win in the final three races this season, it would be hard to believe he won’t win a race next year. This is an organization that is getting better as time goes so Byron may be a real threat next year.
No one knows how long Chad Knaus will stay a crew chief with Byron. It probably won’t be as long of a tenure with Byron as it was with Jimmie Johnson. Depending on the success these two have together, they could stay together anywhere from 5-10 years. The 24 car is in store for success as William Byron is close to winning his first race.