“I’m Just So Proud”- Jeff Gordon Gets Candid as William Byron’s Championship Ticket Rekindles Old Memories

Published 10/30/2023, 3:15 AM EDT

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Hendrick Motorsports is a team with a rich history and one of their most iconic cars is the #24. The #24 team has been active in HMS since 1992 and had Jeff Gordon as its driver up until 2015. In that time period, it won four NASCAR Cup Series titles, making it a successful stint for the team. Now, there is a new driver who is looking to write his own history with the #24. And that is none other than the youngest driver in the HMS team today, William Byron.

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Byron was ahead of the cutline by 30 points before the Martinsville race and he can thank his stars for that. The 25-year-old finished P13 behind playoff drivers like Denny Hamlin, Martin Truex Jr and Chris Buesher. However, his points buffer allowed him to end up on top of his rivals on the points table after the race.

Jeff Gordon revels as William Byron furthers his car’s legacy

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For Hendrick Motorsports and its fans, the #24 car holds a lot of value. Jeff Gordon had delivered countless memories behind its wheel. The team truly came into its own during Gordon’s time at the top. They have built on that period ever since and have become a heavyweight in the sport.

Today, Jeff Gordon is the vice chairman of Hendrick Motorsports. The four-time Cup Series champion has a special connection with HMS fans and the #24 car. He was obviously happy that the team had two cars in the championship race next week. And one of them being the #24 car was something special for the former HMS driver. In the post-race interview, the 52-year-old expressed his pride in the team and how William Byron reminded him of a younger version of himself.

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“I mean, the 24 because of the fans, because of my connection, Hendrick Motorsports’ history, it’s always gonna be a special number so yeah, to see them have the year that they’ve had. To now go race for a championship, it’s phenomenal and you know I can’t help but look at myself a little bit with William, young, up-and-coming driver that has a bright future ahead of him,” Gordon said.

Going into Phoenix, William Byron will have a fantastic chance to clinch his first Cup Series championship. He already has six wins to his name so far, including the Phoenix race earlier in the season. The 25-year-old was exhausted after what felt like one of the most demanding races he has ever started in, so far in his career.

Martinville Analysis: Ryan Blaney & William Byron Punch Championship Tickets, Playoff Heartbreak for Denny Hamlin & Martin Truex Jr & Phoenix Outlook

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HMS’ youngest star completely spent after Martinsville test

The driver of the #24 was obviously happy to make it into the Championship 4, but it took a lot out of him. In the post-race interview, the HMS star revealed the grueling experience in the car where he almost fainted.

“I think my helmet fan wouldn’t work. Obviously, my face is bright red. My cool shirt was, all that stuff is great, right? But when your head’s just blowing like a hair dryer, it’s really really tough and we train for that. And you just try to find a little bit more. You’re not going to pull in, I guarantee that with plus seven or plus eight, whatever. I was going to faint before I was going to finish or get out of the race. Just really proud of the team and they deserve this,” he said.

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This just goes on to show how motorsport is one of the most physically and mentally demanding sports in history, but those who beat those challenges go down in history as the greatest ever. William Byron may have finished P13 but the conditions he braved gave him a lot of confidence. Will he be able to win his first Cup title next week? Let us know what you think.

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Written by:

Nilavro Ghosh

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Nilavro Ghosh is a NASCAR Author at EssentiallySports. After completing his undergrad in the field, he has been a full-time journalist for the past three years. He started his journey as a motorsports fan with MotoGP and Formula One, before gravitating towards NASCAR.
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Edited by:

Ariva Debnath

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