“Not the True Measure of .. Talent – William Byron Gives a Minimalistic Breakdown for NASCAR Glory From His Playbook

Published 09/24/2023, 9:25 PM EDT

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USA Today via Reuters

It’s been quite a few weeks for William Byron. Arriving into the playoffs as one of the best-ever drivers in the regular season, Hendrick Motorsports’ youngster William Byron has not quite continued the red-hot form in playoffs. Opting for a consistent return of points for a playoff strategy, the 25-year-old is a favorite to make the Championship 4.

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However, Byron has gone through the meat grinder to find himself in the place he is today. Having been exposed to a car that imposed immense pressure on him as a youngster who was starting his career as a rookie, he has garnered invaluable experience, which is reflected in his style of driving.

William Byron has some advice for his younger self.

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In the entirety of a NASCAR season, the playoffs are one such phase that demands the utilization of experience. The pressure of gathering points and winning a race to secure a spot sort of clamps a driver between two tough situations, making him more vulnerable to self-criticism and stress. William Byron has had to face it since a young age. After all, succeeding Jeff Gordon in #24 has its demands.

Speaking to host Eric Estepp in a conversation on his talk show, Out of the Groove, Byron replied descriptively to a question that aimed to know what golden words Byron would reveal to his younger self when he started as a rookie in top-flight.

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“Oh, man. I mean, there’s a lot of things. I could probably write a book on it, but I think you know, for me, I have gotten that label being consistent.” answered Byron. “I personally feel like we’re not as consistent as we could be still. So I think there’s still some room to improve but that’s always what I’ve tried to pride myself on as consistent results continuing to run top 10, top 5 and get wins and I feel like we’ve just had a steady progression since my rookie year.”

The #24 crew chief, Rudy Fugle has also been an exemplary figure in the pits. Byron has also spoken about Fugle’s influence on the team as they sped to a series-high record of five wins this season including a sweep at Las Vegas and Phoenix. However, the communication of ideas wasn’t always this smooth between Byron and his crew, as he explained,

“I think in my rookie year just understanding how to communicate with the crew chief, understand how to work with the engineers, and utilizing all the tools and resources that I have there to improve, I would have done all those things better.”

“Ultimately, I think just being a little more patient with myself and not carrying so much of the burden of our performance because, ultimately, it’s a team sport. There’s a lot of aspects that have to go well so, I think not carrying so much of the burden week to week of trying to perform.” revealed the North Carolina racer.

From starting the race as an unknown to being a genuine contender for the Cup Series championship, Byron truly has come a long way.

Byron believes experience is the most important criteria for him.

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In NASCAR, it is tough to determine a driver’s potential based on what lies in front of us. Even statistics can be deceiving when it comes to racing. William Byron is of the same faith as well. Being a person who has justified the tag of talent on his head, he understands that things can often move at a faster pace than expected. That is one of the downsides of increasing exposure to quality racing. Many drivers miss the part where they have to toil hard to find a place on a roster in the best tourneys of the circuit.

“It’s definitely not the true measure of somebody’s talent,” continued Byron. “Taking what they do in Xfinity, you’re taking what they do in the Truck Series, like that’s not a true measure of everything that’s going on.”

“I look more at their entire body of work. How long have they been racing, how many short track races have they done, are they weathered enough, like are they old enough to go through the experiences working with numerous crew chiefs and numerous teams and know to communicate what they need in a car.”

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Although Byron might have spoken like an experienced veteran, his development at such a young age is truly remarkable. Having made his debut in 2018, it has already been 5 years for him among some of the sport’s best-ever drivers. Handling such pressure at an age of growth and learning is already a great feat in itself. To do one better and go on to win races and lead the playoff standings, Byron has a great claim to being the next big thing in NASCAR.

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Written by:

Ansuman Abhisek

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Ansuman Abhisek is a NASCAR Writer at EssentiallySports. As an engineering graduate, he has a strong affinity for cars, and it didn't take long for him to translate that into his love for the sport. He is a big fan of Kyle Busch and believes that the Richard Childress Driver still has his best years ahead of him.
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Edited by:

Shivali Nathta

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