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December 28, 2023

William Byron 2023 season in review


William Byron, driver of the number 24 Liberty University Chevrolet, looks on in the garage area during practice
Jonathan Bachman
Getty Images

Editor’s note: This continues the series where we review the top 20 in 2023 NASCAR Cup Series points.

Season in review:
William Byron
No. 24, Hendrick Motorsports, Chevrolet
Crew Chief: Rudy Fugle
Final 2023 Ranking: 3rd
Key stats: Six wins, 15 top-fives, 21 top-10s, four pole positions, five pole positions, 1,016 laps led

How 2023 ended: The 25-year-old Charlotte native – youngest of the final four championship challengers – enjoyed the best season of his NASCAR Cup Series career, advancing to his first Championship 4 and ultimately finishing third in the driver standings. Byron earned pole position and finished fourth place in the Phoenix championship race leading 95 laps – most among the Playoff finalists. He had an amazing run in that final 10-race playoff stretch winning at Texas and claiming six top-five finishes. He followed his Texas win with runner-up showings at the Talladega Superspeedway and the Charlotte Motor Speedway road course in that consequential fall stretch of the season. It was the best full-season performance of Byron’s six-year career and proved that he was championship-ready.

Best race: Statistically, Byron’s most impressive outing was his victory in the Spring Las Vegas race. He led 176 of 271 laps and was able to hold off his Hendrick Motorsports teammate Kyle Larson by more than a half-second for the victory. The next week, he won at Phoenix, marking the first back-to-back race wins in his NASCAR Cup Series career – Byron’s work on the “Western Swing” of the schedule quickly established himself as a serious title threat and he backed it up with four more victories on the year.

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RELATED: William Byron banks big win in Las Vegas

Other season highlights: The 2023 season was a career highlight reel for the young driver who set career-high marks in wins (six), top-fives (15), top-10s (21), and laps led (1016). His 11.0 average finish was also the best of his career. Byron not only won races but was considered a trophy contender each week at every kind of venue. He proved his versatility too, earning victories on 1.5-milers, short tracks and a road course (Watkins Glen International)

Stat to Know: Byron’s six-race win total tripled his previous single-season tally. His high marks in top-fives and top-10s were not just personal best, but series’ best marks. His nine stage wins were the season standard and only his teammate, Kyle Larson, led more laps (1,127 laps) on the season. It was Byron’s best statistical season in his six-year career.

Quotable: “It’s been a great season. It stinks to come up short, but I’d like to think we’re going to be back in this position and we’re going to have more shots at it. We just have to keep working. Keep working on the short-track program for us – that’s definitely been the tough part of our season.” – William Byron.

RELATED: Track changes mar William Byron’s shot at 2023 championship

Looking ahead: The future is what it’s all about for Byron, who has proven himself championship caliber at every step of his NASCAR career, culminating with a personal best effort in 2023. He was a winning threat at every type of track and never wavered in his championship pursuit even though he was the youngest of the four title contenders. While Byron concedes his No. 24 team would like to finetune its work at certain types of venues, the way he and the team elevated its game proved he is to be taken as a serious threat going forward. The team maintained focus – a nod to Byron’s successful longstanding relationship with crew chief Rudy Fugle – and his competitors fully concede that Byron’s time has come. Expect him to be strong again right out of the gate in 2024.

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