Friday, Sep 22


   In dominating fashion, William Byron and the No. 24 Valvoline Camaro ZL1 team recorded their series-leading fifth NASCAR Cup Series win of the 2023 season.


·       The win – Byron’s first road course win in NASCAR’s top series – is Chevrolet and Hendrick Motorsports’ fifth consecutive NCS win at Watkins Glen International.


·       Chevrolet now sits at 22 all-time NASCAR Cup Series wins at Watkins Glen International, and its 13th win in the series this season – both of which are manufacturer-leading feats.


·       Chevrolet has made its way to victory lane in 17 of the past 22 NASCAR Cup Series road course events – dating back to Chase Elliott’s victory at Watkins Glen International in August 2019.


·       The winningest manufacturer in NASCAR Cup Series history, Chevrolet now sits at 846 all-time wins in NASCAR’s premier series.

·       For the second consecutive year, Chevrolet has swept the NASCAR Cup Series / NASCAR Xfinity Series doubleheader at Watkins Glen International, with JR Motorsports’ Sam Mayer taking the Bowtie brand to victory lane in yesterday’s NXS race at the New York road course. 




1st      William Byron, No. 24 Valvoline Camaro ZL1

4th      AJ Allmendinger, No. 16 Celsius Camaro ZL1





1.        William Byron (Chevrolet)

2.        Denny Hamlin (Toyota)

3.        Christopher Bell (Toyota)

4.        AJ Allmendinger (Chevrolet)

5.        Ty Gibbs (Toyota)



The 2023 NASCAR Cup Series regular season concludes at Daytona International Speedway with the Coke Zero Sugar 400 on Saturday, August 26, at 3 p.m. ET. Live coverage can be found on NBC, MRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio Channel 90.


WATKINS GLEN, N.Y. (Aug. 20, 2023) – William Byron accomplished yet another milestone feat in an already career season by earning his first career NASCAR Cup Series (NCS) road course win at Watkins Glen International – Chevrolet’s fifth-consecutive trip to victory lane in NASCAR’s premier series at the 2.45-mile New York circuit.


A notably dominate day for the No. 24 Valvoline Camaro ZL1 team started after a second-place qualifying effort gave Byron a front-row starting spot for the 90-lap event. Running in the top-three through Stage One, strategy from atop the box saw crew chief Rudy Fugle opting for stage points before bringing Byron to pit road at the end of the green-flag pit cycle in the opening laps of Stage Two. Taking the lead for the first time at lap 21, the 25-year-old Charlotte native went on to record his eighth stage win of the season and paced the field for a race-high 66 laps en route to the triumph. Byron’s series-leading, and career-best, fifth victory of the season also delivered Chevrolet its 13th trip to victory lane in NASCAR’s premier series with now 25 points-paying races in the books.


"We've had a great car all weekend and just tried to execute a good race," said Byron. "Road courses haven't been our strength as a group, but we've been working really hard at it. I'm really thankful for the whole group. I feel like this sets up well for the playoffs."


Byron wasn’t the only Team Chevy driver to visit victory lane at “The Glen” this weekend. In the NASCAR Xfinity Series, it was JR Motorsports’ Sam Mayer (No. 1 Camaro SS) that overcame an eventful overtime finish to collect his second career win in the series. The pair of victories marked the second consecutive season that Chevrolet swept the NASCAR doubleheader race weekend at the New York circuit.


The NCS’ regular season will come to a close next weekend at Daytona International Speedway with Saturday’s Coke Zero Sugar 400 officially setting the 16-driver playoff field that will contend for the coveted championship title. Live coverage of the 400-mile race can be found on NBC, MRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio Channel 90.

WILLIAM BYRON, NO. 24 VALVOLINE CAMARO ZL1 – Race Win Press Conference Transcript



THE MODERATOR: We are joined by our race winner William Byron.


Q. You've won at pretty much all types of races now, but how important was it to win on a road course?

WILLIAM BYRON: Yeah, I hadn't really thought about that, but it is cool, we have a variety of racetracks that we've won races on, so that's neat for our team.


I think road courses this year have been really tough for us. I think we started the year strong at COTA, had top-2 speed. Reddick was the car to beat, but we were a close second there.


I felt like we could build on that for the rest of the year, and I got excited for the road courses, and then we just went through a slump there with Sonoma and Chicago where it was just really tough for us and we struggled.


We started the turn the corner in Indy last week. We had a lot of speed coming from the back. Just had good grip in our car. Felt like I could push the car to make lap time, and I felt optimistic coming here that we could run well. But Rudy kind of kept talking me down. He's like, we just need to get a solid top 10.

I think I really just felt optimistic that we could run well. As soon as we got out there in practice and the way the car felt through some of the corners that are really important here, I just felt really good about what we had.


Yeah, just really proud of the team. It's cool to get that first road course win. It's taken a lot of effort. A big thanks to Max and everything that we've kind of put into it. It's nice to see it pay off.


Q. First off, if I'd have asked you at the beginning of the season if you were going to rack up five wins before we ever got to Daytona for the cutoff of the regular season, what would your comment have been?

WILLIAM BYRON: It would be pretty awesome. But yeah, I think we knew that we could do that. We knew we were capable. It's just last year was tough with the new car.


We hit the ground running, and we had some good results early. Even back to testing, we were really fast in testing.


Then it seemed like the car evolved, and we struggled to kind of adapt and evolve with it a little bit through the summer and in the fall we showed up with a lot of speed again.


I think in the fall last year saw a lot of potential. It was really us and the 11 throughout the Playoffs in terms of average finish and running position. I think the start of this year, started to roll really smooth, and then we just kind of got into a rhythm.


Q. Out there earlier today, you're dominating, you're ahead of everybody by a couple seconds, but what's going through your mind to get this win, and once you crossed -- hell of a burnout there on the frontstretch a couple of times, I believe. What were you thinking and what was the emotions like for you?

WILLIAM BYRON: Yeah, I mean, I was just, no caution, just playing for no caution. I think everyone in the lead always has that mindset.


You're trying to prepare if there is one, so you're trying to manage the tires. You're thinking about what do I need in terms of adjustment, if we have to pit.


So you're just thinking about all those factors, and I think for us, we just tried to manage all those things, and really kind of the last five laps just tried to kind of manage the gap and take care of the brakes, take care of the shifting, make sure I was smooth on upshifts, downshifts and all that stuff pays off.


Q. It was a track position race, so did you feel like once you passed Denny that it was your race to lose, and was there any moment in there where you felt like you made a mistake that might lost you?

WILLIAM BYRON: Yeah, it was. I think this place is becoming more and more track position over the last couple years. It's just really fast-paced, and the setups keep getting better. We keep evolving.


Yeah, so I think it's tough to -- guys don't make a lot of mistakes, but when I was able to get Denny there, up through the esses, I felt good about that, and then I felt like it was all going to come down to how close could I stay to McDowell for the pit cycle. I didn't want to burn through the tires too much, and so I felt like I was keeping a good gap to him, and we just -- just really thankful. Rudy did a great job on the strategy there going into Stage 2, to stay out one lap later, have a clean lap with clean air. Our car was really fast, so once we put ourselves in clean air, gave us a little bit of a buffer and we took the lead on that sequence.


Just really good execution by the whole team for that, and yeah, I knew we had a great car in practice. We were really fast.


Q. Looking ahead to Daytona now, obviously Chase and Alex are both on the outside looking in. How does Hendrick Motorsports approach that going into Saturday night's race?

WILLIAM BYRON: Yeah, I mean, just try to help those guys as much as we can. Superspeedways is really the place that we can help the most. All the -- I got a few questions about it. All the other tracks it's tough to help, unless you're just really equal and battling it out.


But superspeedways is a chance -- everyone is really close there. Hopefully we can push those guys when we need to. I intend on being aggressive there and just making sure all my belts are tight and make sure we're ready to go.


Q. You kind of talked about yesterday, the ups and downs that you've had in the past. Is this win kind of a good momentum boost or more of a hey, we're still here type victory to kind of put that aside?

WILLIAM BYRON: Yeah, we've had a tough four races I would say. But we've had speed at I think three of the four. Indy comes to mind, Michigan and Pocono. Then the other ones we didn't quite have the speed or we had issues during the race.


Yeah, it's just part of the ebbs and flows of the season, I think, that you want to be on kill for 38, but it's really hard to just be good every single week.


I think it naturally was kind of a little bit of a reset for us and try to get ready for the Playoffs.


Q. I asked Jeff this, as well, when he was in there, but obviously the 24 has had a lot of success

here at Watkins Glen, so how neat is it to bring the 24 back to Victory Lane here?

WILLIAM BYRON: Yeah, it's cool, I spent a lot of time watching summer races here with that flames car and how good he was here at the Glen. Him and Tony Stewart basically all the time.

Yeah, it's great to carry on that legacy with the car, and we'll share a couple of memories over it.


Q. William, do you think back-to-back road courses played a big part in today's victory?

WILLIAM BYRON: Yeah, I think the momentum from last week was really big. I think Steve Letarte talked about it. We had a really good run from the back.


It kind of went unnoticed because we finished 14th and there were no cautions, and we didn't show much of anything there.


But we just were passing people and working our way through the field, and just felt really good about our car.


I think that momentum carried to this weekend and gave us some confidence.


Q. What's it like working with Max Papis?

WILLIAM BYRON: Yeah, we've worked together forever, so we've developed a friendship, and I think that over years and years, we talk about racing, and we probably do less of the day-to-day stuff now than we used to maybe in the Xfinity or at the beginning of the Cup days.

But we still keep in touch and talk all the time.


Q. I asked you yesterday if you just needed some momentum and you said that the difference last year is you guys just weren't putting your races together. Rudy came in here a little while ago and he said that when looking at the Playoffs that you guys are really confident, really looking forward to the Playoffs. He loves the 10 races. Why does this year feel different? Obviously take the wins aside, but why the confidence booster? Why is Rudy saying you guys are so looking forward to the Playoffs?

WILLIAM BYRON: Yeah, I mean, I think he's -- out of all the crew chiefs I've worked with in my life, I think he really values -- I think Chad was similar in his days with Jimmie, like we really focus on those 10 races and focus on what that looks like and build our setups around that.


I think we do kind of lose sight maybe in July and August of kind of what is still at play there, but I think that yeah, we're focused on those races. I feel good about our notebook for those tracks but there's also a lot of really good cars. The 11 has been fast, the 19 has been really fast, the 5 has been really good.

We've just got to keep building, but I think the tracks suit us well, and I think he knows those tracks really well.


I feel like we'll have good race cars there.


Q. Is the beard a good look, and how long do you plan to keep it through the Playoffs?

WILLIAM BYRON: Well, it's been here for a while. It's been here since last fall. I just started kind of figuring it out and how to maintain it.


But yeah, I like it. It's whatever. It's what I feel good in. Most important thing, my girlfriend likes it, so I feel like that's the most important thing.


Yeah, I think it's here to stay for sure, and everyone has talked about the playoff beards, and I'm a big hockey guy, so got to keep it.


Q. William, let's say that Chase and Alex don't make it into the Playoffs after next week. How does that affect Hendrick Motorsports as a whole, as an organization, and does it even matter to you when you're going for a championship?

WILLIAM BYRON: Yeah, I mean, we'd love for those guys to make it in. It means a lot to have all four cars in the Playoffs, but I think for us, we are focused on the 24 team when we're racing and when we're preparing.


But yeah, we try to -- we all lean on each other a lot for setups and advice and kind of owe a lot to each team for -- everyone has their strengths and different racetracks that everyone is really strong at, and try to do the best we can leaning on each team.


·       William Byron and the No. 24 Valvoline Camaro ZL1 team posted their 17th top-10 qualifying effort of the season at Watkins Glen International – taking a front row starting spot for the NASCAR Cup Series’ Go Bowling at The Glen.


·       Byron settled his Camaro ZL1 into the third position on the race’s opening lap. Quickly making a pass for second, Byron started closing the gap to the race leader to only a half-second margin at the halfway point of the stage.


·       The first round of pit stops got underway with four laps to go in Stage One. Pit strategy among the lead pack saw teams opting to stay out for stage points, with Byron leading Team Chevy to the conclusion of Stage One from the second position.


·       Four drivers from three different Chevrolet teams collected points in Stage One:

2nd      William Byron, No. 24 Valvoline Camaro ZL1

5th      AJ Allmendinger, No. 16 Celsius Camaro ZL1

6th      Kyle Larson, No. 5 Camaro ZL1

9th      Kyle Busch, No. 8 Mark III Camaro ZL1




·       With no stage breaks on road courses, the race continued under green-flag conditions for the 20-lap Stage Two. Maintaining a steady pace in the second position, crew chief Rudy Fugle called Byron down pit road on lap 22 for the team’s first pit stop of the day – taking four tires, fuel and an air pressure adjustment on the No. 24 Valvoline Camaro ZL1.


·       When then-race leader McDowell was faced with a penalty on pit road, Byron rejoined the field to takeover the top position as the leaderboard cycled through at the conclusion of green-flag pit stops.


·       Leading his first-ever laps in NASCAR’s top series at Watkins Glen International, Byron continued to manage the lead with a nearly one-second gap over second place as the laps wound down in Stage Two. With three-laps to go in the stage, Byron reported that he was fighting the left rear of his Camaro ZL1 during the long run.


·       The race continued caution-free with Byron leading the field to the end of Stage Two at lap 40 – collecting his series-leading eighth stage win of the season.

·       Byron led Team Chevy to six top-10 finishes in Stage Two:

1st     William Byron, No. 24 Valvoline Camaro ZL1

4th     Kyle Larson, No. 5 Camaro ZL1

5th     AJ Allmendinger, No. 16 Celsius Camaro ZL1

7th     Chase Elliott, No. 9 NAPA Auto Parts Camaro ZL1

8th     Kyle Busch, No. 8 Mark III Camaro ZL1

10th    Austin Dillon, No. 3 Okuma Camaro ZL1




·       Continuing to pace the field in his No. 24 Valvoline Camaro ZL1, Byron is told the lead pack is struggling in traffic, giving the Team Chevy driver the opportunity to build and manage the gap back to second place.


·       Pulling away to a 3.9-second lead with 40 laps remaining, Byron reported that he settled into a steady pace to cool off his tires. The Team Chevy driver also reported to his team that he was happy with the handling of his Camaro ZL1, just fighting slightly tight conditions in turn seven.


·       On lap 55, crew chief Rudy Fugle brought Byron down pit road for another set of four tires, fuel and an air pressure adjustment. As Byron rejoined the field, the race’s first caution flew for his Hendrick Motorsports’ teammate Chase Elliott with the No. 9 NAPA Auto Parts Camaro ZL1 team running out of fuel just short of the team’s scheduled pit stop.


·       Those that still needed to complete their scheduled stops came to pit road under the caution, cycling Byron back to the lead with 30 laps to go.

·       Taking the green flag for the final restart of the race, Byron regained control of the lead and never looked back – recording his series-leading fifth NASCAR Cup Series victory of the season. 



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