JR Motorsports announced today that Liberty University, the largest private, nonprofit university in the nation, will sponsor William Byron in the NASCAR Xfinity Series in 2017. Byron, who unveiled the No. 9 Liberty University Chevrolet Camaro during a Facebook Live stream today, will drive the entry in 17 of 33 events this season, beginning with the season-opener at Daytona International Speedway (Feb. 25).
Byron, a native of Charlotte, N.C., is coming off a stellar rookie season in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series where he posted a rookie-record seven wins, 11 top-five and 16 top-10 finishes. The 19-year-old also claimed Rookie of the Year honors and qualified for the inaugural NCWTS Chase.
“Welcoming back both William and reuniting with Liberty University, it feels like a homecoming for us,” said Kelley Earnhardt Miller, general manager of JR Motorsports. “It’s remarkable to see how quickly William has advanced his talents since he drove for our Late Model team. With the support from Liberty, we have a strong platform for him to have success at the Xfinity level.”
Founded in 1971, Liberty University is distinguished as the largest university in Virginia, and the largest Christian university in the world. Liberty University was a previous partner with JRM during Byron’s Late Model career with the team in 2014 and 2015.
“We here at Liberty have watched William grow, as a racer, as a student, and as a young champion for Christ,” said Jerry Falwell, Liberty University chancellor. “We are proud of his achievements and are eager to see him continue to reach new heights.”
Along with the sponsorship news, it was also announced Dave Elenz will serve as crew chief for Byron and the No. 9 Liberty University team in 2017. Elenz, a 35-year-old native of Gaylord, Mich., transitions from a two-year stint as crew chief of JRM’s No. 88 entry. He guided the team to four victories with drivers Dale Earnhardt Jr., Chase Elliott and Kevin Harvick.
“It’s a privilege to have Liberty University on board with us in 2017,” said Byron, a Liberty University freshman taking online classes. “I’ve been honored to have had them as a partner the last few years, and I’m excited to take them into the NASCAR Xfinity Series this season.
“I’m also looking forward to working with Dave [Elenz, crew chief]. He brings a lot to the table in terms of experience and leadership in this series. That will go a long way in helping our No. 9 team on the track this year.”
A schedule of the 2017 races with Liberty University as primary sponsor will be announced at a later date, as will additional partners for Byron and the No. 9 team. Apart from its primary races, Liberty University will receive associate placement in the remaining 16 events.