With Chase Elliott out with his leg injury, William Byron and the rest of the Hendrick Motorsports guys showed out. Byron captured the checkered flag while Kyle Larson and Alex Bowman finished P2 and P3 behind him. Elliott’s replacement didn’t fair so well in the NASCAR Cup Series.
Still, William Byron knew how important the race was for Hendrick given the loss of a champion like Chase. After Byron proved that he had a fast car in practice, he did something he never does before races – he texted Rick Hendrick.
Mr. H is a mysterious figure in the sport at times, especially in recent years. Byron talked about the “void” left by Elliott’s absence.
“Yeah, it was an important day,” Byron said in his press conference after the win. “I felt that for sure. I texted Mr. H. after practice and felt really good about the car and just wanted to reassure that we’re going to go out there and try to win for him because it was a tough week.
“Yeah, just shows the strength of our team to be able to come together.”
I’m sure that Mr. H. really appreciated the message from William Byron, but I think he REALLY appreciates him following through on that promise. A 1-2-3 finish is rare.
William Byron Follows Through on Promise to Mr. H.
Let’s just put this into context. Drivers, even Hendrick drivers, don’t just message Mr. H. He’s the big dog. The godfather of NASCAR if we’re being honest. So, when William Byron says he texted his boss, that’s a big deal.
“I don’t normally text him unless he texts me or unless we’re talking about other things outside of racing. I just felt confident and just felt like we had a shot to win.”
When you can call your shot in a 400-mile race – that’s special. This was never guaranteed to be Byron’s race to win. However, it became clear that an HMS machine was going to get into victory lane whether that was the 24, 5, or 48.
William Byron will try to follow this up. He had two wins almost back-to-back last season. The year is starting off strong for the former iRacer turned Cup Series contender.