MONSTER ENERGY NASCAR CUP SERIES
SOUTH POINT 400
LAS VEGAS MOTOR SPEEDWAY
TEAM CHEVY MEDIA PLAYOFF DAY
SEPTEMBER 12, 2019
WILLIAM BYRON, NO. 24 LIBERTY UNIVERSITY CAMARO ZL1 ROTATION HIGHLIGHTS
WITH ALL THE OTHER STORIES OUT THERE, DO YOU LIKE THAT YOU CAN FLY UNDER THE RADAR?
“It’s a little bit of an advantage to have that lack of pressure on our team. Our goal was obviously to make the Playoffs and to accomplish that has been really good. I feel like now we can focus more on executing the first three races and try to get through that round. So yeah, I don’t think it really matters either way but it does help that we don’t really have that pressure on us.”
DO YOU SEE YOUR TOP 10’S AND TOP 5-FINISHES AS ENCOURAGING?
“Yeah, I think it’s encouraging. I’d much rather be finishing up there than worse than that. You’ve got to finish somewhere and finishing up front is way better. Yeah, I think we’re building on it and gaining on it, for sure. Hopefully as we continue, we can kind of knock off some wins.”
BEING IN THE PLAYOFFS IS A NEW EXPERIENCE FOR YOU. HOW ARE YOU FEELING RIGHT NOW? ARE YOU NERVOUS OR PLAYING WITH HOUSE MONEY OR HOW DO YOU FEEL?
“Yeah, I think for our team we at least expected to make it for a while now. We don’t feel like we’re just sneaking into the Playoffs or anything. We locked it in a couple of races ago. So, I feel good about that. I think the next step is just how do we perform in the Playoffs and how do we get to the next level of our progression as a program.”
HAS THE SEASON MET YOUR EXPECTATIONS? DID YOU HAVE THAT GOAL OF MAKING THE PLAYOFFS?
“We wanted to perform a 12th place seed or something around there, I think was a good start or kind of a good goal to be around that point. And I think we’ve been able to do that, so that’s been really good that it’s been there for us. It’s a big improvement from last year, for sure; but I think with the team we’ve had this year I kind of hoped and expected to be where we are.”
HOW SATISFYING IS IT IN YOUR YOUNG CAREER TO HAVE A SHOT AT YOUR FIRST CHAMPIONSHIP?
“It’s really great. The second year is great. I wish I could have had the first year back, I guess, and been in the Playoffs last year, but I definitely appreciate it now, and being able to be a part of it.”
“I think you have to be responsive and reactive for every situation. And I think that just comes from preparation and knowing that okay, we’re in a good position if we just go out there and do what we’re capable of doing, that’s going to be enough. And then, react and respond to what happens on the track and try to approach it with a level of aggression, I think, and last weekend was a good experiment for how it’s going to be. We’ve just got to be reactive to the situations the play out and trust in the preparation we’ve done.”
HOW DO YOU FEEL ABOUT YOUR SHORT TRACK PROGRAM WITH RICHMOND BEING THE SECOND RACE?
“I think it’s a work in progress. I think Richmond was okay for us in the spring. I think we’ve got some work to do, but we’ve had some really good things that we’ve done to our car on the No. 24 the last couple of weeks I think have paid dividends with a pole at Darlington and a Top 5 at Indy. So, I feel like we’ve got some gains that we’ve made and hopefully those play out at Richmond and kind of throughout the Playoffs.”
IS THAT THE WEAK LINK IN THE FIRST THREE RACES FOR YOU?
“Yeah, I think it’s going to be a race that we’ve got to kind of grind out and do the best we can. I think we can run top 10 there, which is what it takes in all three races. But, I feel like yeah, the road courses have been really good. Sonoma was a really good track for us. So, I don’t see Charlotte being much different than that. But our 1.5-mile programs have been strong. I would say maybe it’s the toughest track but we’ll see. Maybe we could have something really good show up there and go for it.”
“It’s going to be aggressive. You can make contact and still be okay at a short track. At the big tracks, you can’t even touch each other most of the time. With tighter quarters and things like that, you’ve got to be aware of your surroundings, too and not give your car too much damage. It’s going to be typical Richmond, I think. A Saturday night race. It’s going to be intense and we’ll just see what happens.
ON HIS RELATIONSHIP WITH CREW CHIEF, CHAD KNAUS
“I feel like the first ten races were kind of that newness and awkward stage of a relationship in trying to figure out how not to step on each other’s toes. And there were some heated moments, to be honest. We had some things that we didn’t execute as well as we wanted to. And then we got to the meat of the season in the summer, and we just started to really click. We still had some finishes that weren’t great just with circumstance (like) Bristol, getting in the crash and Darlington, same thing. But, our performance was good throughout the summer stretch. So, that was great to see. And in fact, that’ll continue.”
HOW HAS CHAD KNAUS HELPED TO SHAPE YOU AND YOU SHAPE HIM?
“I think he’s given me that platform to be organized and be direct and really tell him what’s on my mind. He’s given me that ability to not take feelings into account and just kind of say whatever is on our minds. I think that’s really important. We haven’t really ever had those awkward situations where we just don’t feel comfortable saying something. So, he made that barrier come down really quick. I think that happened probably around the 600 weekend in May. And as far as me shaping him, I think the only thing is just staying positive and staying motivated in the race. I don’t seem to do well with like negative energy. So he’s done really well at really channeling that a different way and I’ve noticed that a lot.
“We had so many new members on our team and it takes a while to get all those members of a team to work well together. I feel like when we made the All-Star race, from the Open, and kind of took an aggressive approach to that weekend; we ran in the top 5 in the All-Star race most of the race and I think we finished like 9th. That was a big turning point. At least for me, I kind of felt like hey, I’m here now. I can compete…..especially in an aggressive race like that. So, that carried over into the 600 and we qualified on the pole there and finished in the top 10. We got so many stage points in that race it really kind of carried over.”
HAVE YOU ASKED CHAD KNAUS, HEY WHAT DO I NEED TO KNOW FOR MY FIRST PLAYOFFS?
“Yeah, we’ve talked quite a bit the last couple of weeks about how we approach it. He’s done some cool things (like) bringing the whole team in and doing a couple of team-building events and things like that. I haven’t really noticed a lot of difference in how he approaches it. Maybe there will be once we get to the race track, but I feel like we’re just going to go about doing our normal. He always has something in his bag of tricks, I guess, to apply. Whether that’s the car or just the way we execute the weekend. So, he’s got a good way of using his expertise to kind of make that next step.”
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