CHEVY NCS AT CHARLOTTE 1: William Byron Teleconference Transcript

NASCAR CUP SERIES
CHARLOTTE MOTOR SPEEDWAY
COCA-COLA 600
TEAM CHEVY PRESS CONF. TRANSCRIPT
MAY 22, 2020

WILLIAM BYRON, NO. 24 LIBERTY UNIVERSITY PATRIOTIC CAMARO ZL1 1LE, spoke with media via teleconference to discuss the anticipation leading into this weekend’s Coca-Cola 600, what it means to race at his hometown track, and more. Full Transcript:

YOU’RE PILOTING THE NO. 24 LIBERTY UNIVERSITY PATRIOTIC CHEVROLET THIS WEEKEND. CAN YOU TELL US A LITTLE BIT ABOUT THAT PAINT SCHEME THAT YOU WILL BE FEATURING IN THE COCA-COLA 600 THIS WEEKEND?
“We have the patriotic paint scheme again this year, so we kind of did something a little bit different with the way that it looks. It looks really good – I think they modeled it kind of after Captain America. It looks really cool; hopefully we can get Sgt. Billings a good run and just have a great 600. Obviously, it’s the longest race of the year. It takes a lot of patience, a lot of adjustments, a lot of pit stops, things like that, so you just have to progress your way through the event.”

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THERE’S BEEN A LOT OF TALK ABOUT THE CHOOSE CONE RULE LATELY, JUST BECAUSE DARLINGTON OBVIOUSLY HAVING SUCH A DOMINATE GROOVE AFFECTED A LOT OF GUYS AND AUSTIN DILLON WAS TWEETING ABOUT IT. WHAT’S YOUR TAKE ON WHETHER THAT SHOULD BE A THING IN NASCAR?
“I think it should be, especially with how critical restarts are with this package and just the shear track position you can gain or lose in one restart alone is pretty huge. And how close the field is, too. The top-10 to 12 cars are typically reasonably the same or close in pace to each other, so I think a choose cone would allow you to have some different options to be able to make a run. Let’s say you lost track position on a pit stop, you could have the potential to gain that back. I could see something that’s maybe for the top-20 cars and maybe the next 20 doubles up like normal so it’s not a huge confusion coming to a restart. But it would definitely be welcomed for us.”

HOW ARE YOU FEELING PHYSICALLY AFTER TWO RACES IN A SHORT AMOUNT OF TIME AND ARE THERE ANY CONCERNS GOING INTO 600-MILES ON SUNDAY?
“I just got done training, so I hope I’m doing physically well (laughs). It’s been different for me. I train probably twice a week now. Given the fact if there’s two races, I kind of take the day after the race just to recover. Then, the following day is whatever training that my guys have lined up for me in terms of what they put on the app that we use. Really, I’ve just tried to stick to that schedule so far. The 600 is going to be tough just because of the humidity in North Carolina, so it’s not going to be easy.”

HAVE YOU GUYS LEARNED ANYTHING ABOUT PROCESSES OR HOW TO GO ABOUT THINGS DIFFERENTLY THAT YOU WOULD KEEP WHEN THINGS GO BACK TO NORMAL?
“We have. We run a little different interior components, like I have a drink bag that attaches to the left side of my seat, which is different than what I’ve had in the past. I usually just run a polar water bottle, so it’s a little bit different there. I run some extra fans inside the car just to get some air flow to my upper body and everything like that. So, a little different processes there inside the car. Everybody is carrying their helmets and stuff to the car, so that’s much different. I’ve got my suit in my car right now from this past weekend, so I have to wash those. It’s unique, but I love it honestly. It kind of feels like back to the roots of what we all grew up doing – going to the race track, bringing your own stuff and going to race.”

DARLINGTON WAS KIND OF A MIXED BAG FOR YOU GUYS, SO I’M JUST CURIOUS AS TO WHAT YOU TOOK OUT OF THOSE TWO RACES?
“We had some issues to work through in the Wednesday race that we didn’t really figure out until after the race, so that was kind of is what it is. But the Sunday race, we had a really good car and obviously had the misfortune there with the loose wheel. Like you said, kind of a mixed bag. We weren’t as good on Wednesday, but I think we know why and we just have to work towards getting ready for the 600. We had a really good car there last year; we qualified on the pole. We just have to try to carry over what we’ve been doing speed-wise at HMS. We’ve had some really good cars this year. We just have to put together solid races and have good execution. It sounds kind of boring and simple, but it’s really what it comes down to. Hopefully we’ll get to the end of the race and have the opportunity.”

HOW DOES THE STRATEGY CHANGE GOING INTO AN ENDURANCE RACE LIKE THE 600?
“Charlotte has become an interesting race track because you have the PJ-1 that they put down in the second groove. So, you have a much different balance over the course of the race. As that stuff starts to come in towards the middle part of the race, it creates a much different balance. As it wears off, the car, at least for us, progressively gets tighter. You’ve got to keep up with the race track to have a good car at the end because once that stuff wears off, it seems to have rubber that sticks to it and it gets pretty slick at times. It’s just a constant battle with that stuff on the race track and trying to figure out what your car needs to do and how to setup passes because a lot of guys can maintain a lap time up there. So, it makes it twice as hard to pass or complete the pass at least. You can run side by side pretty easily. It’s just a constant evolution throughout 600 miles.”

AS A CHARLOTTE-NATIVE AND THIS WEEKEND, YOU’RE PROBABLY GOING TO HAVE MORE EYES ON THE SPORT THAN EVER BEFORE, WHAT DOES THAT MEAN FOR YOU?
“It’s awesome – it’s great every year running the 600. Honestly, what’s cool about it is just waking up in your own bed, driving to the race track and feeling like you’re in your own space. Again, it kind of goes back to the roots of where I grew up racing, what I grew up doing, so it makes it really cool. I will say, it’s a little bit easier this year because I don’t have anyone going to the race, unfortunately. I don’t have family or anything there, so we can spend time together away from the track, but not at the track. So, it’s going to be pretty seamless there.”

NOW THAT YOU GUYS HAVE BEEN BACK IN THE CAR FOR TWO RACES GOING INTO CHARLOTTE, ARE THERE GOING TO BE ANY NEW CHALLENGES CONSIDERING YOU’RE GOING TO GET QUALIFYING THIS WEEKEND OR WILL IT FEEL LIKE A REGULAR RACE AGAIN?
“I think that with qualifying taking place, it’s hopefully going to be easier to have track position at the start of the race and kind of have the normal players, I guess you could say, towards the front. So, I guess that’s going to be an easier way to go about the start of the race. Hopefully, we qualify well and we’re up towards the front, and we can have a smooth start to the race. Yeah, I think that’s going to honestly be an easier process than the inverts have been and things of that nature. But still your pit selection goes back to last week, so that’s critical. I just look at the 600 as a long evolution of a race and it takes adaptation each run that goes by.”

WITH THE CIRCUMSTANCES THAT WE’VE BEEN RUNNING UNDER AND THE FACT THAT THE 600 IS BASICALLY THE ONLY SHOW IN TOWN WITH NO MONOCO AND NO INDIANAPOLIS 500, IS THAT GOING TO BE WEIRD OR HOW UNIQUE WILL THAT BE FOR YOU GUYS TO BE THE CENTER OF ATTENTION ON MEMORIAL DAY WEEKEND?
“Yeah, it’s different. It feels different. Usually at this time of the race weekend of the 600, you kind of know what to expect and you’ve been through practice. Typically, actually this day is a day off because they do the Thursday qualifying and Saturday practice, so it’s much different. Having not even sat in the car physically yet to know what’s going to happen, it feels much different. But in some instances, like a normal race like we’ve been having, you just kind of roll with the next one because we’ve had a series of races here every few days. So, it’s starting to get a little bit of a rhythm of just racing a lot.”

WITH THE 600 RUNNING ON SUNDAY AND WEDNESDAY NIGHT’S RACE, BOTH RUNNING UNDER PRETTY SIMILAR CONDITIONS, DIFFERENT THAN DARLINGTON, DO YOU EXPECT THAT THE SAME FRONT RUNNERS WE’LL SEE WEDNESDAY NIGHT COMPARED TO THE 600?
“You’re going to have a different field just because of the ability everybody has, not just the driver’s ability, but the team’s ability to learn from the previous race and get better. I guarantee you’ll probably have five or six guys that run well in one race that won’t run well in the other or a new player that’s a dominant factor in each race is probably going to be different. I think you saw that at Darlington. Obviously, some of the players were the same at the front, but there were some different. So, I think that’s going to continue with these double-header type races where you have a couple of days to go back, review what happened, what went well, what didn’t go so well and make adjustments to your car or make adjustments as a driver to get better.”

WHAT IS THE ROUTINE LIKE IN THE MOTORHOME SINCE YOU’RE ISOLATED FOR ALL THAT TIME?
“It’s honestly not as complex as people probably think. I really just sit there, try to eat well, eat whatever meal I had planned on before the race. But you obviously can’t be with anybody else, so there’s not much going on like there would be at a normal race weekend where you have appearances, you talk to your team and all those things. In some ways, it’s kind of easier to kind of get yourself in that zone that you want to be in. I typically try to shut technology down, try to not look too much at what’s going on in the outside world and that seems to be working OK. Just try to find something that occupies by mind for a couple of hours if I can before the race.”

WITH YOU GUYS NOW RESPONSIBLE FOR YOUR UNIFORMS AND EQUIPMENT LIKE YOU REFERENCED, I KNOW THAT’S A LITTLE DIFFERENT BECAUSE TYPICALLY A LOT OF THAT STUFF WAS CARRIED ON THE HAULERS OR HANDLED BY INTERIOR PEOPLE. HAVE YOU COME CLOSE TO LEAVING ANYTHING BEHIND?
“Yeah, so it’s funny, I actually use my racing shoes on iRacing. I just started doing this because of the new format, but I’ll test a little bit on iRacing the night before the race typically. So, I try to run in the shoes I’m going to wear on race day. Obviously, they change every week with the sponsor changes and things of that nature. I’ve come close to leaving those a couple of times at home, so hopefully that doesn’t happen anytime soon. I try to leave them right in front of the door the night before so I don’t forget. That’s the closest I’ve come is just leaving gloves or shoes at home on my iRacing rig.”

Team Chevy high-resolution racing photos are available for editorial use.

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