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NASCAR Cup: Hendrick Motorsports makes William Byron’s promotion official

William Byron (photo courtesy of Getty Images for NASCAR)

William Byron (photo courtesy of Getty Images for NASCAR)

By AMANDA VINCENT

After news broke Tuesday that William Byron would replace Kasey Kahne behind the wheel of the No. 5 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series in 2018, Hendrick Motorsports confirmed the news Wednesday morning, via press release.

“It hasn’t sunk in yet,” Byron said. “Mr. Hendrick has built such a great team. The people at Hendrick Motorsports have dedicated their lives to giving their drivers the best chance to win every weekend. I have a responsibility to them to work hard and put everything I have into this opportunity. They need to know I’m always giving 100 percent, because that’s what they do.”

Kahne’s release from the race team at the end of the 2017 season, despite having a year remaining on his contract, was announced Monday.

Byron currently drives the No. 9 for JR Motorsports Chevrolet as a rookie in the NASCAR Xfinity Series, co-owned by Hendrick Motorsports owner Rick Hendrick and retiring HMS driver Dale Earnhardt Jr., and will finish the 2017 season in that car. He is the 2017 wins leader, 20 races into the season, with three wins. Byron also has seven top-fives and 14 top-10 finishes, so far, this year. He is second in the Xfinity Series points standings, sandwiched between JR Motorsports teammates Elliott Sadler and Justin Allgaier.

“At every step, William has proven how quickly he can adapt,” Hendrick said. “Some drivers have raw talent and some have a strong work ethic. William has both. It’s impressive to see a young guy who never gets rattled and instinctively knows how to communicate with his team. That level of commitment, poise and pure ability is rare at any age. I think he’s just scratching the surface.”

Byron was the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Rookie of the Year last season on the strength of seven wins in 23 races as a driver for Kyle Busch Motorsports.

“When I told my parents that I wanted to drive race cars, they supported me and believed I could do it,” Byron said. “Without them, there’s no way this would be possible. Exalt and Liberty University are awesome partners, and I’m so thankful for their faith in me. I’m going to do all I can to make my family, my sponsors and my teammates proud and represent them all in the right way.”

Byron’s teammates next year will be reigning and seven-time Cup Series champion Jimmie Johnson, Chase Elliott and Alex Bowman. The 2018 season also will be Bowman’s first year as a full-time driver for the Hendrick organization, as he’ll replace the retiring Earnhardt in 2018.

Follow Auto Racing Daily on Twitter @AutoRacingDaily or like Auto Racing Daily on Facebook (Facebook.com/autorcngdaily). Amanda’s also on Twitter @NASCARexaminer and has a fan/like page on Facebook (Facebook.com/nascarexaminer).

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Posted by on August 9, 2017. Filed under Breaking News,Featured,NASCAR. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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