William Byron will kick off his rookie season in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series (NCWTS) Friday night under the lights at Daytona (Fla.) International Speedway in the NextEra Energy Resources 250. After winning the NASCAR K&N Series East championship in 2015, Byron joined another championship team, Kyle Busch Motorsports to further his racing success. Byron will drive the No. 9 Liberty University Tundra full time in 2016 while competing not only for the Sunoco Rookie of the Year championship, but also the series championship under the new Chase format.
Byron made his debut at Daytona last weekend in the ARCA Racing Series. Driving for Venturini Motorsports, Byron qualified second and finished second in the very first restrictor-plate race of his short driving career. Byron was able to run up front much of the race, but pit strategy shuffled him back in the field mid-race. With patience and skill, he was able to work his way through the draft back to the front of the field for a podium finish. The strong finish helped him earn approval from NASCAR to compete at Daytona again Friday night in the NCWTS race.
This season Byron will have the benefit of working with the 2015 NCWTS championship team led by crew chief Rudy Fugle. Ten members of this year's No. 9 Tundra team were a part of last year's No. 4 Tundra team with Erik Jones, which collected three wins, five poles, 925 laps led, 11 top-five and 20 top-10 finishes across 23 starts last season and captured the 2015 NCWTS Driver's and Owner's Championship.
Racing is not the only thing on Byron's plate. He is currently in his senior year at Charlotte (N.C.) Country Day and is taking college courses online through Liberty University Online Academy. Once he graduates from high school in the spring, his plan is to pursue a business degree at Liberty while advancing his racing career. More than 13,500 students attend classes on Liberty's campus in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Lynchburg, Va., and more than 95,000 students are enrolled in Liberty's online program.
While being a full-time NASCAR driver in addition to being a full-time student may seem challenging for most, Byron plans to remain an honor-roll student at school and lead the rookie driver class of 2016.