William Byron has fond memories of Atlanta Motor Speedway (AMS) from his early racing career, which was only three years ago. At the age of 15, Byron won four races and was crowned the Thursday Thunder Champion in the U.S. Legend Car Young Lion Division at AMS in just his first season of racing. This time will be a bit different, as Byron will be racing on the big track in a much bigger vehicle.
Byron will make his first start at AMS in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series (NCWTS) on Saturday in the No. 9 Liberty University Tundra for Kyle Busch Motorsports (KBM). Coming off a 13th-place finish at Daytona last weekend, Byron is ready to put restrictor-plate racing behind him for several months and focus on his first intermediate track. Aside from Daytona, Byron has never raced on a track as big, or as fast as Atlanta.
The jump to the 1.5-mile oval will be a dramatic change from his previous racing experience there at the Legend's bullring.
To help him, and the other KBM rookies prepare, the teams spent two days testing at AMS earlier this month. Working with championship crew chief Rudy Fugle, and his teammates Christopher Bell and Cody Coughlin helped Byron get a feel for his Tundra on such a fast track. The team tested the same truck which Byron will race this weekend, KBM-21. This truck has a winning history with eight wins in 13 starts since it was built in 2013. Six of the eight wins have been with owner-driver Kyle Busch at the wheel, while reigning NCWTS champion Erik Jones has two wins in the Tundra. The most recent win came at Texas Motor Speedway in November. This Tundra also has three poles and has led 775 laps.
Much has changed for Byron in just three short years. On this trip to Atlanta he will be in the spotlight on the big track, with a full-sized truck and a national television audience racing on Saturday, instead of Thursday. What has not changed is his aspiration to visit Victory Lane once again at the track where his young racing dreams began.