William Byron has raced at many new tracks this year during his rookie season in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series (NCWTS), but this Wednesday's race may be his biggest challenge yet. He has quickly adapted to racing on bigger tracks, as three of his four wins this season have come on mile-and-a-half tracks, but adapting to dirt is a whole different story. Wednesday night will be Byron's first start on a dirt track and he'll be doing it at one of the most legendary dirt tracks in the country, Eldora Speedway in Rossburg, Ohio.
Until a few weeks ago, Byron had never even driven on dirt. He spent a day practicing in a dirt late model at Boyd's Speedway in Ringgold, Ga., on his way home after winning at Kentucky Speedway. After a few laps he was hooked and is looking forward to racing his No. 9 Liberty University Tundra at Eldora. He also has a Kyle Busch Motorsports (KBM) teammate with quite a bit of dirt experience to call on for advice. Christopher Bell spent his entire racing career driving open-wheel cars on dirt tracks around the country until joining KBM and making the move to paved tracks. Bell won the NCWTS race at Eldora last year and the half-mile dirt oval ranks among his favorite tracks.
KBM teams have won twice at the half-mile clay oval across eight starts. In addition to Bell's win last year, Darrell Wallace Jr., claimed the Golden Shovel in 2014. KBM Tundras have paced the field for 227 laps and have four top-five finishes. For the Aspen Dental Eldora Dirt Derby, Byron will be racing the same Tundra which Erik Jones drove to a fourth-place finish last year after starting 19th.
Although the 18-year-old rookie has never raced on dirt before, it would be a mistake to count him out of competing for the win Wednesday night. Byron has shown a knack for picking up on new tracks pretty quickly, and with the help of his crew and teammates, he may be able to make the dirt fly on his way to Victory Lane.KBM PR