CHEVROLET NCS: Byron Claims Pole Position at Circuit of The Americas

William Byron drove Chevrolet to its first NASCAR Cup Series pole of the season at Circuit of The Americas – posting a best-lap of 129.636 seconds, at 94.696 mph, in his No. 24 RaptorTough.com Camaro ZL1 in the final round of qualifying.

· The pole marks Byron’s second NASCAR Cup Series pole at Circuit of The Americas, and his 13th career pole in 222 starts in NASCAR’s top division.

· Byron’s pole marked Chevrolet’s third pole win in the NASCAR Cup Series’ four races at Circuit of The Americas.

· The feat marked Chevrolet’s first NASCAR Cup Series pole win of the 2024 season, and the manufacturer’s 744th all-time pole win in NASCAR’s top division.

· Four drivers from three different Chevrolet organizations posted a top-10 qualifying effort, with Byron leading Spire Motorsports’ Corey LaJoie in fifth, Trackhouse Racing’s Ross Chastain in sixth and Hendrick Motorsports’ Chase Elliott in ninth.

· FOX will broadcast the NASCAR Cup Series EchoPark Automotive Grand Prix at Circuit of The Americas on Sunday, March 23, at 3:30 p.m. ET. Live coverage can also be found on PRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio Channel 90.

TEAM CHEVY UNOFFICIAL TOP-10 STARTING LINEUP:

POS. DRIVER

1st William Byron, No. 24 RaptorTough.com Camaro ZL1

5th Corey LaJoie, No. 7 Gainbridge Camaro ZL1

6th Ross Chastain, No. 1 Worldwide Express Camaro ZL1

9th Chase Elliott, No. 9 NAPA Auto Parts Camaro ZL1

William Byron, No. 24 RaptorTough.com Camaro ZL1 – Pole Win Media Availability Quotes

You had the track record last year. I think there were 28 drivers in qualifying this year that broke it. You held onto it in the first round and then won the pole. Can you describe the differences between running the qualifying laps this year with the new pavement compared to last year?

“Yeah, so the areas that they repaved have quite a bit more grip as we got the tire rubber kind of rubbered in and got the race track to where it was kind of peak grip level. I feel like it took probably the first five to eight laps for everyone to make for the track to keep getting faster, and probably for us to understand where the grip level is on the race track to push. I feel like we got to a spot where we understood the race track more. I think my biggest thing, or my biggest concern, is just turn eight and how the dirt is there. It’s definitely difficult to get through that corner. Wish that was a little bit better to make the race track flow a little bit nicer, but I feel like the added grip in some areas was nice and a little bit smoother. I don’t think it will really change the race any. I think the braking zones and the passing zones will be the same. It should be a pretty exciting race.”

Is there anything you feel like should change.. should they put curb in overnight in that area, or say what they’re going to do with track limits in that area?

“I would like to see a curb, maybe where the grass starts there.. just maybe right there on that edge. That would probably be the best solution. I think we should do something. Like track limits.. I don’t know, it’s really tough to police through there. It’s very difficult to see that area, so I think kind of having something that can not allow us to go there and risking damage.”

Talking about track limits, in general.. how do you balance the line of pushing through the esses to maximize your laps times, while also not ending up with that penalty where you end up having to make a pass through? How do you balance where that aggression is?

“Yeah, I feel like through the esses, the track limits is very appropriate because it’s easy to understand through there. Obviously, you have a lot of paint inside the curbing, but you can really kind of tell where you are on the race track there. So I feel like track limits through the esses is great. We’ve gotten used to it. The rules have been the same now for three years, I think.

I think we’re doing a good job with the rules and everything to police that, and everyone has kind of stayed within the box. I didn’t ever get any laps disallowed, and hopefully don’t get any tomorrow.”

What’s been the best advice you’ve gotten from Max Papis, who’s coached you in the past when it comes to racing at the road courses?

“Yeah, I mean it’s just an evolution over time. Going out to the carting track this week, and just honestly, it’s been my first normal week since the Daytona 500.. just being able to be back home; be in my rhythm and kind of my cocoon and be able to focus on driving the race car. I feel really happy with how the week has gone. I feel very fresh going into this race, so I’m excited for that.

Yeah, our preparation is kind of the same that we normally do for road courses.”

We saw a lot of guys locking-up going into turn one. Some said it was tires, some said they might have been pushing too hard. Is that something that you foresee being an issue on race day?

“I don’t know. It seemed like once we understood that was the limit, it seemed like things got better there. I don’t know.. I haven’t looked at my turn one’s to see if I was giving up time, but I wasn’t locking up as I went through the rounds there. So I feel like at first, it was really prevalent because the bump there and the subsequent bumps, kind of as you get to the apex, is definitely rough. If there’s anywhere that I thought they would repave, I thought it would be there because turn one is very rough, but it creates some character. And on the restarts, it’s very tricky. We’ll see how that all plays out, for sure.”

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