Byron Graduates to Cup Series

William Byron

Hendrick Motorsports announced Wednesday that 19-year-old William Byron will drive its No. 5 Monster Energy Series Chevrolet beginning with the 2018 season. (Photo: Getty Images)

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Hendrick Motorsports announced today that 19-year-old William Byron will drive its No. 5 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Chevrolet beginning with the 2018 season.

He'll replace Kasey Kahne, who's leaving the organization at the end of this year. Sponsorship for Byron will come from Axalta Coating Systems and Liberty University, which currently support him in the NASCAR XFINITY Series.

In 2016, Byron turned in the most successful rookie season in the 22-year history of the Camping World Truck Series with seven victories. This year, the Charlotte, N.C., native progressed into the XFINITY Series, where he's earned three wins and ranks second in the regular-season standings driving for JR Motorsports, a Hendrick Motorsports affiliate.

"It hasn’t sunk in yet,” said Byron, who will turn 20 on Nov. 29. “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.

"When I told my parents I wanted to drive racecars, they supported me and believed I could do it. Without them, there’s no way this would be possible."

Hendrick Motorsports signed Byron in August 2016. Next season, he will join drivers Chase Elliott, Jimmie Johnson and Alex Bowman as a member of the four-car Cup Series operation.

"At every step, William has proven how quickly he can adapt," said team owner Rick Hendrick. "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."

Axalta Coating Systems has been a Hendrick Motorsports corporate partner since 1992 and recently opened its state-of-the-art Customer Experience Center on the team’s campus. Liberty University began its support of Byron in 2014 when he drove late models for JR Motorsports. Byron is a sophomore student working toward an undergraduate degree in business communications through the school’s online education program.

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