(Cover Photo Credit: Sean Gardner/Getty Images)
By Adam Carabine
In case you missed it, StatChat is counting down the days ‘til the 2023 Daytona 500. Every two days, we will have a new article featuring one of the 36 charters of 2022.
6th Place – William Byron – 2,376 pts
HENDRICK MOTORSPORTS – CHEVROLET
2 Wins in 2022 – It’s almost easy to forget that William Byron had two wins, because they both came so early in the season. Byron won races 5 and 8 on the schedule, with both tracks being quite different from each other. Byron’s first win of 2023 was at Atlanta – recently repaved/reconfigured to run a bit like a smaller Daytona or Talladega. The second win came at Martinsville, a short track with little banking in the corners. As far as ovals go, there aren’t many other two tracks that are as dissimilar. Whatever the tracks may have been, Byron doubled his career win count, as he came into the ’22 season with just two wins to his name.
5 Top 5s in 2022 – It is strange, really, how quiet of a season William Byron had in 2022. He finishes ahead of Kyle Larson in the standings, but overall has a worse year than the year before. In 2021, he scored 12 Top 5s. Big difference. Obviously with the new car and the increased parity, the playing field was slightly evened out, and there weren’t as many Top 5s to go around, but that’s a pretty significant decline from his previous season.
746 Laps Led in 2022 – As soon as you point out his Top 5 situation, you take a look at his laps led, which was 3rd highest out of the Cup Series charters, and it paints a different picture. William Byron appears to have spent a LOT of time at the front of the pack. However, upon a deeper dive, that’s not necessarily the case. In select races, he was dominant, leading to a high number of laps led. His two wins combined for 323 laps led. He also led 122 at Richmond in the spring. However, there were 18 races where Byron didn’t lead a single lap.
218 Stage Points Earned in 2022 – A sneaky way to pad your points (maybe sneaky isn’t the right word – everyone knows about this) is to pile up on stage points. Regardless, collecting anywhere between 1-10 points per stage doesn’t seem like it would make a big difference, but if you’re consistent, it can make a dent. William Byron’s 218 stage points rank him 7th of all Cup Series charters in that category.
38th Place Finish @ the Daytona 500 – Being that it’s the most prestigious race of the year, not to mention the first points race of the season, teams and drivers always try to bring their best to the Daytona 500. Unfortunately for William Byron, he was only able to run 62 laps of the race. An incident that took him, as well as Ross Chastain, Denny Hamlin and Harrison Burton out of the race gave him his worst finish of the year – 38th. Luckily for Byron, the showing at Daytona was not indicative of the rest of the season, and he finished strong.
In June 2022, William Byron signed a 3-year contract extension to stay at Hendrick Motorsports. Look for Byron to return to the No. 24 Chevrolet in 2023!
Coming up next in the Countdown to Daytona series – Denny Hamlin!
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