It was never a question of if William Byron would compete in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series, only a question of when.
That question was answered Wednesday when officials with Hendrick Motorsports announced the 19-year-old would take over the organization’s No. 5 Chevrolet currently being driven by Kasey Kahne beginning in 2018.
“We see he’s got the talent; his character is unbelievable,” Rick Hendrick, owner of Hendrick Motorsports, said Wednesday. “He spends all of his time either studying or iRacing or in a simulator or in a race car. His rapid rate of success has just blown us all away.”
Byron won the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East title in 2015, winning four times. The following year he won a series-best seven times in the Camping World Truck Series while driving for Kyle Busch Motorsports.
This year, his first in the XFINITY Series, he has three victories and is second in the points standings, trailing only JR Motorsports teammate Elliott Sadler.
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“You look at the fact that he won all those races in the Truck Series, Rookie of the Year, youngest guy to win those kind of races and then you look at the XFINITY job he’s done this year,” Hendrick said. “Youngest winner at Indy, just how he goes to the front so quick, how he picks up on things.”
According to HMS officials, sponsorship will come from Axalta Coating Systems, a long-time associate of Hendrick Motorsports, and Liberty University, which has sponsored Byron since a 2014 Late Model effort with JRM.
“It’s been an incredible couple of years for me to sign on with Mr. H last year and Hendrick Motorsports and then to race for JRM this year and have good success with them and build that foundation there for the future,” Byron said.
“It’s been a great thing for me and I’m really ready for the future and excited to finish the rest of this year as…