Story By: ASHLY ENNIS / HENDRICK MOTORSPORTS – CONCORD, NC – The No. 24 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 1LE will have a fresh Liberty University scheme for the 2021 season.
On Wednesday, the white scheme with navy and red details was unveiled for William Byron’s fourth season in the NASCAR Cup Series. The No. 24 team expressed they would love to see Liberty University colors against a white background, which provided inspiration for the 2021 design.
“I’m really excited about the Liberty University paint scheme for the 2021 season,” Byron said. “We brought back more of the white as a base that we used during the Xfinity Series days. I think it looks great and will really stand out when it’s on track whether it’s a day race or under the lights. I’m really looking forward to getting back on track and hopefully getting some wins with it.”
Byron won his first Cup Series race in Liberty University colors on Aug. 29 at Daytona International Speedway. The university wanted to commemorate Byron’s impressive overtime win with an updated scheme.
“Although the old car had an exceptional design, we thought it was time to change things up a bit,” Liberty University said. “We hope that designing a new, winning paint scheme for the Liberty University No. 24 Chevy will bring added excitement to the Hendrick Motorsports fans and LU family for the 2021 season.”
William Byron Says Bar Is Set High After Reuniting With Crew Chief Rudy Fugle For 2021
William Byron said a meal at a local family restaurant with new crew chief Rudy Fugle was all he needed to see if the pair would gel in the NASCAR Cup Series.
The 23-year-old driver sat down with Fugle at a TGI Friday’s in Concord, North Carolina, after it was announced Fugle would take over for No. 24 crew chief Chad Knaus. At the end of September, Knaus revealed he would be taking on an executive role at Hendrick Motorsports, leaving the spot atop the No. 24 team’s pit box open.
“Rudy knows I’m a pretty picky eater, so he chose that one because they have chicken tenders and fries,” Byron joked. “So, it was perfect.”
Chicken tenders aside, the meeting was Byron’s way of seeing if the two still clicked after more than three seasons passed since they worked together. In 2016, Fugle was Byron’s crew chief in the NASCAR Gander RV and Outdoors Truck Series. During Byron’s rookie season, the pair won seven of 23 races and Fugle won the owner’s title.
“When I was first working with him at (Kyle Busch Motorsports), it was more just surface-level questions about just the basics – things I needed to execute well, like getting on pit road,” Byron said. “But a lot of the set-up stuff and the ideas behind it, I never really asked those questions. I wasn’t far enough along to really understand it. I feel like this time around, the conversations when we met back at the end of August were much more detailed and more specific.
“We hit it off right away in terms of those things and he opened up to me more about the details. I just wasn’t experienced enough to know that stuff when I was 18 years old. I kind of had to go out on my own, in a sense, and go through Xfinity and a few years of Cup to understand that stuff.”
Now that Byron feels he and Fugle will be a good fit in the Cup Series, he’s ready to hit the ground running. Byron credits seven-time champion Jimmie Johnson’s retirement, Chase Elliott’s historic championship win, and the addition of Kyle Larson to the No. 5 Chevrolet as fuel for the No. 24 team to be successful next season.
“I think seeing Chase go out there and win the championship like that was definitely a sign that, obviously, we’re capable,” Byron said. “I think the first year when I was here in 2018, how many growing pains there were for me, but also the race team to kind of find out footing with, really, three new drivers and one veteran guy.
“So, now it’s four new guys. I feel like three of us have been here for a while now and really established our trends, our feelings inside the team and what we want in our race cars. I think the bar has definitely been set now and it’s about just going out there and trying to achieve that.”