William Byron’s meteoric NASCAR rise continued Saturday, as the 19-year-old added two more superlatives to an already lengthy list – 2017 NASCAR XFINITY Series Champion and 2017 NASCAR XFINITY Series Sunoco Rookie of the Year. Byron is only the second driver to win the XFINITY Series championship in his rookie season (Chase Elliott, 2014).
Following an extraordinary rookie campaign, the NASCAR Next graduate, who finished third, outlasted his Championship 4 competitors Elliott Sadler (eighth), Justin Allgaier (12th) and Daniel Hemric (34th) in the Ford EcoBoost 300 at Homestead-Miami Speedway to capture his second NASCAR title. He also won the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East championship in 2015. With the 2017 championship, Byron – at 19 years, 11 months and 20 days – is the second-youngest champion in series history (Elliott was 18 years, 11 months, 18 days).
This season, Byron drove the No. 9 JR Motorsports Chevrolet to four wins, 12 top fives and 22 top 10s. His victories came at Iowa, Daytona, Indianapolis and Phoenix, which helped propel him to a lofty position in the standings – from race No. 2-33, he never dropped lower than fifth in the standings.
Byron’s ascent to the top level of the sport will continue in 2018, as Hendrick Motorsports announced that he will drive the iconic No. 24 Chevrolet in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series.
Byron is the fourth member of the NASCAR Next program to win a NASCAR national series championship (Chase Elliott, NASCAR XFINITY Series, 2014; Erik Jones, NASCAR Camping World Truck Series, 2015; Daniel Suarez, NASCAR XFINITY Series, 2016).
With its second-place finish, the No. 22 Ford won the 2017 NASCAR XFINITY Series Owner Championship for Team Penske, the organization’s fourth XFINITY Series owner title. This season, the No. 22 was piloted by Ryan Blaney (11 races), Brad Keselowski (nine), Joey Logano (seven), Sam Hornish Jr. (five) and Austin Cindric (one race).
Chevrolet, on the strength of 12 victories, clinched the Bill France Performance Cup – the manufacturers’ championship – in the NASCAR XFINITY Series. Because Chevrolet owned a more than 40-point lead in the standings following Phoenix, the automaker clinched the title one race early. It is Chevrolet’s 18th Bill France Performance Cup win.