DARLINGTON, SOUTH CAROLINA - MAY 14: William Byron, driver of the #24 Axalta Throwback Chevrolet, celebrates in victory lane after winning the NASCAR Cup Series Goodyear 400 at Darlington Raceway on May 14, 2023 in Darlington, South Carolina. (Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images) | Getty Images
DARLINGTON, SOUTH CAROLINA - MAY 14: William Byron, driver of the #24 Axalta Throwback Chevrolet, celebrates in victory lane after winning the NASCAR Cup Series Goodyear 400 at Darlington Raceway on May 14, 2023 in Darlington, South Carolina. (Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images) | Getty Images

William Byron to make 200th Cup Series start at New Hampshire

Sunday’s start at New Hampshire Motor Speedway will mark the 200th NASCAR Cup Series start for William Byron. The 25-year-old driver has spent the entirety of his Cup Series career with Hendrick Motorsports as the driver of the No. 24 Chevrolet.

“I don’t know that I dreamed about making this many starts this early in my career,” Byron said. “Everything happened really quickly. I got to the Cup Series when I was 20 years old. Now, being 25 and in my sixth year is really special.”

The Charlotte, North Carolina, native, ascended rapidly to NASCAR’s top series. He spent one season each in the NASCAR CRAFTSMAN Truck Series (in 2016) and the NASCAR Xfinity Series (in 2017) before stepping into the Cup ranks for the 2018 season. During that time, Byron won the Xfinity Series championship and rookie honors in Truck Series.

The move to the Cup Series, though, brought with it a learning curve that took some time for Byron to adapt to. His first start, in the 2018 DAYTONA 500, came when he was 20.

“When I was 20 years old, I didn’t realize at the time how inexperienced I was in racing,” Byron said. “The things I didn’t know about race cars. The things I didn’t know that I have experience now on the racetrack. Getting that experience has been a huge thing. For the last two years, I have felt really comfortable in the Cup Series with what I know and can contribute. I think that has shown in the results. We just got to keep working on the little details.”

Byron will also be the ninth driver in team history to make 200 starts for the organization. At the beginning of July, Alex Bowman joined that club with his start at the Chicago Street Course. The rest of the drivers with at least 200 starts for team owner Rick Hendrick (as of the race at Atlanta Motor Speedway) are: Bowman (201), Ken Schrader (267), Chase Elliott (269), Dale Earnhardt Jr. (340), Terry Labonte (387), Jimmie Johnson (686) and Jeff Gordon (805)

This is not the first milestone Byron has been a part of in 2023. Back in May at Darlington Raceway, he earned the 100th win for the iconic No. 24 Chevy. With his win last weekend at Atlanta Motor Speedway, Byron has contributed eight wins to that car number.

The 2023 season has been Byron’s best regular season to date. His four victories (at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, at Phoenix Raceway, at Darlington and at Atlanta) are the most in the series. Byron currently leads the point standings, has led the most laps (741) and has the most stage wins (seven). His eight top-five finishes are already more than he had in all of 2022 and his 11 top-10s through 19 races match his total from last season.

At just over five-and-a-half seasons at Hendrick Motorsports, Byron has eight wins, 34 top-five finishes, 73 top-10s, 2,346 laps led and 10 poles.

Byron will look to become the fifth driver to win his 200th Cup Series start. That club is comprised of Bobby Isaac (1970 at Nashville Fairgrounds Speedway), Bobby Allison (1970 at Langley Speedway), Terry Labonte (1985 at Riverside International Raceway) and Kevin Harvick (2006 at Watkins Glen International).

Tune in to watch Byron’s milestone start on Sunday, at 2:30 p.m. ET, on USA Network, NBC Sports App, PRN Radio and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio (Channel 90).

— Hendrick Motorsports —