mobile app bar

Denny Hamlin Likens William Byron’s NASCAR Rise to Chase Elliott’s Career Trajectory

Gowtham Ramalingam

Denny Hamlin Likens William Byron’s NASCAR Rise to Chase Elliott’s Career Trajectory

It is far too safe now to say that William Byron is one of the favourites to win anywhere NASCAR goes in 2024. He has won three of the first nine races this season and has three more top-10 finishes to go along with that. With his dominance making up for most of the show today, Joe Gibbs Racing star Denny Hamlin has opened up on his views about the youngster’s growth.

He revealed to the press in Talladega about how he had been left disappointed by Byron’s inconsistency during his initial years. He continued to note, “It just took a couple years for him to kind of get it and click. It’s almost like Chase Elliott. The same kind of thing where they showed flashes of being good but it wasn’t consistent by any means.”

“And then all of a sudden that third-fourth year, they just started clicking and they started being consistent,” he said. He contended that their preliminary performances were just an evolution toward finding consistency. Watching the flashes of extraordinary skill from both Byron and Elliott, Hamlin had known that they had the potential to win.

The only question then was how long was it going to take for them to find consistency. Elliott too has won a race this season and fixed his spot in the playoffs. He broke a 42-race winless streak in Texas last Sunday. 

Hamlin points out the most crucial factor in William Byron’s success

After serving together in the Truck Series in 2016, William Byron reunited with crew chief Rudy Fugle in 2021. Ever since, he has gone on to be a force to be reckoned with on the track. From having just 1 Cup Series victory in 2020, he has catapulted to having 13 after the 2024 Texas Spring race. This undeniable influence that Fugle has had is what Hamlin believes is making all the difference.

“The driver-crew chief relationship is so important in our series,” he said. “I think that’s just something with him and Rudy that seemed to click. That, to me, was kind of the moment where we all saw it come together.” The #24 Hendrick Motorsports team will try its shot at claiming its first Talladega victory for Byron on Sunday.

About the author

Gowtham Ramalingam

Gowtham Ramalingam

Gowtham is a NASCAR journalist at The SportsRush. Though his affinity for racing stems from Formula 1, he found himself drawn to NASCAR's unparalleled excitement over the years. As a result he has shared his insights and observations by authoring over 350 articles on the sport. An avid fiction writer, you can find him lost in imaginary worlds when he is not immersed in racing. He hopes to continue savoring the thrill of every lap and race together with his readers for as long as he can.

Read more from Gowtham Ramalingam

Share this article