WATKINS GLEN, N.Y. (WETM) – It was a historic weekend at Watkins Glen International for William Byron and the Hendrick Motorsports 24 Team.
When the checkered flag waived at Watkins Glen International, William Byron claimed the win in the Go Bowling at The Glen. What may have seemed to many like just another win for the 25-year old Byron, was one Hendrick Motorsports won’t forget. The dominant victory accounted for Byron’s 5th win of the season and his 1st Cup victory on a road course.
In addition, the win was the first time the number 24 car returned to victory lane at The Glen since 2001. In 2001, Jeff Gordon earned his 4th WGI win in route to his 4th and final NASCAR Cup Series Championship. This season, Byron has a good chance of following in Gordon’s footsteps and winning his first Cup Series title, as he leads the field with 5 wins. Livonia, New York native and 24 car Crew Chief Rudy Fugle shared his excitement with 18 Sports, that Gordon was in attendance for the win.
“I told him (Jeff Gordon) that we stopped coming here (WGI) as a kid because he won every time we came, Fugle joked. It’s super great that the 24 has come back to victory lane at a place where he was so awesome at. Just happy to carry on that tradition and keep going.”
For Fugle, the win was also thrilling to share with his family, who was also at the track. The winning crew chief believes that due to his ties to racing in the area, this win will always stay with him.
“It’s a special place not far from home, said Fugle. Just to win at this place with the 24 and get some momentum back going for the team for the playoffs is great. I grew up coming here and to Canandaigua, dirt racing. I raced at Limerock Speedway in Caledonia, so it’s pretty cool. It’s full circle and it’s awesome.”
The young driver of the 24 car shared in Fugle’s excitement and added his pride in the Hendrick Team. On top of the other accolades, Byron’s win counts as the 5th consecutive year that a driver from Hendrick has won the Cup Series race at WGI.
“We’ve got a great race team, said Byron. I’m so proud of everyone at Hendrick Motorsports. It’s great to get a win and I’m just really thankful. Hendrick’s been really good here in the past and we felt good coming here. It was just a matter of putting it all together.”
The 24 team will now turn their attention to the NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs, which begin in 2 weeks at Darlington, a track which Byron won at in May. Claiming the Go Bowling at The Glen, for the team’s 5th win of the year serves as a major boost for the Playoffs.
“I think this one was probably our most dominant win, said Byron. We’ve had some good strong days, where we were up front for a green, white, checkered, and won. For this one, from start to finish we were just really strong.”
“There’s one more race before the playoffs, said Fugle. We’ve been prepping for the playoffs hard already and this gives us more playoff points and confidence.”