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William Byron Looking For Reversal of Fortune, First Top-10 in New Hampshire

It is almost unfathomable, but William Byron has yet to score a top-10 finish in the NASCAR Cup Series at New Hampshire -- one of just two active tracks he has yet to do so at in the series. He'll look to correct that this weekend.


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William Byron, who is tied for the NASCAR Cup Series lead with three wins this season, heads into this weekend's USA Today 301 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway looking to continue building momentum on the heels of a runner-up finish last weekend in the Inaugural Cup race at Iowa Speedway.

But there's just one problem with that plan -- to date, The Magic Mile has had Byron's number throughout his NASCAR Cup Series career.

The 1.058-mile oval in Loudon, NH is one of just two active NASCAR Cup Series tracks where the 26-year-old has yet to record a top-10 finish, the other being the Chicago Street Course which has hosted just one NASCAR Cup Series event.

While Byron has scored a couple of 11th-place runs (2020, and 2022), and a 12th-place effort (2019), the first NASCAR Cup Series top-10 finish at New Hampshire Motor Speedway still eludes the Charlotte, North Carolina native.

And the even more perplexing thing is that Byron, who won his lone NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series start at the track and finished third in his NASCAR Xfinity Series debut there in 2017, doesn't quite understand what he's missing in the NASCAR Cup Series.

"Yeah, I don't really know. I think just trying to figure out what the balance is that we need to go fast there," Byron said last week in a media availability. "You know, I had a lot of success there leading up to the Cup Series and then even my first two years in the Cup Series, relative to where I was running at other tracks, I thought I ran pretty well there."

Byron says that he and crew chief Rudy Fugle will be pouring over their notes this week in an effort to turn around their record at the track that is essentially a double-sized Martinsville Speedway, where Byron has two-career NASCAR Cup Series wins including earlier this year.

"It just seems with our current team, we just haven't been really good [at New Hampshire], and we just have to figure out [why] that is," Byron explained. "Hopefully, go through a lot of notes this week, and have something comparable to go run there."

While he hasn't found that magical run at The Magic Mile just yet, last year's 301-lap event at the track gave Byron plenty of reason to have hope that a decent finish is around the corner.

Byron started last year's race from the seventh-position, and climbed to the race lead by Lap 34. However, the hopeful day came undone for Byron thanks to a collision with Justin Haley while exiting his pit stall during a green flag pit cycle at Lap 60.

"Last year, we had some damage on the car. I believe we had the right front splitter was caved in based on a pit road issue," Byron explained. "Up until then, we had led some laps."

A mechanical issue during practice that weekend also hampered the effort for Byron and Fugle. Byron feels if they can have a clean race weekend this week, that he very well could be celebrating his first career New Hampshire NASCAR Cup Series top-10 finish this time next week.

"Just not a clean weekend last year. I think that's track that we probably last year could have run top-seven at," Byron said. "But this year, going back, obviously, big focus to try to get better. And based on where Phoenix and Gateway were to start this year, definitely some work to do. So, I feel like we're going to learn some things this week, and hopefully have something close."

Heading into Sunday's race, Byron is tied for the series lead in top-10 finishes with 10, and he is very much in the thick of the battle for the NASCAR Cup Series regular-season championship.

A much needed top-10 at New Hampshire would keep him atop the top-10 statistical category, and would go a long way toward the driver having a shot at the regular-season crown and the 15 Playoff Points that go with it.

Photo Credit: Will Bellamy, Racing America

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