Hendrick Motorsports didn’t waste any time naming a replacement for Kasey Kahne.
William Byron is slated to make the jump to the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series in 2018, piloting the No. 5 for Hendrick, the team confirmed Wednesday. Byron’s promotion to NASCAR’s premier national series comes roughly five years after he began racing stock cars.
The announcement followed reports Tuesday that the 19-year-old Byron would be named as Kahne’s replacement by the end of the week.
“It hasn’t sunk in yet,” Byron said in a statement. “Mr. Hendrick has built such a great team. The people at Hendrick Motorsports have dedicated their lives to giving their drivers the best chance to win every weekend. I have a responsibility to them to work hard and put everything I have into this opportunity. They need to know I’m always giving 100 percent because that’s what they do.”
Although the addition of Byron means that Hendrick’s four-driver lineup will have an average age of just 27 when they compete in the 2018 Daytona 500, team owner Rick Hendrick seemingly isn’t concerned about that.
“At every step, William has proven how quickly he can adapt,” Hendrick said, via a press release. “Some drivers have raw talent and some have a strong work ethic. William has both. It’s impressive to see a young guy who never gets rattled and instinctively knows how to communicate with his team. That level of commitment, poise and pure ability is rare at any age. I think he’s just scratching the surface.”
The team’s long-time corporate partner Axalta Coating Systems and Liberty University, which sponsors Byron in the Xfinity Series, will serve as the primary sponsors on his No. 5. Hendrick said the details of their multi-year partnership deals will be revealed at a later date.
Thumbnail photo via Mike DiNovo/USA TODAY Sports Images