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William Byron is NASCAR’s next huge breakout star in 2021

William Byron won his second career NASCAR Cup Series race on Sunday in dominating fashion. Here is why Byron is NASCAR's next breakout star in the making.

Nov 8, 2020; Avondale, Arizona, USA; NASCAR driver William Byron (24) during the NASCAR Cup Series Championship at Phoenix Raceway. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

William Byron won his first career non-superspeedway race at Homestead-Miami Speedway on Sunday evening after taking the lead away from Kyle Larson and Martin Truex Jr. to dominate the Final Stage. Byron, 23, led 107 laps and won Stage 2 to secure six playoff points that will translate to the postseason.

Byron is also the eighth driver in NASCAR Cup Series history to win multiple races under the age of 24 years old. There were many people who skeptical of the North Carolina native, but he proved many people wrong on Sunday after a majority of the offseason talk was about his three Hendrick Motorsports teammates.

With a playoff berth now secured for the 2021 season, let’s take a look at some tracks where William Byron could win at and what the next step for him will be.

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What tracks could William Byron compete at moving forward?

William Byron has now won at Daytona International Speedway and Homestead-Miami Speedway in the NASCAR Cup Series. There have been other tracks that have been good for him, so there are plenty of opportunities for Byron to become the first multi-time winner of the season.

Byron has raced well at Phoenix Raceway with top-10 finishes in the last six races there. While he hasn’t finished higher than ninth place, he has shown consistency at a track where the 2021 NASCAR Cup Series championship will be decided. It’ll be important for Byron to work on his car for that reason when they go there on March 14th.

Another track that the 23-year-old driver has been good at is Pocono Raceway. Byron has been great at Pocono, which has been his top track since 2018 in terms of finishing position. He has one top-5 finish and four top-10 finishes in the last six races. If Rudy Fugle can bring him a good car to the Pocono doubleheader, he could have a real shot at winning one or both races.

Road courses have been one of Byron’s strong suits, despite a mediocre run last weekend at the Daytona Road Course. Byron has three top-10 finishes in five races at Watkins Glen and the Charlotte Roval. There are also new tracks such as the Indianapolis Road Course, Circuit of the Americas, and Road America. The North Carolina native could be competitive at all of those tracks.

William Byron can most likely win at many more tracks than that if he has a newly found speed, but those are some of the best opportunities he’s going to have for more wins this season.

What is the next step for William Byron?

What is the next step for William Byron?
Feb 14, 2021; Daytona Beach, Florida, USA; NASCAR Cup Series driver William Byron (24) makes a pit stop during the Daytona 500 at Daytona International Speedway. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

William Byron checked off many boxes on Sunday evening by winning at Homestead. There were questions of whether he could successfully win a race based on speed at a mile a half track in the NASCAR Cup Series and he achieved that goal. He also dominated his first race too.

The next step for Byron is going to include more consistent runs while competing for stage wins and race wins all season. Byron finished outside of the top-25 positions in the first two races of the season and then followed up with a victory on the first non-wildcard race of the season.

Last year, Byron did not finish a race four times and on many occasions, he had issues throughout the race such as an incident or a tire issue that derailed his day. Byron needs to limit those issues this season and look to compete and earn more stage points.

If the speed Byron showed on Sunday evening is any indicator of what this season might be like, anything less than another win and stage wins would be a disappointment. He had to overcome bad pit stops and crazy restarts, which he benefited from, the entire race until the last restart.

Byron has already won one race this season to clinch himself into the NASCAR playoffs and if he continues to show that speed, there are no reasons why he can’t win one or more races going forward.

Whatever happens with William Byron in the coming weeks and months, he is the next star in the making as he has shown why Rick Hendrick handpicked him from Kyle Busch Motorsports and then paired him with his most successful crew chief Rudy Fugle this season.

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