Student Life

Meet William Byron

By Ted Allen, October 18, 2016

NASCAR Truck Series rookie joins freshman class

Star athletes are no strangers to Liberty University, with weekly Convocations and annual Commencement exercises bringing some of the best in their respective sports to campus. Rarely, however, do they enroll as residential freshmen.

William Byron, 18, a Charlotte, N.C., native and NASCAR Camping World Truck Series rookie sensation, drives the Liberty-sponsored No. 9 Toyota Tundra. He has been to Victory Lane several times this season, surprising the competition by seizing the series points lead with 12 top-10 finishes and an unprecedented six wins during his first year in the series, breaking the long-held rookie record of five. He recently signed a deal with Hendrick Motorsports to race for JR Motorsports in the Xfinity Series starting in late February.

William Byron's No. 9 Liberty University Toyota Tundra.While driving to Charlotte in his own personal Tundra to do simulator training with his Kyle Busch Motorsports team on Sept. 7, Byron talked about his successful season in the truck series and first few weeks of campus life at Liberty.

Follow Byron at WILLIAMBYRON.COM. For more from Byron, read “12 Questions with William Byron in USA Today Sports.

Q: How has your transition to being a full-time student at Liberty gone so far, and what do you like most about college life?

A: These past couple weeks have been crazy, moving in on campus and getting used to where my classes are and everything like that. I’m enjoying all the campus has to offer and just getting to know and meet a bunch of new people.  My roommate is from Colorado, so he’s from a little bit different environment, but he’s been great.

William Byron moves into his residence hall in August.

William Byron moves into his residence hall in August. (Photo by Joel Coleman)

Q: How many classes are you taking, and what are you planning to major in?

A: I’m taking four classes this semester, three on campus and one online. I’m going to pursue a business communications degree.

Q: You’ve won more races in the Camping World Truck Series than any other rookie in series history. Did you expect to experience so much success so early in your career?

A: It was a surprise when I was just starting in racing, and I realized that I could do this. I started to win races. From that point on, I always kind of believed in myself, and it’s been good this year to get the satisfaction of knowing I’m on the right track — I’m doing the right things both on the racetrack and off of it. The key has been communication with the race team and just trying to make sure that we show up prepared for the racetrack every weekend. I’ve been doing my homework on the side, making sure I’m on top of the things I need to do to get better.

Q: You began racing online at 13 through iRacing, and you started competing on the track at 15. How does that attest to the effectiveness of online education?

A: Anything you do online, whether education or racing or learning how to fly a plane, is very beneficial. It gives you experience, and it serves the purpose, both in education and racing, of honing your skills so you can do things like get a degree or grow a career in NASCAR.

Q: How much is your faith a factor in what you do?

A: Racing is so unpredictable that you can’t control the outcome most of the time. That’s why God is so important in my life. Winning a race can’t be the center of your life, and it never has been for me. I’ve been able to take racing and be relaxed about it to the degree that I can still go out there and be competitive, but I know that my faith is center, and I can rely on that all of the time. I feel like getting into racing was God’s plan for me, so I can spread my faith through the racing garage and with race fans — that’s why it’s been so special.

Q: What is it going to be like to work with Hendrick Motorsports, racing for JR Motorsports, with some of your favorite names in NASCAR like Jimmie Johnson and Dale Earnhardt Jr. next year in the Xfinity Series?

A: It’s really a dream come true to sign with Hendrick Motorsports. I think it’s going to be a great fit for me. I raced at JR Motorsports in a Late Model (stock car), and I know some of the guys over there, so I’m looking forward to that. Those guys have so much knowledge and so many championships in the sport, so I’ve got to make sure that I value and take advantage of this opportunity. Right now, I really just want to focus on finishing out this year with the truck series the way we started. We want to get a championship not only for Liberty University but also for Kyle Busch Motorsports and Toyota and everyone involved. That’s always been our goal.

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