K&N East champ William Byron to make Truck series debut at Phoenix

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The future begins Friday for William Byron.

The 17-year-old driver who just finished a championship campaign in the K&N Pro Series East will make his debut in the Camping World Truck Series in the Lucas Oil 150 at Phoenix International Raceway.

Byron, a member of the current NASCAR Next class, will make the start in the No. 9 Toyota for Kyle Busch Motorsports, the team he will compete for full time in 2016. The start comes after the Charlotte, N.C. native didn’t start racing until 2013.

He earned four wins in the KNPSE but he’s keeping his expectations low for this weekend.

“My goal for my first NASCAR Camping World Truck start is to get a top 10 and run all of the laps,” Byron said in a team release. “I can’t wait to get in my Toyota Tundra and be able to see what I can do, or need to work on. It will be a great weekend.”

Before he climbs into the No. 9 Truck sponsored by Liberty University, Byron will compete at Phoenix in his second K&N Pro Series West race. His first came at Sonoma Raceway.

“By running the K&N West race, I will be comfortable with the track before I get out there in the truck,” Byron said. “This will make it a lot easier and I can focus on just the difference between the truck and the K&N car.”

Byron will be in one of four trucks in the race owned by Kyle Busch. In the CWTS last four visits to the 1-mile track, it has been a Kyle Busch Motorsports truck that has ended the night in victory lane. Kyle Busch won in 2011, then Brian Scott in 2012 and Erik Jones won the last two seasons.

“I have talked to Kyle a little bit about what to expect when I get into a truck for the first time, so I feel well prepared and ready to go,” Byron said. “I’m sure they will all be great resources once we get to the track. Now it’s just about getting in the Liberty University Tundra and seeing what I can do.”

Byron won’t be the only driver making their Truck series debut. Also racing at Phoenix will be Rico Abreu. The 2014 USAC midget national champion and NASCAR Next member will race the No. 31 for NTS Motorsports.

Abreu served as a teammate to Byron in the KNPSE at Hscott Motorsports with Justin Mark.

Phoenix native Cassie Gannis will also be making her Truck debut.