CREW CHIEF: David Elenz
TEAM: JR Motorsports
POINTS: 2017 Xfinity Series Champion
WINS: 4 (Iowa, Daytona 2, Indianapolis, Phoenix 2)
LAPS LED: 262
TOP 5s: 12
TOP 10s: 22
POLES: 2 (Phoenix 1, Dover 2)
WHAT WENT RIGHT: Byron continued to establish himself as one of the most promising young stars in NASCAR racing. He had stiff competition, but still managed to hold off his top challengers to win the Xfinity championship. His inherent talent and success – he’s earned a combined 11 wins between the Xfinity Series and Truck Series in 2016 and 2017 – led to him being promoted to the NASCAR Cup series in 2018, replacing Kasey Kahne.
WHAT WENT WRONG: It’s hard to pick much of anything wrong for Byron, who won both the Xfinity championship and also Rookie of the Year. However, there were a couple of glitches during the season. First, he crashed out in back-to-back races in the spring at Richmond (30th) and Talladega (36th). His only other 30th or worst finish was due to a faulty transmission at Chicago.
WHAT TO EXPECT IN 2018: After strong performances in 2016 in a Truck and 2017 in an Xfinity car, the 20-year-old Byron is now in NASCAR’s highest echelon in 2018. Even with his immense talent, don’t be surprised to see him have rookie struggles at time in a Cup car, particularly early in the season as he starts to get his sea legs under himself, so to speak. Then again, some observers predict Byron has the ability and chops to surprise a lot and potentially far exceed initial expectations by many. Does that mean he could reach the Championship 4 round his first time out? We wouldn’t be surprised at all if that happens.