William Byron had a terrible experience in his first Coca-Cola 600, crashing a third of the way through and finishing next-to-last in the 2018 race.
His sophomore effort was significantly better: He started on the pole and finished ninth.
He’s looking for a similar, if not better, result in Sunday’s 600.
“It takes a lot of patience, a lot of adjustments, a lot of pit stops, things like that, so you just have to progress your way through the event,” Byron said.
Byron said he feels fine from the first two Darlington races this past Sunday and Wednesday, when he drove a combined 487 laps around the 1.366-mile track — the equivalent of 665 miles, 65 miles longer than the scheduled 600 miles he’ll run Sunday.
Byron acknowledged that he and crew chief Chad Knaus will have to improve long-run speed, which was a problem at times in the two races at Darlington.
He finished 35th there last Sunday due to a loose wheel, but rebounded to a 12th-place finish on Wednesday.
“We had some issues to work through in the Wednesday race that we didn’t really figure out until after the race, so that was kind of is what it is,” Byron said. “But the Sunday race, we had a really good car and obviously had the misfortune there with the loose wheel.
“(Darlington was) kind of a mixed bag. We weren’t as good on Wednesday, but I think we know why and we just have to work towards getting ready for the 600. We just have to try to carry over what we’ve been doing speed-wise at HMS.
“We’ve had some really good cars this year. We just have to put together solid races and have good execution. It sounds kind of boring and simple, but it’s really what it comes down to. Hopefully we’ll get to the end of the race and have the opportunity.”
In addition to hosting the 600, Charlotte Motor Speedway also will hold another Cup race Wednesday that will be 312 miles.
“You’re going to have a different feel just because of the ability everybody has, not just the driver’s ability, but the team’s ability to learn from the previous race and get better,” Byron said. “I guarantee you’ll probably have five or six guys that run well in one race that won’t run well in the other, or a new player that’s a dominant factor in each race is probably going to be different.
“I think you saw that at Darlington. Obviously, some of the players were the same at the front, but there were some different.
“So, I think that’s going to continue with these doubleheader type races where you have a couple of days to go back, review what happened, what went well, what didn’t go so well and make adjustments to your car or make adjustments as a driver to get better.”