Back in August of 2016, Hendrick Motorsports signed William Byron to a multi-year agreement, which would bring him to the NASCAR Xfinity Series with JR Motorsports for the 2017 season. At the time of the announcement, no other details were made available about Byron’s move to JRM, but on Monday, the team shed some light on that information.
Liberty University, which sponsored Byron during his time with JR Motorsports’ late model team in 2014 and 2015, as well as his time in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series with Kyle Busch Motorsports in 2016, will be back on Byron’s No. 9 Chevrolet for 17 of the 33 races in the 2017 season, beginning with the season opener at Daytona next month. In addition, Liberty will also serve as an associate sponsor in the 16 remaining races on the schedule.
Byron is coming off of a rookie season in the Truck Series that saw him score a record seven wins, 11 top-five finishes, 16 top-10 finishes, six poles, 727 laps led, and an average finish of 9.2 in 23 starts. Those impressive numbers led Byron to Rookie of the Year honors and a fifth place finish in points after falling just short of making the championship finale at Homestead.
“Welcoming back both William and reuniting with Liberty University, it feels like a homecoming for us,” said Kelley Earnhardt Miller, general manager of JR Motorsports. “It’s remarkable to see how quickly William has advanced his talents since he drove for our Late Model team. With the support from Liberty, we have a strong platform for him to have success at the Xfinity level.”
“We here at Liberty have watched William grow, as a racer, as a student, and as a young champion for Christ,” said Jerry Falwell, Liberty University chancellor. “We are proud of his achievements and are eager to see him continue to reach new heights.”
Along with the sponsorship news, JR Motorsports also announced that Byron will be partnering with crew chief Dave Elenz for the 2017 season. Elenz had been a crew chief on the No. 88 car for JRM in 2015 and 2016, leading the team to two wins in 2015 with Kevin Harvick and two wins in 2016 with Chase Elliott and team owner Dale Earnhardt, Jr.
“It’s a privilege to have Liberty University on board with us in 2017,” said Byron, a Liberty University freshman taking online classes. “I’ve been honored to have had them as a partner the last few years, and I’m excited to take them into the NASCAR Xfinity Series this season.
“I’m also looking forward to working with Dave [Elenz, crew chief]. He brings a lot to the table in terms of experience and leadership in this series. That will go a long way in helping our No. 9 team on the track this year.”
The exact races that Liberty will serve as primary sponsor, aside from the season opener at Daytona, were not made available, but JRM noted that the sponsorship schedule, as well as sponsorship details for the remaining 16 races, would be announced at a later date.