The Fairgrounds Speedway in Nashville, Tennessee is a legendary race track. Racing’s greatest drivers like Darrell Waltrip, Richard Petty, Dale Earnhardt and more have won on the 0.596-mile high banks through the years. Now, 18-year-old William Byron is hoping to add his name to that prestigious list of winners this weekend at the first ever North/South Super Late Model Challenge for the ARCA/CRA Super Series powered by JEGS and Southern Super Series presented by Sunoco.
Byron, a driver for Kyle Busch Motorsports in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series, said that Nashville was the first place he ever witnessed a Super Late Model race. He has raced there once before in a Pro Late Model, but now Byron finally gets to run there in a Super.
“It’s going to be a lot different in a Super Late Model now versus the Pro Late Model,” Bryon said. “I don’t know how much of a gauge I have for the track. But I’m looking forward to it and seeing what we can do. I think it’s going to be a good weekend.”
The race format this weekend is something that Byron has never experienced before. Each series will run a 50-lap points race on Friday evening. The top 12 finishers from each race will transfer directly into Saturday’s 75-lap Challenge race. Those that don’t finish in the top 12 will have to race their way into the Challenge race from the last-chance race.
At this point Byron said he’s taking a kind of “wait and see” approach towards the race format. He doesn’t know what to expect from it, but he knows it’ll be exciting.
“I don’t really know what to think of the format,” he said. “Lately I’m used to running 250-lap races. So now doing 50 laps one night and a 75-lapper next I guess that kind of frees me up to not really have to conserve tires or anything like that. I think it’ll be exciting for the fans in that respect because there won’t be tire management. But at the same time I have no idea what to expect.”
The 2015 NASCAR K&N Pro Series East champion will be racing a Late Model out of the KBM stable, along with his KBM teammate, Christopher Bell. Byron said the nerves and pressure of racing for KBM has finally started to subside.
“Now that we have some of those Truck races under our belt and have had some success and have finished solid in the Late Models too, the pressure is really just from myself and trying to get wins for them and see what we can do,” he said. “We obviously all want to win. We just haven’t gotten that first win yet this year. We’re looking to get that and that would be ideal this weekend.”
In addition to Bell, Byron will also be joined on the race track by one of his other KBM teammates in Cody Coughlin who will be racing for his family-owned team.
With three KBM Truck Series teammates out on the track together, Byron said there’s always some bragging rights on the line.
“Christopher and I get along really well and we’re at the track together almost every weekend when we’re both racing on asphalt. We’re definitely competitive and trying to do the best we can for the both of us. There’s a little bit of that. Obviously you want to win the race and to do that you have to beat your teammate. I want to win the race, and I think all three of us have that idea.”
The North/South Super Late Model Challenge takes place on Friday, April 8 and Saturday, April 9. Both days of racing action can be seen live on Speed51 TV via a live pay-per-view stream beginning on Friday with qualifying. To purchase your Speed51 TV ticket, click here.
-By Rob Blount, Speed51.com Southeast Editor – Twitter: @RobBlount
-Photo Credit: William Byron Facebook