Byron To Hendrick Motorsorts in 2018

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By Caleb Whisler, Staff Writer

With the release of Kasey Kahne announced earlier this week, Hendrick Motorsports announced Wednesday that William Byron would move from the NASCAR XFINITY Series to the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series in the No. 5 Chevrolet.

Rick Hendrick, owner of Hendrick Motorsports, talked to Byron on Sunday and asked if he was ready of have a ride in NASCAR’s premier division. Bryon’s response was “I’m ready,” with no hesitation.

The decision to replace Kahne with Byron was performance driven with a focus on the future.

“I have to take responsibility for that. For whatever reason, we have not performed in that car for whatever reason. I take the blame myself. We just haven’t gotten the job done like we should. Sometimes when have those situations, you have to change something up to get a fresh start. I am not blaming anybody,” said Hendrick.

Hendrick Motorsports also announced on Wednesday that Axalta and Liberty University will cover majority of the races next season, but more details will be announced at a later date. Hendrick did confirm that Axalta will be sponsoring both Byron and Alex Bowman next season.

“It’s been incredible to work with Liberty University and to learn about Axalta this year. I think it has been special to take them to victory lane a few times and to meet new customers. I know everyone at Axalta is excited about this. For me, it’s special to have partners like that,” said Byron.

When asked at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, Hendrick told reporters that Byron will be in a XFINITY car for 2018. However, with the announcement today, those plans are still to be determined.

For Kahne, Mr. Hendrick is still committed to him and his future.

“I have an obligation to Kasey. I am paying two drivers. I am also trying to help Kasey in another situation in which we could be involved helping another team. It is not about the money. It is about building for the future,” says Hendrick.

With that comment from Hendrick, social media went into speculation that GMS Racing would be moving to Cup in 2018. However, Hendrick was quick to not say who they are talking to.

“I am not going to mention the team. I know there are several situations that we are talking to, kinda an alliance, which would be good for everyone. We are working it. We will see how it develops,” Hendrick stated.

Despite the announcement today, Hendrick and Byron remain focused on the task at hand for the remainder of 2017.

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