William Byron Claims 2018 NASCAR Rookie of the Year Honors

The first-year Hendrick Motorsports driver beat out Darrell Wallace Jr. for the award.

William Bryon is the 2018 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Rookie of the Year, NASCAR announced Thursday. He clinched the honor with a ninth-place finish in the Can-Am 500 at ISM Raceway near Phoenix on Nov. 4.

“We are proud of William Byron and the No. 24 Camaro ZL1 team for winning the 2018 Cup Series Rookie of the Year title,” Chevrolet U.S. Vice President of Performance Vehicles and Motorsports Jim Campbell said in a press release from Chevrolet. “It’s great to have William on Team Chevy and we look forward to more great things from him in the future.”

Team owner Rick Hendrick moved Byron up to NASCAR’s Cup Series to drive the No. 24 Chevrolet after the driver won the 2017 Xfinity Series championship as a driver for JR Motorsports, co-owned by Hendrick and Dale Earnhardt Jr. Byron had four top-10 finishes in 36 races, including a best finish of sixth at Pocono Raceway.

William Byron takes top newcomer honors with iconic 24.

William Byron takes top newcomer honors with iconic 24.

, William Byron drives the iconic No. 24 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet at Auto Cup Speedway on March 17, 2018., Getty Images for NASCAR

“I would say I’m most proud of how we’ve grown or how I’ve grown,” Byron said. “There’s been a lot of things to learn, so just how I’ve improved those things or how people have helped me improve those things, and looking forward to next year, what we have there.”

Byron is one of two rookies who competed full-time in the NASCAR Cup Series, the other being Darrell Wallace Jr., driver of the No. 43 Richard Petty Motorsports Ford. Byron led Wallace in rookie points, 574 to 455, heading into Sunday’s season finale, the Ford EcoBoost 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway. Wallace has one fewer top-10 finish than Byron, but he has one top-five, a career-best runner-up finish in the season-opening Daytona 500 in February.