William Byron is moving to the NASCAR Cup Series next season to replace Kasey Kahne in the No. 5 car for Hendrick Motorsports, and the 19-year-old is currently competing in the Xfinity Series.
Byron has been getting advice from NASCAR veteran Elliott Sadler, who has raced in nearly 450 Cup Series races throughout his career. Sadler told NBC’s NASCAR America that he believes Byron is a “special” driver.
“That kid is special,” Sadler said. “I want to be that guy (that helps), because I had that guy. I had Jeff Green when I started, I had Dale Jarrett, people I could lean on all the time that could help the learning curve.”
Byron has three wins this season the Xfinity Series, but he is second in the points behind Sadler. He will transition into the Cup Series next year, making veteran Kasey Kahne a free agent.
Sadler said Byron already acts like a NASCAR veteran.
“He’s a student of the game,” Sadler said. “I’ve been in meetings with young kids that come along, we’ve been in the meeting and kids are still playing on their phones. I’m in a meeting with William … and he’s still learning and taking notes. He’s got great questions.
“We’re usually sitting beside each other on the airplanes and we’re talking about things for that particular weekend. I can’t help him drive the car faster. But I can help him maybe with restarts and getting on pit road. Maybe things to think about on Friday to maybe make your car better for Saturday.”
Byron will only be 20 next season, but many believe he has the tools to compete at the highest level of the sport.
(h/t NBC Sports)