Spire Motorsports‘ NASCAR Camping World Truck Series programme will continue to put its Hendrick Motorsports partnership to use for Thursday’s Martinsville Speedway race. Two days before the event, the team announced Cup Series driver William Byron will be in the #7 Chevrolet Silverado RST for just his second Truck start since dominating the series as a rookie in 2016.
As a member of Kyle Busch Motorsports in 2016, Byron set the Truck Series on fire as he led all drivers in wins with seven. Although he was a championship favourite, he missed the final round due to an engine failure in the penultimate race, though he won the season finale to settle for a fifth-place points finish. Unsurprisingly, he received Rookie of the Year for his campaign.
Five years later, Byron returned to the Trucks for Rackley WAR at Nashville Superspeedway to prepare for the inaugural Cup race there the next day. However, another blown engine relegated him to a thirty-sixth.
The #7 will be sponsored by HendrickCars.com and sport a livery modelled after the late Ricky Hendrick‘s GMAC race cars. The paint scheme is currently used by Byron’s Cup team-mate Kyle Larson, while fellow Hendrick Motorsports driver Alex Bowman also sported the design for his one-off Truck start with Spire at COTA. Bowman was in late contention after a furious charge in overtime before last-lap contact with leaders Kyle Busch and Stewart Friesen sent them wide; he was classified twenty-sixth.
Byron is a three-time Cup winner, most recently at Atlanta in March, and he dominated Sunday’s Richmond race before falling back on older tyres and settling for third. Seven races into the 2022 season, he is fourth in points.
In eight career Cup starts at Martinsville, Byron has four top tens and a best finish of second in the 2019 fall event. When the Truck Series visited the Virginia short track twice in 2016, he scored top tens in both including a third in the first.
“I’m really excited to get in Spire’s truck this week at Martinsville,” said Byron. “Even though it’s been a couple years since I was in a truck at Martinsville, I had good runs before with a couple top-10 finishes, including a third-place result. I’m excited to see how things have changed since that time. Plus, any more track time at Martinsville is always good since it’s such a rhythm-based track. Bono (crew chief Kevin Manion) and the #7 truck ran well when they were at COTA and he has done a great job at Martinsville in the past, as well. It should be a fun time.”
Spire, a Cup team that fields two cars, expanded into the Trucks for 2022 to run select events. Xfinity Series rookie Austin Hill piloted the #7 in the team’s maiden race at Daytona and finished fifteenth.
“We’re thrilled to have William Byron behind the wheel of our #7 truck Thursday night at Martinsville Speedway,” commented team co-owner Jeff Dickerson. “200 laps under the lights at a short track like Martinsville is what racers live for. Door-to-door, side-by-side racing is the type of competition our sport was built upon. The on-track product will be second-to-none and emotions are guaranteed to be on full display. Obviously, we’re not racing for points so it’s a lot of fun to put William in the seat, pull out all the stops and see if we can pick up our first Camping World Truck Series win.”