William Byron Returns To New Smyrna’s Victory Lane With Dominant Super Late Model Win Monday

Story By: BRANDON WHITE / NASCAR – NEW SMYRNA BEACH, FL – Monday at the World Series of Asphalt Stock Car Racing at New Smyrna Speedway was an evening to remember for Donnie Wilson Motorsports.

Wilson’s cars claimed three of the top four positions in the evening’s super late model feature, and leading the brigade was four-time NASCAR Cup Series winner William Byron, who won twice in his first World Series of Asphalt last year.

Having gone winless since last year’s Blue Emu Maximum Pain Relief 400 at Martinsville Speedway, Byron was relieved to find his way back to Victory Lane and build some momentum heading into the Cup Series season.

“This feels awesome,” Byron said. “[Everyone at Donnie Wilson Motorsports] gave us a great car tonight. It’s nice to come in on short notice and have such a great car. I haven’t won a race in half a year, so it’s nice to do that again.”

Byron said the specific purpose of his trip to New Smyrna for the World Series of Asphalt was to perfect his craft. He believes he improves with every super late model appearance.

That efficiency was prevalent from the green flag, as Byron easily passed the pole-sitter in teammate William Sawalich and faced no pressure for the entire 35-lap feature.

Sawalich, who finished third in front of his other Donnie Wilson Motorsports teammate, Giovanni Ruggiero, found himself in an uphill battle on restarts stuck in the bottom groove. Despite coming up short of a second win on the week, Sawalich felt he gained valuable experience by following Byron.

“This is a crucial part of the learning process [at New Smyrna],” Sawalich said. “I was watching him on track and just trying to do the same things he was doing, and I felt that helped me a lot.”

Byron had seen the success Sawalich enjoyed in both super late model and pro late model competition during the 2022 season and knew he would have to be perfect on restarts to keep the talented young driver in his rearview mirror.

“I was nervous about William,” Byron said. “He’s raced a lot in these cars, so he knows what he is doing. He can have great restarts and maintain with you, so he made me feel nervous going into this race.”

With another night ahead for Byron at the World Series of Asphalt, he intends to keep mentoring both Sawalich and Ruggiero on the minute details that can make them more well-rounded on the track. But Byron admitted both are already mature competitors.

Byron would love to sweep both of his planned appearances at the 2023 World Series of Asphalt by defending his victory in the Clyde Hart Memorial 100 on Tuesday. He expects a more challenging outing with the Clyde Hart Memorial 100 being 65 laps longer than Monday’s race, yet he remains confident he can duplicate his performance.

“[Tuesday] is going to be more of the same,” Byron said. “It’s going to take a little bit more luck [in the Clyde Hart Memorial 100], but we just have to stay dialed in.”

The Clyde Hart Memorial 100 will serve as the headliner for the 2023 World Series of Asphalt’s fifth night.

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