William Byron started the 2021 NASCAR Cup Series season as fast as his No. 24 car. In 11 starts, the 23-year-old has nine top 10s, including a win at Homestead, the second win of his career. He’s sitting third in the points standings and all but guaranteed a spot in the playoffs.
All of the good news on the track came to a screeching halt this week when the Hendrick Motorsports driver opened up about his personal life. He announced his mom experienced a frightening medical episode at Martinsville a few weeks ago, and after weeks of tests, doctors have made a diagnosis that changed his own perspective on life.
William Byron off to a fast start in 2021
After earning his first Cup Series win in the second race at Daytona in 2020, expectations were high for William Byron and the No. 24 team heading into 2021. He has delivered early in the season.
Following a pair of disappointing finishes at both Daytona races to open the season, Byron completely flipped the script. And he’s written quite an impressive story since. That first week after Daytona, the 23-year-old from Charlotte dominated at Homestead, leading 102 laps of the 267-lap event, en route to capturing his second career Cup Series win since his arrival in 2018.
That initial win served as a springboard, and Byron has put together an impressive run since, consistently running near the front of each race. In the eight races since Miami, the Hendrick Motorsports No. 24 team has finished in the top 10 each time, with a couple of top 5s at Martinsville (4th) and Talladega (2nd).
Byron announces his mom’s medical scare and diagnosis
All of Byron’s success to start the 2021 season took a back seat this week when he announced the scary situation his family has endured over the last few weeks. He said it started back at Martinsville when his mother began experiencing numbness in her right arm and soon after began having trouble with her speech, similar to a stroke victim.
Byron said she was taken to a local hospital, where testing and scans revealed a mass located near her brain. She was transported to a Charlotte hospital and after more testing, doctors discovered she has a rare lymphoma that is treatable. He indicated treatment will start soon.
“My Mom is in great spirits, she has had SO much support from her family and friends. It has been really warming to see all of the people that have been there for her!! I love her so much and we have been able to spend time with her at home as well as at the hospital throughout the last few weeks. She is a fighter and knows that the process will not be easy but she has a great support group, and my Dad has been there every step of the way. It has changed all of our perspective on life in a short time.”
NASCAR family shows support
While most drivers likely reached out with personal messages to Byron, many in the NASCAR family responded to his post on Twitter.
“We are thinking about you and your family, William. Know that you and Dana have the support of your 600+ teammates during this difficult time,” the Hendrick Motorsports account replied.
“Sending all the positive thoughts and prayers!” the account for Dale Earnhardt Jr’.s Dirty Mo Media posted. Byron drove for Earnhardt’s JR Motorsports team on the Xfinity Series and won the championship in 2017.
The Byron family has a tough road ahead. But the driver, who often has a smile on his face, will be a huge help to his mom and family with his positive attitude, and the support he brings from the entire NASCAR community.