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Daytona 500 Pole Sitter Is William Byron Of Charlotte

William Byron, 21, of Charlotte has the top starting spot in Sunday's Daytona 500.
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When NASCAR's top racers start their engines Sunday for the season-opening Daytona 500 in Florida, a young Charlotte-born racer named William Byron will be in the pole position.

Byron drove his Hendrick Motor Sports race car just over 194 miles an hour last weekend to earn the top starting spot in NASCAR's most famous race. Afterward on FOX Sports, he gave credit to the crew that built his car.

"This thing's fast, it's obviously a lot of credit to the guys, so looking forward to next Sunday," he said.

At 21, Byron is the second youngest to win the pole at Daytona, after Hendrick teammate Chase Elliott three years ago. Two years ago, he won the championship in NASCAR's second-level Xfinity Series. Last year, he won rookie of the year in the top-level Monster Energy NASCAR Cup series. Now, he has a shot at winning Daytona.

Byron was born in Charlotte, went to Charlotte Country Day School and now - when he's not racing - attends Liberty University. Unlike many drivers his age who started as kids, he's only been racing for six years. He's not from a racing family and actually learned on a racing simulator. He calls his career "a huge blessing." Here he is at Daytona media day Wednesday:

"You get to race cars for a living, it's pretty awesome. There's a lot of other things I could be doing. I could be going to normal school all the time, which I still do all the time, but it's not the same, so I love it. It's fun," Byron said.

You'll find Byron on Sunday in the No. 24 car, once driven by legend Jeff Gordon.

So what are his chances? It's been 19 years since the pole sitter won Daytona.

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