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Liberty University car wins NASCAR race in Atlanta; Jerry Falwell Jr. celebrates

NASCAR,
William Byron, driver of the #24 Liberty University Chevrolet, celebrates after winning the NASCAR Cup Series Folds of Honor QuikTrip 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway on March 20, 2022, in Hampton, Georgia. |

Liberty University-sponsored driver William Byron won NASCAR’s Folds of Honor QuikTrip 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway Sunday, the third win of his career and the first of the season.

Byron, who is a junior studying strategic communication through Liberty’s Online Programs, won the race after starting in the 12th position. He drove the No. 24 Liberty University Chevrolet for Hendrick Motorsports. 

In an interview after the race, Byron said many changes were made to the car from Saturday’s practice before the race on Sunday. He credited his crew.

“Lots of changes with this next-gen car, but the Liberty University Chevrolet was awesome there,” the 24-year-old said. 

“I think these fans saw one heck of a race,” he added. “It was certainly long from my seat. It was mentally taxing [but] I definitely enjoyed it. It was lots of drafting and lots of crazy moments, but I’m glad we could come out with a win. It’s super exciting.”

The next races featuring the Liberty-sponsored Byron will be April 3 at Richmond Raceway and then Easter Sunday, April 17, at the Bristol Motor Speedway for a dirt track event, according to a statement from Liberty University.

Sunday’s race was held at the freshly remodeled Atlanta Motor Speedway with new pavement. There were 46 lead changes among 20 different drivers, both track records. 

Twenty-eight of the 37 cars that participated in the race were involved in collisions. Byron was just ahead of a crash that occurred on the last lap.

Former Liberty University president Jerry Falwell, Jr., who resigned in 2020 amid a sex scandal involving his wife and another man, took to his Twitter account to congratulate Byron on his latest victory.

“Many thought it was a long shot when I … decided to sponsor [Byron] as a teenager in @NASCAR but he soon partnered with @TeamHendrick and the rest is history,” he tweeted. “Congratulations William and Rick Hendrick! The big risk is bearing fruit beyond belief now for LU, WB & TH.”

Last October, Liberty reached a new five-year deal with Hendrick Motorsports to continue its official sponsorship of Byron and his racing vehicle, a Chevrolet Camaro ZL1.

“We are honored to partner with and support Hendrick Motorsports,” said Liberty President Jerry Prevo in a statement last year. “We feel this partnership will benefit our students at Liberty University in many ways.”

Byron’s first NASCAR Series win came in August 2020 at the Coke Zero Sugar 400 from Daytona International Speedway in Florida. In 2018, he was awarded the Sunoco Rookie of the Year honors. 

Byron earned four wins in the NASCAR Xfinity Series in 2017 and picked up seven wins in the NASCAR Camping World Trucks Series in 2016, setting a record for most wins by a first-year driver.

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