Report: William Byron, 19, to drive No. 5 NASCAR for Hendrick Motorsports in 2018 – CBSSports.com

William Byron is expected to move up from the NASCAR Xfinity Series to the Cup level and drive the No. 5 car for Hendrick Motorsports next year, according to multiple reports.

The move comes after Hendrick announced that it would part ways with driver Kasey Kahne at the end of the 2017 season after a six-year run. Kahne will continue to contend for a championship this season after winning the Brickyard 400.

At just 19 years old, Byron is one of the top up-and-coming drivers in the sport, winning three Xfinity races in addition to winning the 2015 K&N Pro Series East title, as well as seven races in the 2016 Camping World Truck Series where he won Rookie of the Year.

Byron signed a multi-year contract with Hendrick Motorsports in August of 2016, and will join young drivers Chase Elliott and Alex Bowman in addition to seven-time NASCAR champion Jimmie Johnson in the Cup Series.

There had been speculation that perhaps Matt Kenseth, Kurt Busch or even Carl Edwards would join NASCAR’s top team in a short-term role to give Byron enough time to get ready, but it appears Rick Hendrick is already convinced. Kenseth could be in line for a move to the No. 41 of Stewart-Haas Racing if Busch can’t renegotiate a deal.

As for Edwards, it was interesting to speculate about his return, but with the Hendrick cars being filled, it’s going to be hard to believe that something could entice him to return. Edwards stated at Sonoma Raceway in June that he has no interest in coming back to the sport.

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