Right Sides Only: Notes from the Blue-Emu Maximum Pain Relief 400 Crew Chief, Rudy Fugle


Mother's Day may be next month, but William Byron got his mom, Dana, a gift just a few weeks early.

Byron dedicated his Martinsville win to his mother at the site where just a year ago, she suffered a health event similar to a stroke. Dana was ultimately diagnosed with a brain tumor and in the months that followed, she underwent surgery, pneumonia, and radiation.

As he won his second race of the season for Hendrick Motorsports, Dana was there with him, sitting on top of the pit box as he declared that this win was for her.

Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images

While the Byron family celebrated, Rudy Fugle, crew chief for the No. 24 team, discussed the win and the strides that William has made, especially in his confidence behind the wheel.

"I think last year the playoffs were huge for us, just that experience, and if you look at our average running position probably in the entirety of the playoffs, it was really, really good. That’s when I noticed that confidence really, really there and growing.

"Then all off-season with the testing, whether it was good or bad, just growing and budding, deciding to run different kinds of cars and racing all the time, and he’s just been successful, winning trucks, winning late model races, and it’s just trending into something new.


"The confidence I’ve seen in him a long time ago when we were racing trucks and when I first met him after racing K&N, he’s really, really confident in himself," Fugle said.

Along with that confidence, Byron's entire team is working well together.

"Yeah, this team has done an amazing job. We have great engineers, great car chief who leads a group of mechanics, and really a huge depth at HMS, period. But the quality of race car that they’re putting out and the details, that has bled over to this car because everybody has got the same to start with, so the very minute details make a huge difference.


"To be able to trust in each other that all those details are getting met is what makes a big difference in the pace of the car most of the time, and then so we all believe in each other, we get along, we have a good time, and we all want to win just as bad. We’re not here just to show up and Cup race; we’re here to win," Fugle explained.

That attitude showed up in not only the Cup race this weekend, but also in the Camping World Truck Series race on Thursday night, which means Byron is taking home two grandfather clocks. 

Fugle also talked about the event from last year and how his young driver was affected by what happened to his mom.

"Yeah, I mean, it was a traumatic event. It happened during the race here last year. William has got a tight-knit family with his sister and his mom and his dad. Yeah, of course it affects him. He’s a professional, and he doesn’t really wear a bunch of his emotions on his sleeve, but you know it affects you. We’ve all gone through different things in our lives, and as much as we want to block it out, it affects us and what we do.


"He did an awesome job of trying to — getting through all that and still being successful and racing, but it’s amazing. Just so happy that a year anniversary for that to get a win. It’s pretty awesome," Fugle explained.


Stacey Owens lives just outside Music City USA. She's always wanted to be a NASCAR writer, so working as a columnist and support editor for Skirts and Scuffs allows her to live that dream most weekends throughout the season.
This self-admitted grammar nerd loves podcasts, playing with her dogs, and binge-watching programs with her husband.

Right Sides Only: Notes from the Blue-Emu Maximum Pain Relief 400 Crew Chief, Rudy Fugle Right Sides Only: Notes from the Blue-Emu Maximum Pain Relief 400 Crew Chief, Rudy Fugle Reviewed by Stacey Owens on Monday, April 11, 2022 Rating: 5