William Byron during practice for the NASCAR Truck Series race. (AP Photo/NKP, Nigel Kinrade)
PHILADELPHIA -- Looking for the scoop on who will replace Dale Earnhardt Jr. next season?
The only one William Byron could provide was some cookies and cream at a Bassetts ice cream stand inside Philadelphia's Reading Terminal Market.
— Dan Gelston (@APgelston) May 9, 2017
The 19-year-old Byron was among a handful of Xfinity Series drivers who toured the city to promote the NASCAR races at Dover International Speedway and Pocono Raceway. Byron, who won seven Truck Series races last season, took a turn behind the stand making milkshakes and handing out ice cream cones.
— William Byron (@WilliamByron) May 9, 2017
Byron is on the short list of drivers considered to replace Earnhardt in the No. 88 Chevrolet next season at Hendrick Motorsports. Earnhardt will retire at the end of the season. Team owner Rick Hendrick needs a fourth driver to join a driver lineup that includes seven-time champion Jimmie Johnson, Chase Elliott and Kasey Kahne.
"That's up to the people at Hendrick to figure out," Byron said. "Any time I talk to Mr. H, it's mostly about the race that just happened or what we're looking forward to the next couple of weeks. Everyone over there will make all the right decisions."
Byron said he didn't know if he'd get promoted to Cup next season or in 2019. He said he had a great relationship with Earnhardt _ who would like to offer input on his replacement.
— Dale Earnhardt Jr. (@DaleJr) May 3, 2017
"I actually drove bikes with him the other day; a few of us did," Byron said. "Really neat to hang out with him and just get his perspective on things. I drove for him in the late models a few years ago, as well. It's neat to be around him and witness how he kind of handles the fans and everything."
Byron has two top-five finishes in nine starts in Xfinity this season.
Justin Allgaier, Michael Annett, Cole Custer, Spencer Gallagher, Daniel Hemric, Brandon Jones, Ben Kennedy, Blake Koch, Brennan Poole, Ryan Reed and Darrell "Bubba" Wallace Jr. all hit popular tourist spots in Philly to promote the race.
— Kaulig Racing (@KauligRacing) May 9, 2017
Pocono and Dover each had 5,000 free tickets to hand out around town to the Xfinity races.