This weekend I had a last minute opportunity to drive in the XFINITY Series for the MBM #13 team at Bristol. Man was I excited because Bristol puts on the best racing of the year! Before I get started on our weekend, I want to thank Carl Long and Derek White for having me back in their race car!
Heading into Bristol, both Carl and I knew we were going to have to make the field based on speed with both cars having a tough start to the season and having minimum points. What’s great about having a 2 car team is we went to the track with 2 different setups to find which would be best for the both of us. As we practiced on Friday, it seemed that both cars were actually very close to one another on speed so we both kept the setup we came to the track with.
As we rolled over to Saturday, we were focused on putting down a great qualifying lap to put us into the big show. The clock for qualifying started and we were the first to hit the track. After putting down a solid lap, we cooled the motor down and prepared it to make one more run with the tires having heat in them. As I returned to the track for our 2nd run I noticed we had an issue. Had to abort the run and bring the car to pit road to discover we had a crack in the radiator.
Qualifying finished up and even without the 2nd run we hoped for, we discovered we were in the race. So now the MBM team went to work. We had to weld up the crack in the radiator which is no easy task and on top of that we didn’t have a whole lot of time before the start of the race. I’m so proud of how everyone came together in pitching in to help and surely enough they got the radiator fixed and we were ready to race.
I knew starting on the tail of the field would be tough but as the green flag dropped for the race, we were able to take our Dodge Challenger up a few spots right away. A caution flew early and we had just been put a lap down around the 50 lap mark. Knowing we had a good peace we took the wave around to be put on the lead lap. Running on older tires now we knew we were going to have to go to work. The race went green flag for another 85 laps before the next caution and let me tell you we had maxed out that set of tires!
Finally after making our pit stop at the 135 lap mark of 200 which would end up being our only stop of the race, we were back racing on fresher tires! All race long we stayed out of other’s messes and mistakes and kept the bright orange Dodge with all 4 fenders on it to finish a solid p32. Coming into Bristol I had much higher expectations, but to see the hard work and effort put in to even have a chance to finish this race was incredible!
We had a lot of support from some great Partners this weekend that I would like to say thanks to. We are all proud to represent the Chris Kyle Memorial Benefit, Bubba Burger, Truxx Outfitters, Schaeffer Oil, GRAFOID, and Braille Battery! I cant wait to be back in the seat of the #13 car for Carl Long and Derek White this weekend coming up at Richmond. Richmond is only an hour away from where I grew up, which makes it special as always to be able to go home!
With the Camping World Truck Series coming back after the month break, the Premium Motorsports #49 team was ready for some short track racing at Martinsville! Martinsville is one of the coolest races to run. The racing is so close and competitive, it brings out the best in everyone.
The weekend started on Friday with 3 rounds of practice. With rain in the area, we really pushed to get a lot done in a short period of time. In first practice we wanted to focus on race trim to assure we would have a good package for Saturday. Everything went as smoothed as we hoped & stacked up 27th on speed right off the truck. To our surprise the rain never came so we had the luxury to try a lot of different changes in the following practices to see what I liked best. Those final two practices found our #49 truck 26th on the speed charts with a very tight field.
As we rolled on to Saturday, we all had high expectations for great results. First on the agenda was qualifying. This stage of the day is always stressful with a large field. Unfortunately 5 trucks would not make the field to start the race. We were able to repeat our speed that we ran in practice but that would only have us start the race in the 29th position. However based off practice and how the truck was driving, everyone on the Premium Motorsports team was gearing up for another good race.
So the green flag waved and we were off to the races. These drivers were aggressive out there. We were all leaning on each other, rubbing, and bumping from the get go. Picking up spots was a blast! Trouble found us quick as I noticed we had unusual brake failures. The brakes were not being over used and were not showing hot but the brake pedal was not coming back. Under the first caution we decided to raise the hood to look for possible leaks in the brake lines. We weren’t able to find a visible solution and to keep from losing more laps we shut the hood and hustled back to the track.
We were down but not out. I had to really back up the corners driving with no brake pedal for awhile. After a handful of laps we could run a solid pace without using brakes, and let me tell you this was tough. We kept our eyes forward and kept our truck clean and out of the wrecks. We passed a few cars along with getting by some close incidents. After a touch day we were able to salvage a 24th place finish. With the circumstances that we were under, we will call this a win in our books.
This weekend was a special one for me. We had so much help from all of our partners to make this weekend even possible. I want to thank my friends from Testoril, EPH Tools, JEFA Tech, and Champion Machinery for the continued support in this NASCAR team! We have so much potential in this small team to grow. We still sit in the top 20 in driver & owner points amongst large powerhouse teams with unlimited resources. To continue to battle against them is only a testament to the hard work and dedication we have at Premium Motorsports. Our next race we are focusing at is Kansas in May. We have a lot of opportunities available to partner with us and be apart of the team. We are going to keeping digging as hard as we can and if you want to join this battle with us, we would love to have you aboard!