For those who may have missed the XFINITY Series race this past weekend at New Hampshire, you missed a good one from our small team. The #13 Dodge prepared by MBM Motorsports full time in the XFINITY Series is a team that competes to their full ability plus more with the small amount of resources they have. It’s very tough to compete with a smaller budgeted team because of the lack of tires, engineering, pull down rigs, wind tunnel, etc. This solely means that we have to go above and beyond the capability the car should have to beat our competition.
This weekend we unloaded with a great driving car. During practice we had to be smart with our time on track because we knew we were in a position where we didn’t have the funds to purchase more tires, and we were going to start qualifying/race on these very same tires. Luckily the team did their homework and we didn’t need much practice at all as we sat 27th in practice. Qualifying rolled around the next day and we were in a box on how well we would do because we were on our used up tires from practice. Even with the disadvantage, we still put down a pretty respectable time in qualifying that put us 34th on the starting grid.
Typically if you start around 35th-40th, as a driver you just know you are going to be in for a long day. For me knowing we were just a fraction off the field on those old tires, I was grinning from ear to ear to get this race started! So the green flag dropped and immediately we picked up quite a few spots. We were able to move from 34th to 27th in the first 5 laps of the race… now that was some fun! This seemed to be the theme all day as each lap went by. Slowly as the laps were completed, the #13 Taiga Coolers Dodge moved up the running order inside the top 25.
Now to be running top 25 in the XFINITY Series with a team on a very minimum budget is a great feeling for everyone. The guys at the shop work so many extra hours because they are under staffed and to see their hard work paying off in the race makes it all feel worth it. As we worked our way to the finish and the laps were winding down, we found ourselves in 20th-22nd looking at a shot to even break into the top 20. With the way the car was driving, I had no doubt we could do it. Unfortunately for us a couple late race cautions allowed our competition to come to pit road and slap some brand new sticker tires on while we were left on our older tires. We pushed as hard as we could to the checkered flag but just came up shy for our top 20 finish and wound up 22nd.
Even though we were disappointed that we couldn’t make that final push to crack into the top 20, I cant thank the hard working guys on the MBM Motorsports team enough! They gave me a car where I could go out to race and have a great time all day. This was the team’s best finish so far this year but with the progress that I see, I think there is much more to come. I think what makes this finish so special is all the challenges that I have had to face lately and the challenges the team has as well with the limited resources they have. Seeing hard work pay off makes everything feel worth it.
After a long 1 month break from our last Truck race at Martinsville, our #49 team is ready for the season to really get rolling, starting at Kansas. Kansas has always been a great track for me. I actually had my best Sprint Cup results here with the best being a 22nd place finish in 2012. With that extra level of confidence, myself along with my Premium Motorsports team were ready to continue those Kansas finishes!
We arrived to the race track on Thursday with 3 rounds of practice. With the added amount of practice, this gives us a more relaxed approach to try some changes that we normally couldn’t do. Fortunately for us, the Premium Motorsports guys hit the setup about perfectly. I had very little to complain about after our first few laps on the track. Just some fine tuning here & there, and I felt the truck was set for the race.
As Friday rolled around, I had that feeling that it was going to be a good race day for us. First on our agenda was qualifying. On the bigger tracks the trucks only run 1 lap of qualifying. So I pulled out of the pits and try to hit every shift perfectly as the truck comes up to speed. I hold my breath for 30 seconds as I run my qualifying lap wide open. Man this isn’t the easiest thing to do but I have to give my team props for giving me a great driving truck. We would wind up qualifying into the race on speed in the 27th position. That is always a great feeling as we can now focus on our night ahead of us.
The sun began to set and the lights aluminates the track. 3…2…1… Green flag and we were underway! Quickly there was some early incidents so we knew we would have to be on our game all night to miss these wrecks. The race fell into our hands nicely all night as we improved our handle on our truck and missed the carnage. At the halfway point we found ourselves inside the top 25 on the lead lap but seemed to start having some issues. Our motor began to lose steam and our lap times began slowing down. With the finish line being within sight, we just continued to fight as hard as we could to maintain a good finish.
The track was extremely slick under the night conditions which kept leading to more crashes by others, but this was very helpful in keeping us in the race. We were able to run such a strong start to the race that we put ourselves a couple laps ahead of some other trucks and made it impossible for them to catch us. The checkered flag would wave and we were able to hang on to a 21st place finish. After a race like that, we were able to make the best results as possible and I have to give Premium Motorsports a pat on the back for making great calls all night to put us in position to salvage 21st.
The next race I have coming up in the Camping World Truck Series will be right down the road at Charlotte Motor Speedway! We will bring our Kansas truck back home and make it even better. Thanks for the continued support from Premium Motorsports, along with my friends and family that support me!