This past weekend at Chicagoland Speedway was a great weekend for myself along with the everyone involved with MBM Motorsports. Most weeks leading up to this race I have found myself in the team’s second car doing a lot of testing & tuning to help better the whole program. With the lack of sponsorship it has been very hard to find a way to run the entire distance in the race. With the help from our friends at U.S Chrome, I was finally able to sit back behind the wheel and run the race till the checkered flag!
Our weekend started off great! We took to the track in practice and found ourselves with a great driving car. We had to make very little adjustments to our car because I was that confident about it. As I climbed out of the car to debrief with Carl & George, I smiled pretty big to see ourselves sitting 22nd in practice. For some 22nd is an average running position, but for a smaller team like ours that has a smaller amount of resources and funding… this was a huge accomplishment!
As we shifted our attention to qualifying, we set a goal that we would make the 2nd round of qualifying to set our best qualifying position of the year. Feeling very confident about the handling of the car I took the track preparing to run the whole lap wide open. I took the green flag and sailed it down into turn 1-2 wide open and the car stuck and hooked the white line. I brought it back around and hooked 3-4 right on the white line and brought it back to the start finish line and posted a great lap inside the top 24! For the first time this year the #13 car would advance into the 2nd round and eventually wind up 22nd.
After having terrific practice and qualifying sessions, I was all smiles heading into the race. I had 300 miles of fun ahead of me. We took the green flag and found ourselves battling amongst some great cars and competition. This is a testament of the hard work that MBM Motorsports put into this car to compete with the bigger budget teams. The majority of the race we found ourselves inside the top 25 even as we found ourselves lacking on tires to put on our car. We put together great strategy all race and kept the car clean with no scratches to bring home a 25th place finish.
This weekend was a great step in the right direction to show everyone what I can do behind the wheel along with how much MBM Motorsports has been improving! I really appreciate the hard work everyone at the shop put into this car for me because the end results we powerful. I want to thank my friends at U.S Chrome again for coming aboard and giving me the chance to race this weekend! Thanks everyone for tuning in and I cant wait to do it again!
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.