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!
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!