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!