After having a great start to my 2016 season in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series, I was geared up to have great results in my first XFINITY series start of the year. This past weekend was my 2nd start for Team Kapusta Racing, both of which came at Phoenix International Speedway. After our first race together in the fall of 2015, we learned so much on what we needed to improve our brand new team.
Friday held three practice sessions for the NASCAR XFINITY Series. I sat down with crew chief Jeff Spraker came up with a lot of ideas on what we wanted to accomplish and test in the allowed time. Our main goal was to try to accomplish everything in the first 2 practices & leave the 3rd and final practice an option if we really needed it. So things went just as we planned. We tried a few setup options to find what our #25 Camaro liked the best. We were very please to sit 21st in the first practice and 24th in the 2nd practice so we elected to hold off on the 3rd practice.
As the we progressed to Saturday, all of us on Team Kapusta Racing were ready for a great race day. First on our agenda was qualifying. With qualifying being held in the morning with cooler track temps, we have to make adjustments for the conditions but at the same time not change too much so we don’t foul the car up for the race when in warmer conditions. As we busted off our qualifying lap we found ourselves only two tenths of a second off the 24th spot which would advance us to the next round. This was a little disappointing but at the same time we were locked into the race and knew we had a great driving car.
As we were getting closer and closer to race time, all of our emotions were growing. Its very exciting to be competing in this sport and to do it with a great team makes it all the better. So as I thanked Mr.Spraker & his guys for the hard work and prayed to the good lord for a safe race, the green flag dropped and we were underway.
The first lap was an eventful one as there was a quick wreck that we had to miss. Luckily we snaked by and moved from 31st to 25th in 1 lap. As the race went back green again we would ride right there and set pace. The car drove very respectable with little complaints from me. Strategy got a little messed up as the leader of Kyle Busch came around to lap us. The lap he got around us the caution flew and pinned us on a separate lap from the guys we were racing.
Disappointed but not out. We took a gamble call of not pitting and taking a wave around to gain a lap back in hopes of a caution to reset everything. Unfortunately that did not happen and instead we were forced to make a green flag stop which ended up cost us more time and dropping us back outside the top 30. The race would end up with a long green flag run to the end and left us with no chance to get our spots back and finish in the 32nd position.
The results of the race were disappointing because I feel like we put a much better effort out for this race. We took some gamble calls in the race that just didn’t pan out but that will happen. I am so proud of the car that Mr.Spraker built for Team Kapusta Racing and watching this team grow. This team has now completed 3 races and can only move up from here. I am not sure when our next race will be for this team but I can’t wait to be back behind the wheel of the TKR Camaro. I appreciate everyone’s support as always!