This year marks my 20th year in racing. Seems crazy because to a lot of people I’m still a young guy. I suppose to some extent I believe that for the simple fact that I don’t want to be old. Regardless, 20 years of racing is a long time and for me it’s just the beginning.
This year I will return to full time Dirt Super Late Model competition, driving for Rum Runner Racing. This will be what I consider my 3rd year on dirt full time. There are no plans to run a touring series but that is what is great about dirt racing. You can run 40 + races and not have to dedicate yourself and to one series.
For those that don’t know too much about me, here is some background. For those that do know me, read the rest of this anyways, you might like it.
I started my career in go-karts in 1998. Growing up racing in Florida limited the places that we could race, but there was a strong road course asphalt series at a few tracks around the state. After about a year running exclusively in Florida, we joined the WKA Horstman Gold Cup National Circuit. 6 years, 4 local championships, 2 Florida State Championships, a National win, and a runner up National points finish later, we decided it was time to move up the ladder.
Most people think that my first stockcar experience came in a Florida FASTRUCK at Punta Gorda Speedway. Actually, the first stock car I ever drove was a 1980’s Buick Regal at Hialeah Speedway. I only raced the car a couple times because I was sharing the seat with my good friend Travis Hanson. There is another long story about why that ride was short lived, but having Travis tell the story would be much more entertaining. I did soon after, end up with a FASTRUCK. We raced in that series for about a year and a half and recorded 4 series wins.
In 2007 we made a huge jump to what was then known as the USAR Hooters Pro Cup Series. Hindsight is always 20/20. Looking back that move was probably too big of a jump for where we all were experience wise. Had we done something different, I wouldn’t be where I am today, and who knows how that would have turned out. The two years I spent in Hooters Pro Cup were very challenging, but it taught me a lot about what it would take to progress.
A huge part of what I learned came from driver Randy Renfrow, who became my driving coach as well as a great friend. To help with the learning curve, Randy took to Late Model Stock and Super Late Model Racing around the southeast. The highlight of that period was picking up a $10,000 win at the 2008 Thanksgiving Classic at Southern National Speedway.
In the offseason between 2008 and 2009 I made what was probably the best decision I have ever made in my career. I hired racing veteran and crew chief Harold Holly. Within a few months we revamped our entire program and joined the ARCA Racing Series. The 2009 season was a huge step forward for me as a driver. Harold, as the crew chief, and Randy, as my spotter, was a combination that gave me the best opportunity to learn. We finished the year with a top 5 in championship points and recorded many top 5 finishes. In 2010 we picked up our first win at Berlin Speedway which pushed us to finish the year strong. Those 2 years were integral in putting us where we needed to be going into 2011.
After the final ARCA race at Rockingham to close the 2010 season, I was ready to get geared up for another run at the Championship in 2011. Fortunately for me, Richard Childress had other plans. Before I knew it, I was sitting in Mr. Childress’s office in Welcome, NC signing a 2-year contract to drive the No. 22 Chevy Silverado in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series. At the end of 2011, I was the Sunoco Rookie of the year against one of the strongest rookie classes in NASCAR history, as well as the 7th place points finisher. 2012 was a breakout year for sure. In August I recorded my first NASCAR win at Pocono Raceway after passing 12 trucks over 3 restarts and leading the final 8 laps. We went on to score more race points than anyone through the end of the year. Unfortunately, is wasn’t enough to give us the championship. We had to settle for 3rd by just 7 points. My time at RCR was the highpoint of my NASCAR Career for sure. I was able to run my first 2 Nationwide Series races, scoring a top 10 in my first race at Charlotte Motor Speedway.
In 2013 I moved to Kyle Bush Motorsports where we struggled to put together a consistent season. There were many factors but long story short, it just wasn’t a good year. There were however some great opportunities that I got to take advantage of. Over the course of 4 races, I drove the No. 54 and No. 18 Xfinity Series cars for Joe Gibbs racing.
At the end of 2013, I thought my career in NASCAR was over. That was until I met Maury and Spencer Gallagher of GMS Racing. In 2014 I was part of building an organization that has now claimed an ARCA Series championship as well as a NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Championship. Sucks to say, but I wasn’t the driver for either one of those championships. I do, however, take pride in helping lay the foundation as a driver for a team that has grown to what it is now. In 2014 we scored the organizations 1st top five at Dover and first podium finish at Pocono that same year.
With no funding to continue driving in 2015, I raced part time on dirt with my own equipment and worked for GMS Racing as a team manager for the No. 33 truck driven by Brandon Jones. After a year of working at a desk and driving part time, I realized that I was not ready to give up the dream of being a professional driver.
Rum Runner Racing was formed in 2016 with me as the driver. I was able to go back to full time racing, but this time it would be on dirt with the World of Outlaws Craftsman Late Model Series. The first year on the tour was a struggle, as the dirt cars were still very new to me in more ways than one. We were able to score a couple top 5s and 10’s throughout the year and made most all of the races on the tour. We finished the year 13th in points and 3rd in the Rookie of the Year standings.
We again joined the World of Outlaws tour in 2017 and ran it all the way to July. The season started out very frustrating and didn’t bring much success. Realizing the rut that we were stuck in, I made the move from Rocket Chassis to Longhorn Chassis and dropped off the tour as a way of resetting our program. It was a success to say the least. The 2nd night racing our new Longhorn Chassis we grabbed the $4,000 Ultimate Super win at Crossville Speedway in Tennessee. This marked my first win in a Super Late Model to go with the 3 Crate Late Model wins that I had racked up over the past couple years.
So that’s the story of how we got here. Its been a long road with many ups and downs. I am very fortunate to have been able to race for the last 19 years. I hope that I can keep going for another 20 at least. See you at the track soon.