Saturday, September 13, was the last race of the Paramount Kia Challenge Series at Hickory Motor Speedway in NC. There were 21 late models entered. Justin drove his best qualifying run of his 10-race season which put him starting p. 6 for the race.
It was an intense start to the race with a caution coming early on lap 8. On this first re-start, Justin was in the outside line. A car at the front slowed causing an accordion effect back through the line where Justin lost two spots. The first 25 laps of the race saw really hard side by side racing and then things started to settle a little with more single file racing throughout the field. There would be 3 more cautions and each re-start Justin was positioned on the outside line and then battling hard with someone. Justin had made it into the top 10 but then a late race caution took away the momentum and Justin slipped back to cross the finish line in p. 12.
The 2014 season saw Justin entered in the Big 10 Challenge Series at Hickory Motor Speedway. Each of these 10 races were 100 laps for the late models and saw the addition of two Jr. Motorsports cars entered as part of the field. Justin ran with Lee Faulk Racing, the same team as last season, however, this year saw the team with two additional late model cars. With three late models, the team needed to add a new crew chief who they teamed up to work with Justin for the 10 races.
The expectations were high starting the 2014 season. Justin was coming off of a very successful 2013 season winning 2 times at Hickory Motor Speedway including the Fall Classic 100. Justin ran 6 races with 2 wins, 5 top 5's, and 1 top 10 and did all this with $0 in damages to the car.
The first half of this season Justin had 4 top 10 finishes out of the 5 races. Justin was able to drive through the field each race, even coming from the back of the field of 24 cars after a spin during one race to finish p. 7. The second half of the season, however, Justin had one top 10 finish and struggled to find the rapport with the crew chief to find that setup from the first half.
Even though the season did not go as we had expected, Justin ran all 10 of the 100 lap races. Justin was able to complete all 100 laps, except for one race when the weight came off the car in front of his and it went through the radiator. That was over 950 laps of intense late model racing with minimal cosmetic damage to the car. In this economy, car management is essential and to have a driver like Justin who can race hard but drive the car to the finish line each race is a huge advantage. The team never had any major repairs to make on Justin's car before the next race.
Overall, Justin gained a lot of experience this season. He raced with drivers who had more seat time and who brought their best equipment to Hickory Motor Speedway. Justin held his own against these drivers, drove hard and always drove with respect on the track.
We would like to thank Best Western of Hickory for their support. We really would have liked to get the car in victory lane but Justin was able to keep the car in one piece every race and keep the Best Western logo out there for all the fans to notice this season. It was an honor to represent Best Western and the accommodations are always first class. It is "The Best place to stay for race day."
We would also like to thank all the followers on Facebook and Twitter as well as all the fans who came to Hickory Motor Speedway. The fans are so important and we hope you appreciated the Hero Cards, the magnets, the flags, the Best Western Gift Bags, and the Activity Booklets that Justin was able to give out this season.
To continue to race and advance at this level is going to depend solely on support from business partners. The top teams out there want drivers who come to them with sponsor support. That is what opens the doors for these drivers. Justin has the talent and in order to continue with a good team and advance he needs a business to believe in him and use him as part of their marketing strategy. Justin is willing and able to market a business through his racing. For more information, please contact Sherri at TurnLeft@AllianceRacing.net.
Read more about Justin's racing season.
Excited to announce Best Western Hickory as a sponsor for the 2014 season. Glad to have them return to support Justin's racing. They first sponsored Justin for the Hickory Motor Speedway Classic 100 race at the end of last season that Justin won.