Anderson: Atlanta Crash Could be “Blessing in Disguise”
At Atlanta Motor Speedway when Jordan Anderson crashed, it was believed his season could be over. It was the only truck his team had.
However, a fan fundraising campaign is set to have Anderson back on track in May at Kansas Speedway. He and his team are currently spending time in the shop, putting the truck they ran last year at Kansas back together to race. Through their campaign, he says they’ve raised a little over a third of what’s needed to go racing.
After Anderson had told MRN Radio his season could be over, fans began to reach out through social media.
“It’s really been humbling to see that outreach of support, and it’s really got me motivated to keep digging,” he told POPULAR SPEED. “We just started this team back up two weeks before Daytona and started really from scratch. I’m excited about the rest of the season and what to come at Kansas, Dover, Charlotte, and the races following. Really looking to build this team up, get going and get into the top-20 in points come November in Miami.”
The fan-funded campaign is nothing new for Anderson, as it was done last year in September. Anderson blew the team’s only motor at Chicagoland Speedway, leaving them sitting on the sidelines for New Hampshire and the rest of 2016.
“I tweeted out to a bunch of fans if anybody knows anybody in the New Hampshire area or have any advice to get to the track or any company that could help us pull this deal off,” Anderson said. “Several fans said, ‘Hey, is there a way we could support you to where we keep you on the race track? What do we have to do.’ A few fans said, ‘If you get a website going where we can sponsor you, help you get to the track or buy you some fuel, help put money towards a new motor, we’re all in.'”
Having a business management degree – with a concentration in motorsports marketing – from Belmont Abbey College, Anderson stayed up late that night putting together a website – Fueled by Fans at sponsorjordan.com. Within 36 hours, he raised enough money to buy a motor and race that weekend.
“As a driver, it’s probably the most meaningful thing to see is fans tweeting their support, or commenting on Facebook – whether it’s encouragement, a prayer, just saying that they support you,” he said. “I’m kind of the average every joe racer. I come from a middle-class family in South Carolina and in a sport driven so much by corporate sponsorships and funding where money buys speed, just being able to have an opportunity to be in the sport is a huge blessing. Just to have a chance to be here, and to have the support of the fans to pull that off is what makes it so special.”
Anderson feels everybody can relate to him as he’s “the people’s driver,” going through the same highs and lows everyone has in life. Noting nobody’s life is perfect, he says his dream to race in NASCAR is relate-able to someone trying to get through college or buy their first house.
“We’re all trying to accomplish things that sometimes seem that the odds are against us,” he added. “To be able to overcome those odds and make those dreams & goals happen is cool to do that on a scale and sport like NASCAR. To be the David vs. Goliath in the sport – where we can be on the track and compete against these big teams. So I think that’s why it’s been so cool to see the fans become a part of our program.”
It can be easy to get down while facing adversity, but Anderson says he’s able to stay upbeat due to all this support from fans and family as “when you have people in your life that are constantly motivating you, encouraging you, it makes a huge difference.” He adds his faith has also been critical, too.
“I think at the core of everything, and what makes Jordan tick is my faith,” he said. “That’s at the foremost of my racing and my life in general. That’s what keeps me motivated, keeps me focused, keeps me able to stay positive through all this stuff knowing that God has gotten me here for a reason. He’s allowing things to happen for a reason as everything happens for a reason.”
Perhaps the ability to withstand everything comes from having faced adversity through life.
His family wasn’t involved in racing, noting his father is involved in property management while his mother is a hairdresser. However, from the age of six, he wanted to be a racecar driver, so his parents got him a go-kart to drive around town. A chance meeting at seven-years-old changed things, as he met up with another racing family who offered him the opportunity to test at a track.
The test went well, and he began competing, working his way up to Legends Cars and winning the 2005 Legend Car Nationals. He then spent two years in dirt late models, along with running some super late model, K&N Pro Series, and Pro Cup Series. It all came together for Anderson to make his NASCAR Camping World Truck Series debut at Phoenix Raceway in 2014.
“As they say, the rest is history from there,” he said. “It’s been an amazing journey to run the truck and XFINITY races because, for years, it kind of goes back to being the people’s driver. For years ever since I can remember in my teenage years racing Legend cars, everybody kept saying unless you got the huge corporate funding behind you and you can write a big check, you’ll never be able to make or open doors in NASCAR.
“Just through hard work, and aligning myself with good sponsors – I have been very blessed through the years with great sponsors that have supported me. Lucas Oil came onboard this year. Knight Fire Protection, LPI Printing – grassroots, everyday people sponsors that are just like me who can relate to my story. So where I’m at in my racing career – it’s not just one thing Jordan Anderson has done. It’s been all of the people that have supported me over the years and sponsored me and sacrificed their time and believed in me over the years. Those are the people that are why I am at where I am today.”
While noting this isn’t the ideal situation, Anderson says the crash has worked out as a blessing in disguise.
“It’s allowed me to connect with my fans and my supporters on a completely new level, and allow them to be apart of this program,” he said. “We’re going to look back on this three, four, five months from now when we’re competing on the race track and say the fans are what made Jordan Anderson’s season. The fans are why Jordan Anderson is on the race track.
“If that’s not motivation, then I don’t know what is. That’s just got me so amped up and so fueled up to keep doing my best and keep digging every week. When I wake up in the morning and go to the race shop, that’s what I’m thinking. ‘What can I do today to make the most happen and be a good representative for my fans and get back to the track to keep evolving this whole deal?'”
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