ASHLEY ASKS…… Brennan Poole
After three seasons of NASCAR Xfinity Series competition, Brennan Poole is running the full NASCAR Gander Outdoor Truck Series schedule for a new team, On Point Motorsports.
The most recent for the trucks, the Vankor 350 at Texas Motor Speedway, played witness to Poole’s first top-10 result as he placed ninth in the final results. The Lone Star native recently spoke to POPULAR SPEED about the team’s success, as well as outlook moving forward.
POPULAR SPEED: What are your thoughts on the season to date?
BRENNAN POOLE: It’s been pretty good. We’ve had some things at the beginning of the year not go our way through the first four races. But, we had a pretty good run at Texas and getting that top-10, I really think has given us some momentum going into this month-long break that we have in the truck series.
I feel pretty good and excited about getting to Dover coming up here soon. We just have to keep working on our trucks, and making them better, and finding more speed, which I think everybody on our team has been working hard to do. If we can continue to have some things go our way like they did at Texas, we’ll be in good shape.
Kind of started out with the crash at Daytona, and then the 13th at Atlanta wasn’t too terrible, but we didn’t get to qualify and had to start at the back so we were kind of coming from behind all night. So I felt like that race went okay for us. But after that, we just had issues. At Vegas, we had a really good truck and had a fuel pick-up issue which cost us a top-10 issue there, and then at Martinsville, we had the engine lose the cylinder two laps into the race which just killed our day.
But Texas was a good weekend for us. I think we have a lot of momentum heading to Dover, so I’m just looking forward to getting to the next race and seeing where we’re at.
PS: Based on the start of the year, what do you feel you and the team need to do better moving forward?
BRENNAN: Well, I think just a little bit better communication between me and my guys, because we’re just really learning this truck together. Everybody on our team has Cup and Xfinity experience, but it’s the first time working on the truck so we’re just learning it together. I don’t have a whole lot of truck experience. This is my first year in the truck, so we are all just trying to work together and figure out what exactly we’re looking for to create speed and build longevity in for the race.
It’s just about us getting a little bit more familiar with the trucks, and being able to communicate what we need to make the trucks go faster. But I think it just boils down to experience with each other, and just with working with the trucks, because it’s just a different deal. It’s definitely different than a lot of things I’ve driven over the years. So each week I’m learning new stuff, and the team is learning new stuff, and we’re just putting it together.
I think we’ve done a good job of making the trucks faster right from the start of the season. We qualified eighth at Las Vegas, which I thought was really strong. Then we qualified 13th at Texas and drove up into the top-five at one moment, and got some stage points with a ninth-place finish. So I think everything is going in the right direction, and we’re all excited about the direction that we’re going in. But I think it’s just experience in working together, as well as gaining experience with the truck.
PS: Being the first full-year foray for On Point Motorsports, where have you set for the goals for this season?
BRENNAN: Well, we all have really high goals because we all have experience in motorsports, but we also understand that we have a lot to learn and build on. So our original goal was just to make the playoffs at the end of the year. We’re 13th in points right now, so we have a little bit to overcome. But I think it’s definitely a challenge that we all believe that we can do. So as the year goes on, we’re going to be able to put ourselves in a position to win a race and get ourselves locked into the playoffs.
We just have to keep working towards that goal. That’s what we’re trying to get to, and I think everybody is working hard to get accomplish that. We’ve been able to show that we have some speed in our trucks, but it’s about showing that we can put an entire race together and making sure our truck is good throughout the race and not making any mistakes, good pit stops, good restarts, and good strategy. All of those things have to come together, and I think with the experience through the season, we’ll be able to put ourselves in position to do that.
PS: You mentioned your excitement for Dover next month. What’s the biggest challenge of the Monster Mile?
BRENNAN: There’s a lot of different things. Dover has gotten a lot rougher over the years, so every time I go there, I try to focus on the bumps in turn three and four and getting through those bumps good. I also focus on carrying a lot of speed through the corner. Dover, to me, is all about how much throttle you can carry through the corner and not get tight. We call it the 5/8th mark of the corner, but as you get right in the middle and start to get off on exit, the car or truck starts to get tight in that spot, and I think the key is going to be being able to hold throttle through that part of the corner so you can carry a lot of speed.
Obviously, in the trucks, momentum is really important – even at Dover. When I’ve been there in the past in an Xfinity car, you’re not out of the gas very long; it’s just such a fast mile track and high-banked. One, it’s a lot of fun. It’s one of my favorite tracks that we go to, but it’s about making sure you can carry a lot of throttle through the corner and get through the bumps in turn three good and you can wrap the bottom of the corner to get off of it.
But I think we have a good game plan going into Dover. We’ve got a truck that we’ve been working on. It’s going to be a new truck for us, so I’m just excited to see the stuff that we’ve been working on and see if it pays off for us and see if we have a little bit more speed and see what we got.
PS: Beyond Dover, what track are you most excited to get to?
BRENNAN: Well, for me, we already raced Martinsville once and right off the bat, we had engine troubles in qualifying and ultimately ended up having it go down a cylinder right at the start of the race, so we didn’t really get to run that race. But all through practice, we were just super fast. We were in the top-five on averages for speed. I felt like we had a really good shot of going there and running up front, contending, and getting a good finish.
That one of kind of stunk for us because we had such a good truck. So I’m certainly looking forward to going back to that race because I feel good about potentially having a shot to win a race there. But fortunately we get to go there at the end of the year, so I’m really looking forward to that as it should be a good weekend for us.
But coming up short term, I really like Charlotte. It’s one of my best mile-and-a-halves in the Xfinity car, so I’m really looking forward to running that race in another month or so; I think that’s going to be another good one for us. But I really like a lot of tracks that we go to.
Obviously, the truck series gets to run that race at Eldora, which as a racer is an event that I’ve always wanted to run. I grew up racing dirt modifieds around Texas where I grew up, so I think it’s going to be cool. I’ve been to Eldora. I went there once while racing quarter midgets when I was 10-years-old, and watched the sprint cars ruin there, and I never would’ve thought that I’d go there and race. So I really think it’s going to be cool to go and do as I have some dirt experience. I think I am going to enjoy that race, and have fun and enjoy competing at that track. So that one is going to be cool, too.
PS: What track do you wish was on the Truck series schedule that currently isn’t?
BRENNAN: Well, fortunately next year it’s going to be on there, and that’s Richmond. Richmond has always been one of my favorite tracks that NASCAR goes to, period. I love that kind of flat worn out short track style racing. That’s one that I wish was there this year as I feel it’s a place that I really know how to get around. I go there and have a lot of confidence, knowing what I need in my car and have an understanding of what it’s going to take to compete. So I’m going to be looking forward to going there and competing there next year.
But I just like the flat short tracks. I think that’s what I like Martinsville, too. I got to race late model stocks when I was coming through the ranks and I just always enjoyed going there. There’s something about the flat short tracks that I enjoy.
PS: Speaking of the schedule, there’s been mixed thoughts from drivers and fans on the month-long break that we have in the truck series. What are your thoughts?
BRENNAN: I think the break can be good sometimes for teams, and sometimes be bad for certain teams. For us, we had a lot of momentum after Texas and we were all fired up after getting the top-10 and finally have things go our way in that race. Then we have a month break to just sit here and we’re like, “Dang,” as all of us are just wanting to go back to the race track. Sometimes it can also allow you to catch up on trucks that you’re working on, so I think it can be good in certain situations. But for me, I’m ready to go. I want to race as much as I can.
But next year, the schedule isn’t going to be as big as breaks as we’ve seen in the past and they’ve done a lot of cool things with it in adding some tracks to the schedule at different times. Certainly, everybody is really excited about running at Martinsville under the lights which I think is going to be just really neat. So I’m looking forward to all of those changes.
But with the month break, it’s been kind of cool. We’ve been spending a lot of time together as a team working on our new trucks and getting prepared for when we go back racing with three in a row – Dover, Kansas, and Charlotte. It can be a good thing for a lot of teams, but it can be a bad thing especially when you have a lot of momentum and stuff on your side taking a month break.
PS: We’ve seen drivers trying different series and cars. What is on your bucket list to try?
BRENNAN: I mean, I obviously want to be a Cup driver as I’ve yet to run a Cup race yet. I know that’s not a super exciting answer, but I want to be a Cup driver. That’s my goal that I’m working towards all the time. My dream is to be able to one of those guys and to be competing at the highest level competitively. But if I’m talking about just doing some stuff for fun, I’d love to race an asphalt modified in the NASCAR Whelen Modified Series.
Maybe I’ll have an opportunity to do some of that soon just for fun, and I’d love to go back and run some dirt cars. I raced dirt modifieds a lot and dirt late models from time to time, and I really enjoyed that style of racing. I always thought it’d be cool to go run a World of Outlaw Late Model race, or do something cool like that, because I think the dirt racing is so much fun and it’s just completely different. I’ve always kind of enjoyed doing something different like that.
I also want to try and run the 24 Hours of Daytona. Hopefully I can do that one time in my career. That’d be amazing. I always thought that race was really cool and special, and a privilege to be apart of.
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