ASHLEY ASKS…… Jordan Anderson
Jordan Anderson has always preached persistence and determination from the day he entered the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series, and his hard work is paying off. Currently in the midst of his best season on the tour, he enters the break sitting 16th in the points standings.
POPULAR SPEED recently caught up with the driver of the No. 3 Chevrolet Silverado to get his thoughts.
POPULAR SPEED: What are your thoughts looking back on Canadian Tire Motorsports Park?
JORDAN ANDERSON: Good weekend for us. We had some things that happened early on in the weekend that were a little challenging for us. We unloaded off the truck with two trucks; we had a partnership with JJL Motorsports to field the No. 97 truck, and then we had the (No.) 3 truck that I normally race. Everybody did a great job at our end helping to prepare both of those trucks, and we drove up there. It was a long trip up there, but it was a safe one.
We unloaded off and fought some suspension issues really all day in practice as we’d go out and come back in and couldn’t put our finger on it. We really only got two laps of practice with my truck before race day. Qualifying rained out – I say rained out, but we didn’t buy rain tires; we elected to watch and that’s what relegated us to start where we did.
For us to overcome all of the obstacles and fight through the race and put ourselves in the position that we did, it really speaks volumes about the guys that I’ve got behind me and their encouragement to keep pushing hard on the track and never giving up. We kept working and made several adjustments – I think we probably went down on the trackbar 10 rounds and took lots of rounds of wedge out of the truck.
A big weekend for us, and that’s hopefully what we’ll keep doing being a small team and making the most of what we got. If we can have quiet, low-key days and bring home top 20 finishes with the truck in one piece, it’s a great day. A lot of trucks were torn up there, but we have a truck that we can massage on and make better for the next one.
I think it really puts us in a good spot to move forward to Vegas and keep our momentum going because the truck that we finished 13th at Michigan, we’re going to prepare to take out to Vegas. So a lot of good things for us.
Canadian Tire Motorsports Park has always been good for me. I’ve had a 16th, another 16th back in 2015, finished 13th there in 2016. So I love the road courses. It’s always a fun element. The fans are amazing up there in Ontario all the way around the race track. It was really cool to see how many people came up and spoke to me, and came by to say hi that had our t-shirts and autograph cards. It’s cool to see people that are following the truck series north of the border.
PS: How would you rate your season to date?
JORDAN: An amazing year. If you would’ve asked me how would I predict our season to go back in January when we announced this team, everything we’ve been able to accomplish is beyond expectations. From the ninth-place at Daytona earlier this year, to the 13th-place finish at Michigan, to logging 10 top-20 finishes, which is the most that I’ve been able to log in one season. That’s just amazing to see that for us being a first-year team and the obstacles that we’ve had to overcome.
To be able to log those finishes is what allows you to build a team. I’ve got some great guys in the shop that have been with us. We’ve had some guys that started the year with us that had to take a different route and get out of racing. Some new guys have come into help us, and my crew chief Kevin has been a huge help for us. I’ve got three other guys that have been helping us in the shop to keep us going. I’ve had other people come in after their nine-to-five to help this team; they’ve all been a huge help to putting us in the position we are in now.
I think the biggest thing to summarize our year is to never give up. I’ve always kind of told people the story of embracing the journey, and that’s what this year has been about. We started the year with a lot of unknowns, not sure what to expect, what was going to happen; it was new for a lot of us and my partners that made the jump with us to start this new team. They didn’t know how things were going to go, and I’ve been unbelievably blessed in the people that have stepped up.
We did the Fueled by Fans at Michigan and Bristol, and so many people that have been with me from day one are still with us and still supporting us. It’s pretty humbling to see the outpouring of support, and people that generally are happy to see us do well. It definitely makes the long days worth it when you can see people that are behind you, supporting you, and cheering us on.
PS: That said, where do you feel you and your team can be stronger?
JORDAN: I think the biggest thing for us and our goal at the start of the year – I kind of shared this when we did our unveiling at the NASCAR Hall of Fame in Charlotte, but I had three goals – to run every race, to log a top-10 finish, and get ourselves a top-20 points finish. We knocked that top-10 out of the way, and we’ve been able to get at every race this year; we even had that opportunity with Ryan Newman at Eldora to come drive for us. I think I’m 16th in driver points.
I think the biggest thing for us is to keep doing what we’re doing, and take advantage of the off-season coming up because when we hit the ground running at Daytona, we only had the superspeedway truck and had to thrash to get our other truck together. We’ve been able to acquire some more parts and pieces throughout the year, and meet some people who have offered help to allow us to build more trucks to get further ahead on the schedule.
I think the biggest thing coming up is the off-season. When we get back from Homestead-Miami, everybody that is working with me now – our plan is to work all winter to strip our trucks apart, build them better, and put new parts in them to step our performance up so that when we do hit Daytona next year, and we go to Atlanta, Vegas, we want to put our best foot forward.
If we can do what we did this year as a new team, if we can reproduce our performance and keep everybody together, it’s encouraging to think what we may be able to accomplish.
PS: Of the tracks left on the truck series schedule, what race are you looking forward to the most?
JORDAN: That’s a good question because it’s really cool how our season finishes up.
I’ve been looking forward to Talladega ever since Daytona. For us as a small team, it’s really an equalizer. We’ve got a really good truck that can go there and compete. Our plan for Talladega is much like Daytona; we just have to run our race and keep the nose clean and stay out of trouble and finish.
I think one of the other ones I’m looking forward to is Las Vegas. We got our best qualifying effort there earlier this year – 16th – and we’re taking our BKR (Brad Keselowski Racing) truck there. So Vegas in two weeks I think is one that we’re really looking forward to, and I think that’s one of those tracks that will treat us well for another top-15 finish.
PS: You mentioned the fun you had at CTMP. Would you like to see more road courses on the schedule?
JORDAN: It’s kind of hard for us to build a road course specific truck with only one track on the schedule that is a road course. NASCAR has been open to ears in asking us about the schedule, and making things better for us on the team’s end, so I’m always thankful for that open ear that NASCAR gives us.
I ran a year of road course racing back in 2014, and always loved the close competition that road courses give. With Road Atlanta being right down the road here in North Carolina and Virginia International Raceway not far from us as well, I think it’d be cool to see that.
You also have the short track discussion, too, and places like Nashville. I think it was Matt Weaver that wrote a article about the potential of bringing Nashville back on the schedule for the truck series.
I think the more that we can keep the fans involved in the truck series and allowing it to keep its identity, it’s going to provide health to the sport. I think you look at places like Eldora, Canadian Tire Motorsports Park, the short tracks – the fans like the truck series because of the grassroots level to it. You have guys like myself, and other drivers that were running the truck series and that’s our home for now.
I definitely would like to see a couple more road courses on the schedule down the road.
PS: Given your journey, what is your advice to up and coming racers?
JORDAN: Man, it’s kind of funny because I know in life there’s often times, whether racing, life in general, relationships, or work, you often go through things and say, ‘If I only knew what I knew now five or 10 years ago’. I think the biggest thing for me is to never give up. Don’t let the obstacle of funding, sponsorship, or what other drivers are spending get in the way of what you’re doing.
For years when I was racing Legends Cars or Late Models, it always seemed like it was the common denominator of not having the right motor, older car, or not having enough help. There was always these things that were in front of us and it never seemed it’d be possible to get to the NASCAR ranks. But then I had an opportunity here, and an opportunity there, and it’s just amazing how things turned out. You had just had to keep showing up every week.
That’s why it was amazing earlier this year that we were able to put Brian in one of our trucks at Gateway Motorsports Park and give him an opportunity to make his first start when we partnered up with Premium. I think it was cool seeing a lot of myself in Brian in that he’s been on the same journey of trying to make things happen.
I look back on my career, and I think so much of it is keeping your faith, and knowing that God has a plan for us, whether the plan you want or he wants. I always share this with my guys but whatever is going to happen, is going to happen whether you want it to or not. All you can do is keep showing up every day and doing the best job that you can, and I think that’s the biggest thing.
That’s how we run this race team – we do the best that we can with what we have, and we enjoy the ups and downs. It’s kind of like that t-shirt saying that we had with the saying ‘never give up’ and the picture of the mountain top. If you start at the top and stay there, you don’t appreciate the journey as much as when you start at the bottom and have to start and claw from the bottom.
Every day, you have to keep yourself in check. I used to keep journals back when I was racing Late Models and I look back at the goals and things I wanted to accomplish and to see where we are now, it’s definitely been a blessing.
The biggest thing I would say to drivers is don’t let anybody discourage you from your dreams, what makes you stay up at night, and the things you want to accomplish because with a little bit of time, a lot of faith, persistence, and keep showing up striving after the goal, it’s amazing what you can accomplish.
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