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Dover Debut a ‘Big Step’ for Nick Drake’s NASCAR Career

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DOVER, Del. – Making his Camping World Truck Series debut this weekend, Nick Drake hopes it opens doors to the future.

Drake has been a Haas Racing development driver since he was 14 years old, running midget and sprint cars on dirt. It was only two years ago when he was given the opportunity to sit in a stock car for the first time, competing full-time in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East. He won the K&N Pro Series West season finale at Phoenix before running a second full East season in 2015, finishing in the top 10 in points both seasons.

But Drake hasn’t been behind the wheel since last Fall at Dover International Speedway, where he makes his first truck start in the Jacob Companies 200. The No. 49 Haas Automation Chevrolet is a partnership between JR Motorsports and Premium Motorsports and Drake is also scheduled to compete in the June 18 event at Iowa Speedway.

“Having the opportunity to run two truck races for Haas Racing is a big step in my career,” Drake told POPULAR SPEED between practice sessions on Thursday. “It’s been fun. They have all the right resources for us to get the job done, so we just have to do our part of it.”

Moving from a K&N car to a truck is a change for Drake, who said the trucks are more locked down than what he’s used to. The focus in final practice was to slot in behind other trucks and get an idea of how they handle in dirty air in addition to getting a better feel for the side force and downforce they produce.

Eleventh fastest in the first practice, Drake is confident he has a Silverado that can compete inside the top 15 and admitted he feels comfortable.

But Drake isn’t necessarily aiming for anything in particular on Friday evening. Instead, he hopes to complete all the laps, stay out of trouble, and along with crew chief David McCarty, hopefully, land inside the top 10.

“We’re not too bad; I’m just getting a feel for everything here, so we just have to try and fine-tune it,” Drake said. “I don’t think we’re going to get to qualify tomorrow (with the weather), so we have to try and put down a good lap in practice. But everyone is going to try and do the same thing. Hopefully, we’ll put ourselves in the front half of the field and stay out of trouble tomorrow, and we’ll all be happy.”

Looking ahead, Drake knows for certain he has another CWTS start on his schedule, but besides getting the chance to play around on the dirt, he’s not sure what his NASCAR prospects look like.

“We’re going to see how these two truck races play out first and if everything goes well for us we’d love to add quite a bit more to our schedule,” he said. “It’s been tough sitting on the sidelines, but it allowed me to focus on these two races coming up. So if we can have these go the way we want them, hopefully, it’ll open up the future for us.”

EMAIL KELLY AT kelly.crandall@popularspeed.com

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Popular Speed

POPULAR SPEED is a Social Media driven website featuring exclusive content, photographs, news and pointed editorials. It’s makeup consists of veteran motorsports journalists as well as the unique voice of developing young talent. POPULAR SPEED was launched in 2013 under the direction of former Sprint Cup Series spotter, Mike Calinoff.