Mooresville, NC -- Friday, February 27, 2009 -- While NASCAR's two other top touring series are in Las Vegas, the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series is off this week. The teams are all hard at work preparing their trucks for the American Commercial...
Mooresville, NC -- Friday, February 27, 2009 -- While NASCAR's two other top touring series are in Las Vegas, the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series is off this week. The teams are all hard at work preparing their trucks for the American Commercial Lines 200 which will be held March 7th at the Atlanta Motor Speedway.
In one small race-shop outside of Mooresville, NC there is a different vibe this week. There is a buzz, a confidence, euphoria, and a breath of fresh air. Things are different this year in the SS Green Light Racing shop. Over the last eight years the team has over 400 NCWTS starts running two trucks many weeks with only two top-five finishes; a fourth in 2002 by Bobby Dotter and a fifth by Wisconsin short-track ace Rich Bickle in 2005. Both top-fives came at half-mile short tracks.
Following the conclusion of the 2008 season, owners Ken Smith and Bobby Dotter made the decision to re-engineer the team; to run competitive and into the spotlight where they could attract additional sponsorship and top-name drivers. Rather than running two full time trucks, they formulated a plan to run a partial schedule with one truck using the available resources from supporters ASI Limited, Spectrum Metal Finishing and Akzo Nobel to improve the on-track performance for those 12 races rather than spreading the dollars over a full season. They hired new team-members, changed engine suppliers and aligned themselves with prominent teams within the Chevy camp to share information.
Just weeks before the season opener at Daytona they hired 24-year old Chad McCumbee, who had planned to run 15 Cup races for Petty Enterprises this season. Chad's plans had changed at the last minute due to the merger of GEM Racing and the Petty team and Chad saw the potential in the re-worked SS Green Light team.
While only two races into the young season McCumbee sits comfortably in the top-ten in points following a very impressive third at Auto Club Speedway last week. The best finish ever for the team in nine years of truck racing. The finish was impressive, but what has the team more excited was the fact they had one of the fastest trucks throughout the entire race.
The dramatic turnaround has the entire organization abuzz with new enthusiasm about the rest of the season but none more than Smith who is working hard behind the scenes to garner additional support for the team. "Claiming our best finish as a team in the 2nd race is very gratifying for Bobby and myself but also for everyone on the team. Our plan since the last day of the 2008 season was to improve our performance on the track. We have committed to quality of events, not quantity due to the fact that we have limited sponsorship. We have the driver and team in place to continue these strong finishes and hopefully attract additional sponsorship that will allow us participate for the whole season."
Dotter, who sits atop the pit box each week and made a great call to save tires early in the California race to help propel Chad to the third place finish, is still excited. "It's really a great feeling to see your truck running up front for much of the race. Being up front wasn't all fresh tires either, we were running top five lap times throughout the race." Dotter added, "I was joking with the guys that it took us seven years to beat the fourth place I had back in 2002! I'm really proud of Chad and these guys who built this Silverado over the off-season."
It's been a busy week for McCumbee too, as numerous media outlets have been asking about the teams dramatic improvement. "I really enjoyed joining Claire B. Lang after the race on her talk show on Sirius radio," Said McCumbee. "It was great to have fans call in and recognize what we have accomplished in a short period of time at SS Green Light Racing this year."
Reinforcing Smith and Dotters master plan for 2009 is showing results. During one post race interview McCumbee explained, "We were not even planning to come to California this weekend, but we got some help from The GPSstore.com and Garmin and that allowed us to make the trip out here." He added, "I think that the support we are seeing shows the plan is working already and if we can get a couple more strong finishes we can find some additional help to run the whole season."