A chronicle of the first year of Bang Racing: Exploring the team's experiences in the 2004 NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series. By: Thomas Chemris Part 2: Bang Racing Showing Championship Form Showing the form of established championship teams, Bang ...
A chronicle of the first year of Bang Racing: Exploring the team's experiences in the 2004 NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series.
By: Thomas Chemris
Part 2: Bang Racing Showing Championship Form
Showing the form of established championship teams, Bang Racing hit Atlanta hard, as they left the second race of the Craftsman Truck season with two top five finishes, Travis Kvapil on top of the points and Mike Skinner breaking the top ten.
The finish at Atlanta will go down in series history as one of the most spectacular with race winner Bobby Hamilton swapping paint and positions with Mike Skinner for the last circuit, only to have the finishing order established within yards of the line.
" I thought for sure we had our first win", noted team owner Alex Meshkin." Mike's truck was really strong on long runs and it seemed like Hamilton's horsepower advantage was much less on long runs. But when the final caution flew I knew it would be close. I still thought we had a good chance and Mike did an incredible job; I think he really gained a lot of respect in the garage."
In many ways the closing laps at Atlanta are similar to the year Meshkin, and Bang Racing have experienced as they break into the world of NASCAR.
"Sometimes it feels like I've been on an emotional roller coast ride for years, noted the team owner." "The climbing and descending of emotions is just there when you're a high achiever."
Meshkin, who has found enormous success in the business world, works hard to find balance between his ventures. The company philosophy is that the venture into racing is an extension of the company, and not a separate entity.
"All of our companies within Bang support each other's endeavors to become more successful", said Meshkin. " It may appear on the outside that I am spreading myself too thin; but on the contrary; I am consolidating our strengths into our parent company - Bang. We own over 5 operating companies within the Bang Family of Companies; and each company strengthens the inner workings of the other. For example, Bang Technologies is one of our key businesses as it enables us to develop interactive marketing solutions for our sponsors and supports our race engineers in developing simulation programs to advance our race performance."
Meshkin has wisdom well beyond his years. An upstart, in most ventures, his success, and his age (twenty-three) leave many in the truck garage wondering what to make of him. Something that Meshkin himself is sensitive too. " I Feel like I'll be able to develop some great relationships with some of the young and more mature drivers. But with regards to some team owners, I believe there is a degree of jealousy; after all I'm just 23 years old and living the American Dream. If this is true, I can understand it; there are many reasons for the jealousy and having Toyota and Line-X as our sponsors are just more reasons. But with that said, most of the owners I have met; have been very pleasant. I understand the NASCAR culture loves its rumors -- I heard earlier on that many owners were doubters -- but I am hopeful that as I get to know more of them on a personal level; they will come to see me for who I am and become true friends"
After two events, and enough success to hold the lead in the point's race, there is little doubt that the team is successful. The only unanswered question is when will the first win for the team come, and what driver will be wheeling the truck. Meshkin, careful not to play favorites does have some opinions in the matter.
"We are in a unique and fortunate position to have two drivers that could win any race. I predict that both teams will win races; but I think Mike's style lends it's self to more wins than Travis. At the same time, I believe Travis is going to surprise fans with his performance and drive to win. If you twisted my arm, I would say Mike might win the first race; only because I think he believes he has something to prove."
Meshkin and Bang Racing will have the opportunity to have Skinner prove himself as the series heads into Martinsville Speedway April 17th.
Bang Racing embarks on its first season
Tracy Hines racing update 2004-03-29