Dirt Late Model ace Jared Landers and his Eddie Sharp Racing (ESR) team are still celebrating their experience at the inaugural CarCash Mudsummer Classic presented by CNBC Prime's The Profit in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series (NCWTS) event at the famed Eldora Speedway.
Landers, who was not guaranteed a starting spot needed to make the field on time. He qualified an impressive second overall, narrowly missing the pole position to Ken Schrader. The Batesville, Arkansas, native won his heat race which placed him on the front row of the event.
"We had to make the field on time, so I was a bit conservative with the qualifying run," Landers said. "We were very happy with the heat race win and especially with the front row start for the feature."
Prior to the main event, the Eddie Sharp Racing crew and Landers' Late Model owner, Clint Bowyer, quickly realized that Landers needed a brushing up on NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race procedures - especially on pit procedures. Together they stepped aside for a quick meeting to review procedures and pit strategies. Also different for Landers was the need to shift gears during restarts, especially with his good qualifying position this would be needed. However, the concern was abated quickly, as Landers did an excellent job with the restarts and battled up front all night long.
"These truck racers are like a pack of wolves," Landers said on the radio after one of the restarts. "They beat and bang on you a ton. They're ruthless."
Crew chief Randy Dean transmitted back to Landers, "Use your bumper to beat and bang 'em back"!
Landers took the advice, and got more aggressive in the final segment, bringing the No. 6 Mark Martin Automotive Group Chevrolet back bumped and scraped.
"Jared did a great job, but I expected nothing less than a beat up race truck after this one," team owner Eddie Sharp Jr. said. "We hope to race more with Jared in the future. He's a rock star on dirt."
Though he was running in sixth place in the final segment, Landers got pushed into the wall with a hard-charging Ty Dillon behind him, and two trucks underneath. The push caused him to spin and receive heavy damage to the front bumper and that forced Landers to come into the pits for some work. After the pit stop, Landers fought his way up the back of the lead lap pack to a 12th-place finish in his first NASCAR Camping World Truck Series attempt.
"This was an awesome experience. I just want to thank the team and Mark Martin Automotive Group for this opportunity," Landers said. "It was a lot of fun and I hope to be back next year to go for the win."
Landers can be found racing full-time at Clint Bowyer Racing.
Eddie Sharp Racing heads back to speedway racing this upcoming weekend at Pocono Raceway.