The sport of NASCAR racing is much different than other team sports. It has only been in the last few years that it has become known as a “team” sport. At one time, the driver was the star and the one who took most of the blame if something went wrong. Now the entire team is critical to each race. No driver is alone in his effort. Now the crew chief, car chief, engine builders, chassis builders and the pit crew are just as much responsible as the driver for the result of the team.
One big difference in the team sport of NASCAR is that you play the same teams every week. You play 42 other teams each week and each of those 42 teams is made of the same team members. Sure things change from time to time but in the modern era, the team players are committed and much time, effort and money goes into building a successful team.
The team owners now own up to 4 separate teams. All 4 cars are built from the same shop and most of the time, the teams all share their information with the other teams. All of the team members might attend the same meetings each week. The cars may even be set up the same, depending on driver preference. Even at the track, there are times when one team will decide to change their set-up to match that of another team.
The younger drivers, especially in the Xfinity series are often very close friends with the other drivers within the same company. They may even be friends with drivers from other teams owned by other owners. This is something that has developed as the drivers have become younger and younger. It seems that many of the young drivers have traveled the same circuits while racing cart or midgets or dirt. As they progress into NASCAR, those friendships remain strong.
This is the case with Darrell Wallace, Jr. and Chris Buescher. Two young drivers that run for Jack Roush in the Xfinity series. They are buddies away from the track and spend time together at the track as well. You might see them hanging out together in the pits and along pit road. They may wish each other luck or even share a prayer before climbing in their car.
These two drivers are both seen to be up and comers, the future of Sprint Cup. They drive hard and race door to door. When this happens, as it did at Dover on Saturday, feelings can be bruised, friendships can be tested. As Wallace was preparing to celebrate his first victory in the series, Buescher had other ideas. He made his move and hit Wallace as he was taking the lead and the win. Just proving once again that friendships can be strained when a win is on the line
As a side note, Sheflon Clay, the young driver from Leicester, NC got his 2nd win in super trucks at Hickory, his first win in limited late models at Tri-county and a 2nd place finish Saturday in the trucks. This young man is available if anyone is looking for a promising development driver.