Race Weekend Central

Landon Cassill Driver Diary: Learning to Road Race

After speaking with Frontstretch for his diary, Landon Cassill faced some obstacles getting to Kentucky Speedway this weekend when United Airlines cancelled his flight. While he was able to find a ride to the track from the airport, the airline still had his bags which contained additional clothing, his toothbrush and, more importantly, his hard card. However, he was able to make it to the track on time and participate in practice.

Last Sunday (June 24) was my first laps run at Sonoma and it’s tough to get used to. Those guys are definitely really good. You can’t just pop in there and do it without any testing or anything like that. We started out a little bit behind and didn’t quite get the run that we were hoping for. But the race went green for so long that it was tough to get the car in the pits and work on it.

We didn’t have anything real official in terms of road-race preparation. I did as much research as I could just trying to get more familiar with the racetrack and everything. Hopefully in the future I can do some real testing and maybe hire a coach to help me out.

iRacing was really helpful. It gives you a good visual for the racetrack and things like that. It doesn’t get you quite the feel, obviously, since it’s a video game. But it does give you a visual of what the racetrack looks like, so I’m not quite lost when I get out there. It’s pretty cool!

I try to use iRacing for all types of tracks. It’s helped me a lot when I was going to places like Michigan, Charlotte, Texas and Kansas, and when I’d never run there before. I use iRacing for all types of tracks, but it’s especially helpful on the road courses just because they’re so much more complex.

I think we’ve improved all over the board on all aspects in terms of the car and our preparation and the pit crew has gotten better. All across the board we’ve improved and that’s how you kind of get in a flow and maybe we can knock out some good finishes in the summer months here because of it.

I think the intermediates are going to be solid for us. That’s where we scored some good finishes and some good qualifying efforts. Obviously Kentucky is going to be good, but there are a lot of good tracks for us. Kentucky is going to be good, but we finished 20th at Richmond so hopefully we can take that similar setup to Loudon and run good there.

Chicago is coming up in the summer months of July. Anything can happen in Daytona. I think there are definitely some good races where we can get up there and get some top-20 finishes

I thought Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s win at Michigan was great. I think he’s a good driver and deserves to be in victory lane and he’s with a team that deserves to be in victory lane. Those are all people that I’ve worked with and I know them all and I was thrilled for them. I hope that he’s a championship contender. I think it’s great for NASCAR and it’s something that our sport needs. He’s the most popular driver and the fans want to see him succeed.

For that, I want the fans to get what they want to see! I hope that someday that I’m in a position that I’m popular enough that fans want to see me win races and that there’s that big of a storyline when I win a race. For now, I think Dale absolutely is big for NASCAR and him winning a race is huge for our sport. I talk to Dale every week pretty much.

I can say a lot of the same things about my crew chief Doug Richert that Dale says about his crew chief Steve Letarte. Doug is a huge part of our team and he’s our leader and does a great job. He’s getting these cars set up right. He’s listening to me and remembering the things that I like and remembering the things that I need and he doesn’t forget them and he puts them back in the car when they work! That’s what it takes and that’s a big part of why we’ve been running better.

I think NASCAR’s goal with the new side skirts rule is that it’s taking some of the down force out of the cars and maybe making them a little more racy in a pack and dirty air. I’m not really sure if that’s actually what it’s doing but I think that’s their goal.

I think it’s so new to us and we don’t have any wind tunnel time that we’re kind of learning it as we go. You might be able to get a good explanation of that from someone at Hendrick or something right now but for us it’s going to take a few weeks to figure out what it does to our cars.

I didn’t do anything for Father’s Day because, well, I was racing! But my dad does spot for me and we did a great job and finished 18th and I feel like that was a pretty good Father’s Day present.

About the author

The Frontstretch Staff is made up of a group of talented men and women spread out all over the United States and Canada. Residing in 15 states throughout the country, plus Ontario, and widely ranging in age, the staff showcases a wide variety of diverse opinions that will keep you coming back for more week in and week out.

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