Fresh off his first NASCAR Camping World Truck Series (NCTWS) race in a year, Jake Griffin is excited to head to Gateway (Ill.) Motorsports Park aboard the No. 63 Backlotauctions.com / Bridge Port Automotive Chevrolet Silverado and racing for a second consecutive weekend.
Last weekend at Iowa Speedway, Griffin methodically used the weekend to get back into a comfort zone. That comfort led to a respectable 21st place finish in the Speediatrics 200, the second-best run for his team this season.
Knowing that they utilized their resources to the best of their ability, the finish was a career best for Griffin, but this weekend overlooking the St. Louis Arch, the teenager is looking for more, a lot more.
“All things considered, I’m grateful that we had a solid, clean weekend at Iowa Speedway last weekend,” said Griffin. “We made some great strides from practice to qualifying and the race. We had to fight the handling throughout the race, but the gains we made keep us going in the right direction and that’s a positive feeling for the race this weekend.”
Even though Griffin doesn’t have any laps at Gateway’s 1.25-mile oval, the avid racer is hopeful that the experience from crew chief and Motorsports veteran Rick Ren will pay dividends in the 160-lap race Saturday night.
“Iowa was my first time working with Rick (Ren),” added Griffin. “It’s not surprising to see why he has been successful in racing. He has a lot of ideas. The most important thing is for us to continue to work on our communication and keep bouncing ideas off each other. I’m leaning on him a lot this weekend at Gateway and hope his experience and my focus will lead us to a good result.”
When it comes to a result for his fourth career truck race, Griffin doesn’t want to be greedy, but wants to see a gradual improvement over last weekend.
“This race is not only about seeing the checkered flag again, but hopefully a solid top-20 finish,” he added. “With all the right circumstances, there’s no doubt in my mind that we can have a top-15 finish. The series is extremely tough right now, but that’s not a bad thing. That motivates me. Motivates us. You can’t have any mistakes, whether it’s on the track or pit road. A mistake can take a good night and ruin it within a blink of an eye. We don’t want that, we just have to stay positive and focused.
“I’m anxious to see if Gateway is really a bigger Martinsville like I’ve heard. I made my truck debut at Martinsville last year, so I have a bunch of laps there. If that’s the case, that could be a good baseline for us to start off. One way or another, we’ll be fine, I just know it.”
With an unknown future following Saturday night’s race, the Quincy, Illinois native knows the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series is a place he’d like to call home more often.
“We’re working on what’s ahead,” said Griffin. “I have some ARCA races on the dirt races this summer with Venturini Motorsports and I’m really stoked about that. They are a great team and have a lot of success, but long-term, trucks is where I want to be. Hopefully, we can continue to work hard on sponsorship and you’ll see me back more often.”
In addition to Backlotauctions.com and Bridge Port Automotive, Advanced Trading will serve as associate marketing partners this weekend at GMP.
Jake Griffin PR