For 20 straight years, rising racing star Myatt Snider ventured from his North Carolina home out to the "Valley of the Sun" during the month of November for personal reasons. But this weekend’s visit to Phoenix is different from all his past travels – much different. This time the promising young driver is mixing business with pleasure.
“My mom’s family is from the Phoenix area and every Thanksgiving since I was born our family would load up and head out to make the annual holiday visit,” said Snider, a junior at UNC Charlotte and son of noted NBC-TV Sports broadcaster Marty Snider. “So here it is November and we’re going back out there again. But it’s for a different reason; it’s because we’re headed to PIR (Phoenix International Raceway) for the opportunity to race in the (NASCAR) Camping World Truck Series for the very first time.
“We hope to see a lot of family and friends while we’re out there, but they’re all going to have to come out to the race track to see me because I’ll be really busy,” chuckled Snider, who has already proven himself a winner in Late Model Stock Cars and in ARCA competition. “Getting the opportunity to move up into the ‘big three’ top divisions of NASCAR racing has always been my long-term goal and I don’t have to tell you how excited I am.”
Snider will be behind the wheel of the No. 22 AM Racing Toyota Tundra for Friday’s Lucas Oil 150 on the low-banked 1.022-mile tri-oval track located west of Phoenix. The truck will carry sponsorship from The Original Louisiana Hot Sauce Co., who backed Snider during his nine-race 2016 campaign on the ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards.
“I’m so grateful for this opportunity and thankful to our friends at Louisiana Hot Sauce for supporting us as we move up to the truck series,” said Snider, who carried the LHS logo to victory in his ARCA career debut for Cunningham Motorsports at Toledo Speedway on May 22. “I think the fans will be able to identify our truck because we’ll be running the same cool familiar color scheme that we ran on the ARCA car.”
While Snider has tasted victory in every division he has ever competed in, he certainly has realistic expectations for Friday’s introduction to the tough NCWTS tour.
“It’ll be the first time I’ve raced a truck and the first time I’ve ever seen the track, so I’m not predicting instant success,” Snider said with a chortle. “I’ll certainly come in there with a hungry attitude, but I’m keeping my expectations in check. The big goal is to get my feet wet and gain experience that we can use if and when we get the opportunity to compete in more truck races next season.”
While Snider has never raced a truck or seen PIR live as he heads out west, he says he has done everything possible in preparing for Friday’s venture into truck racing.
“I’ve done everything I can to get ready for Friday,” said Snider. “I went up to Martinsville and spent time with crew chief Rick Ren and the team. “It was cool to be there and observe them in practice and during the race. Listening in on the team radio, I feel like we can go into Friday’s first practice with a great line of communication, knowing how to give Rick the information he needs to make the proper adjustments to our truck.
“While Friday will be the first time I’ll have a chance to drive the truck at the track, I’ve actually been behind the wheel already,” said Snider. “We thought it would be a good idea for me to drive it during pit crew practice on Tuesday, so I paid a visit up to their shop and had fun doing that.
“I’ll be spending all the time I can between now and Friday doing all the iRacing (online simulator racing) on the track that I can. I can’t wait to hit the track behind the wheel on Friday. I know that it’s going to be a different shaped track than anything I’ve ever raced on, but I’m betting that I can draw a lot feel-wise from my experience racing at Iowa.
“I have a check list of what I hope to accomplish at Phoenix this trip,” Snider offered. “I want to get acclimated with what it feels like behind the wheel of a truck and how they drive compared to everything else I have raced so far. I also want to learn everything I possibly can about racing on the Phoenix track. That will be valuable for my career going forward I think. It would be very cool if I can come through with the best finish of the year for Rick and the 22 team. That’s what I am shooting for.”