Landon Cassill currently sits 28th in NASCAR Sprint Cup Series points. At the halfway point of the season, he has an average start of 31.1 with an average finish of 25.8. In his 1st season with Front Row, Cassill currently has zero DNF’s, and 20 laps led in 2016. Cassill conducted an exclusive interview with Speedway Digest on the state of motorsports and his season:
Knowing what you know now, what advice would you give your younger self?
Don’t forget what got you here and wherever you are at.
In general, where do you see the state of motorsports?
I think there is growth opportunity to reach a new generation. I’m really motivated about that.
What ways do you believe the motorsports industry can reach the millennial generation?
I think in how we deliver our message; what platforms we do that. I think they’ve responded well. You look at what channels other sports are doing well with. the NBA is just killing it on social media, the NFL live broadcasting on twitter, things like that. I think those are opportunities for NASCAR to tell our story, while still having an extremely powerful broadcast partner for our mainstay fan base.
Do you see social media as a way to promote yourself and Front Row Motorsports?
Yeah. I don’t even know if it’s from the verbiage of promoting. I think it is just a matter of giving our story out there, who we are, what we do, a way to show our message because sometimes our message doesn’t always get delivered on Sunday afternoon on a live broadcast. To be quiet honest, we’re working seven days a week on this program, I think social media has provided us a platform to share a story everyday of the week on what is going on behind the team, not just on Sunday.
What percentage of on and off track dealings help with yours and Front Row’s brand?
It’s probably 50-50. Even though you see me on the racetrack Friday, Saturday, and Sunday that doesn’t mean I’m not doing anything on the competition side. Its spending time in our competition meetings, time in simulator, studying my data, and in between all that is time invested in what the megaphone social media is.
What motivates you as a Sprint Cup Series driver?
I really want to win. That is an extreme motivation. Sometimes we don’t always have a piece with a look at winning, but also winning in our own respects. There is a way to have a successful weekend without ending up in victory lane. Sometimes that is a moving target, but I think being able to identify that target on a weekly basis is important.
As we enter into the second half of 2016, how would you rate your season so far? I don’t think I could ever give it an A+ until we are on the main table in Las Vegas, I guess, but I am definitely happy where I am at with Front Row. I appreciate the energy this team has behind me. They have a lot of belief in me, i appreciate that. I keep looking at it one week at a time.
In the first part of 2016, what do you see as your strengths and weaknesses going into the second half? I think our strengths are that we raced really well, reliable for the most part, and we’ve had a couple rough finished like Daytona and Pocono, but we haven’t beat ourselves too much, which has been a very good thing for this team. The weaknesses we might have are things we can control, like the speed of the car, quality of our car on the weekend. Donnie and I can put out heads together and work harder to make the car faster. As long as we’re having consistent races without minimal mistakes, i think we will be able to reap the benefits.
What are your goals for the second half of 2016? Just to continue to improve on our average finish, to finish every race, to keep the car clean, that way we can continue to improve on it.
At the end of the day, what do you want your legacy to be with the fans and among drivers? I really want to be able to be in a position where i can lead the way in how our drivers are interacting with fans and the value we bring to our corporate partners. This sport has so much access, a rabid loyal fan base, that increases demand for the personalities in the sport to service that loyalty. We are not just in and out performers where we drop the mic. We really have to service or fan base, service our sponsors.
Where does the Driver’s Council play into the future of the sport? Hopefully, it can really move the needle. I think its important that the driver’s have a voice. I’m glad there is some sort of structure in place to have that voice. It’s done well in influencing some competition related things. I think it can expand into the actual business model.
What are some ways you and Front Row can tap into bringing that value to the sponsors? I think finding ways that tell our story beyond Sunday afternoon. Finding ways to show our fans, people who follow the 38 car, give them a piece of something to follow every single day of the week, not just on Sundays.
Despite Kentucky Speedway being a relatively new track on the NASCAR Sprint Cup Circuit, it has produced some amazing statistics.
Since 2011, the average amount of lead changes has been 14.6. There have been on average 7.4 cautions for 36.2 laps. An average green flag run is about 27.5 laps.
Team Chevy currently has no victories at Kentucky. Toyota leads with three wins, and Dodge and Ford have one win.
In order to win at Kentucky, starting in the top-10 is crucial. The Quaker State 400 has an 80% advantage of winning if the driver starts in the top-10. 40% of the races have been won from a driver who started in the top five. Matt Kenseth, who won in 2013, holds the worst starting spot for a race winner when he qualified 16th.
Joe Gibbs Racing and Team Penske are the dominant teams in Kentucky Joe Gibbs Racing has three wins and Team Penske has two.
In all five of the races, Kyle Busch has an average finish of 3.8, followed, by, Matt Kenseth (4.6), Jimmie Johnson (7.4), Brad Keselowski (9.6), and Joey Logano (10.2).
Michael McDowell has the worst finish at Kentucky with an average finish of 39, followed by, Josh Wise (37), David Gilliland (29.2), Landon Cassia (28.8), and Brian Vickers (28).
Due to rain at the Kentucky Speedway, NASCAR has announced that qualifying has been cancelled. The field will be set by the rule book. Owner points will determine the starting lineup.
Once the track is dry, Sprint Cup teams will practice until 4:25 pm. Xfinity Series teams will qualify at 4:45. Final Sprint Cup practice will be from 6:30 to 7:30 pm.
Kevin Harvick will start from the pole. Brad Keselowski will start second, followed by, Kurt Busch, Joey Logano, and Carl Edwards round out the top-five.
NASCAR has opted to give teams more practice time on the newly repaved and reconfigured Kentucky Speedway. It will take NASCAR less than 90 minutes to dry the track.
Jimmie Johnson will go to the backup for Saturday night’s Quaker State 400 at Kentucky Speedway.
Johnson had ran 17 laps in the session before making the outside wall. An already unpredictable race became even more unpredictable for the veteran driver from Hendrick Motorsports.
“I just got wide and evidently the track is dirty wide. I didn’t have anything go wrong, I just got wide and the car just started going straight and it wouldn’t turn. I was in the marbles. I couldn’t see the line where the track was clean and dirty and it just kept going straight and straight and straight and hit the wall,” said Johnson.
Johnson and his Hendrick Motorsports team has until the end of the final practice, which ends at 2:50 pm, to get the backup car ready and to run some laps before qualifying at 6:45 pm eastern.
Tires are a major concern this weekend at Kentucky Speedway. Goodyear had a tire test and noticed some blistering happening within the tires, which resulted in the tire compound to be changed last minute. Goodyear has asked teams to scuff their tires. Because of this last minute change, NASCAR has given teams in all three series an extra set of tires.
For the Sprint Cup Series, the left side tires are the same ones used at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. The right side tires are a single tread version of the tires used at Michigan. Cup teams have six sets for practice and qualifying. Teams were given six sets of tires for practice and qualifying and 11 sets for the race.
For the Xfinity Series, the right side tires feature the multi-zone tread, similar to what was used at Las Vegas Motor Speedway in March. The left side tire used this weekend at Michigan is the same as the Sprint Cup. 10 sets of tires were given.
For the Camping World Truck Series, the left side tires are the same as Cup and Xfinity. The right side tires are the same as Xfinity. Teams were given 8 sets for the whole event.
Goodyear is awaiting teams to have long runs to see how the tires are holding up.
Carl Edwards in his media availability stated, “For us, we scuffed a bunch of tires. While we’re doing that, I’m looking at the little nuances of the track, where are the bumps, the grip level, exactly where is the speed. This track is difficult. Determining how you’re going to balance the car to be aggressive and how loose you need to be here or there, it’s kind of hard to figure it out, but that’s what I was working on.”