Geoff’s Journal: What to race?


By Geoff Bodine

February 2, 2018


(Editor’s note: This year, Geoff Bodine will answer questions from fans and drivers in installments of “Geoff’s Journal.”)


Tommy Regan | NASCAR driver:

Q. Hey Geoff, recently I’ve landed some sponsorship to race. I was hoping you and the readers could help me with a decision I need to make.

Over the past couple years I’ve been making a couple races here and there in the Truck Series. Last year, I made my first Cup start at Sonoma. Although it was the best day of my life to start a Cup race, needless to say finishing 34th out of 40 is not what I had in mind.

I’m deciding to back it down a little and run in the XFINITY Series for a couple years, going back and really working on the fundamentals to win a race.

Now as we are not allowed to practice, I have to race and learn at the same time. So here is my question to you and the readers.

Should I race one race with a top-level team and spend all my sponsorship money on one race or should I run three races with a mid-pack team and get more seat time?

Now running with the slower teams also means there is a chance I might not qualify for the show. Help me out. What do you think?



Geoff Bodine:

With a mid-pack team, you should be able to qualify for races.


In your position, you need seat time. You shouldn’t expect to get into a good car and run good until you get some more experience.


I recommend getting in a mid-pack car, qualify for races, make laps and learn.


With very little experience in those type of cars, you can’t expect to run good, no matter what type of team you’re with.


Experience, track time and laps are what you need to get better.


BIG BREAK

I moved up from dirt to modifieds, dirt and asphalt, mainly asphalt. Then I went into late models, which are the present-day XFINITY Series cars.


We used to race a bunch of short tracks with a few speedways races.


I was lucky enough to win a race at Darlington and beat a lot of really good drivers with what you might call a mid-pack car. It wasn’t a high-dollar car, it was a rag-tag team.


We won a big race against a lot of big drivers. Two days later, I had a Cup ride.


Being at the right place at the right time and meeting the right people is always important.


I had to make a lot of choices in my career. I had to choose from leaving a very successful modified career to moving from the north down to North Carolina with pretty much nothing, but I was chasing a dream, something I wanted, to get into to NASCAR.


Winning the race with a mid-pack team propelled me into a position where a Cup owner called me up and asked if I wanted to drive for him.


AGE FACTOR

Tommy, you’re at that age group where a lot of drivers are starting to think about retiring today.


If you’ve been watching what’s been going on in NASCAR, kids are getting signed at 16 years old.


40 is pretty old. Harry Gant was in his 40s before he really got his career going. I was 32 before I won that race at Darlington and got my career where I wanted it.


But in today’s world, if you’re over 18 years old , it’s almost too late. You’re in a tough spot.


OVERALL

Don’t give up, if that’s your goal to be a racecar driver in NASCAR. Keep at it.


It’s going to be really hard unless you’re really good and have a lot of money to get the opportunity in good equipment with a good team.


You can go out there and race, get with some mid-pack teams and still have fun.


Sorry to say, you’re at that age that chances of getting that super ride are behind you.


Choices are a part of life. Pray about it and ask people about it, hopefully you will make the right one and that will lead you to something else.


IMAGES
Courtesy Photo (Tommy Regan) Sarah Crabill/Getty Images
Dante Ricci/TRE


DISCLAIMER: Opinions expressed are solely those of the writer.


To submit a question for Geoff, send an e-mail to geoff@theracingexperts.net.

What would you do if you were in Tommy's situation?
One-race deal with top-level team
Three-race deal with mid-pack team
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