Preparing for the 2015 NASCAR season
Photo by Robert Laberge/NASCAR via Getty Images
Norm Benning practices at Daytona International Speedway in February 2014.
The ten month NASCAR racing season begins in a short few weeks, and everyone at Norm Benning Racing is in preparation for 2015.
2014 was our best year in the Camping World Truck Series to date. We finished inside the top-20 at five races, including three times in the first four events. We stayed inside the top-15 in points most of the season. We made progress as a whole, as our team finished 17th in the overall point standings.
A setback last season was the lack of full-time sponsorship; it makes it tougher to run at a competitive level. Sponsorship dollars help offset many costs, including parts and trackside expenses like the tire bill. To put it into perspective, many of the bigger teams use up to six or seven sets of tires per race, but we just don’t have that many.
Last season, we would try to make the tires last longer, but you don’t run that fast and it reflects on the lap times.
The off-season has provided much needed time to regroup and refocus. We’re trying to replace the truck that was destroyed at Texas in November due to a suspension failure. We’re trying to find sponsorship for Daytona and beyond.
Our team is bringing a competitive truck to Daytona next month, and I feel like we can leave that race with a top-five result. We've been knocking on the door the last four years, and next month's season opener, we feel, will be no different.
I have run really well at Daytona historically, but have just had things happen that have cost us a top-five or a win. I can finish in the top-five this year if things go right, but everybody knows it’s a superspeedway and being at the wrong place at the wrong time is a problem.
Photo by Cristian Torres
Norm Benning's No. 6 truck at Bristol Motor Speedway in August.
My team has a small staff. While some teams have employee numbers into the hundreds, currently, we have four guys working on the trucks in preparation for the 2015 racing season.
Sponsorship will be our key to how well we can run on-track in 2015. While we will still show up to the track and attempt every race this season, sponsorship helps alleviate the costs of various aspects including engine rebuilding, tire bills and travel expenses. We have to make sure we finish our races when we don’t have sponsorship.
We’ve been competing in the Camping World Truck Series for eight years now, so we know what it takes to win. We just need the financing to do it. The people who build our engines, Pro Motor Engines in Charlotte do a really good job, but without sponsorship, you have one hand tied behind your back.
I will be at the David L. Lawrence Convention Center in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania this upcoming weekend for the 2015 World of Wheels event. The Daytona truck will be on display. If you’re in the area, drop in, say hi and take a picture with the truck. If you can’t make it out, I’ll see you at the track.