WATCH LIVE: 2021 Slinger Nationals
“We did some work for Todd Thelen at the Speedway and he knows we have really good equipment,” DeAngelis told Speed51.com. “He mentioned to me that Erik may be looking for a car for the Nationals. I’ve spoken to Erik a few times before and have raced against him a few times; we’ve made small talk at the track, so I reached out to him and within a few hours we had a deal in place for him to pilot our second Super Late Model at Slinger Nationals.”
“It was sort of a last minute deal,” Jones said. “John got ahold of me and asked if I would be interested in running, so we got talking and were able to put the deal together in just a few days. John’s stuff has always been very competitive, so I knew it would be a good opportunity.”
The No. 4 machine that Jones will drive will be the second entry for DeAngelis, as he plans to compete himself in his No. 7 ride. With past success at Slinger, including two top-five finishes in the last four Nationals, DeAngelis is up for the task of running the two car program.
“At first I thought it might be difficult to handle with me also racing, but I believe we have a great crew of guys that will be able to keep both cars in line at the track” he stated. “We have Travis Sauter for a crew chief this year and he is pretty excited to work with both of us at the Slinger nationals. My car chief is also more than excited to be working with Erik. Between both cars I think we will have a good.”
This will mark Jones’ third time to the event and his first time back in a Super Late Model since he competed in the 2018 Slinger Nationals. With a busy Cup Series schedule, it’s difficult to find the time to get back to short track racing, but these events, especially the Slinger Nationals, are always on the NASCAR driver’s radar.
“Slinger is always just such a fun race to watch every year and I’ve had it on my bucket list as a win for awhile now,” Jones said. “I’m always happy to be back in a Super. It’s been a few years now, but I hope it’s like riding a bike and I’ll get the feel quickly again. This racing has always been my favorite style for sure.”
In his two appearances, Jones has seen both sides of the success spectrum. At the 2016 Slinger Nationals he and Matt Kenseth put on a show fans have not forgotten. Full of late race strategy and contact on the track, Kenseth edged Jones to take the win. In his return in 2018, things did not go as well as Jones struggled to find the right feel in the car all day.
“It’s a tough race every year. It’s always a tight field to make the race and that’s always my biggest concern. Just keeping your car clean until the end is always important around Slinger and making good changes at the break. We came so close back in 2016, I just want to be able to finally close one out up there.” – Erik Jones
“It’s very cool to have a guy like Erik in our car,” DeAngelis said. “I believe this is the first time I will actually race against one of my own car at the same time. I know he is fully capable of winning the event in our equipment, so it’s pretty cool. I couldn’t have asked for a better wheelman to get in contact with on this short of notice before an event.”
While DeAngelis hopes to see one of his cars in Victory Lane, the Wisconsin driver is also excited for the chance to work side by side with Jones throughout the two days at Slinger.
“I think we will definitely bounce ideas off each other,” he said. “We have a really good baseline to work with from the previous years that worked out for my driving style, so there may need to be a few changes, but I think the support system and team moral will be high. I’m confident that my team has the capability and enthusiasm to get the cars top notch for solid runs for both of us.”
Race fans unable to make it to Slinger, Wisconsin to watch the Slinger Nationals will be able to catch all the action via a live pay-per-view broadcast on Speed51.TV.
-Story by: Jana Wimmer, Speed51 Midwest Correspondent
-Photo credit: Speed51