One year after recording a pair of NASCAR K&N Pro Series West victories, Brandon McReynolds has floated behind the scenes for much of the current racing season. The Mooresville, North Carolina racer has spent much of his time during the 2016 campaign spotting and doing fabrication work to help other racers get to victory lane. But McReynolds is ready to climb back behind the wheel, and he will do so in just over a week's time.
McReynolds will pilot a new Tommy Baldwin Racing car in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East 70-lap race at New Hampshire Motor Speedway on Saturday, July 16.
Although the news is just now coming out, it is a deal that began way back in February during Florida Speedweeks and has been building to this point. Speed51.com powered by JEGS caught up with McReynolds Thursday for the story.
“I was driving down to Daytona earlier this year and my dad (Larry McReynolds) had said something to me about Tommy Baldwin wanting to meet up and talk about some things for the future. I didn’t know what it was all about, I knew him and Tommy had a conversation before,” McReynolds explained. “I met with Tommy in his motor home in Daytona and he said, ‘Look I want to put together a K&N deal and I want you to come drive it. We’re going to build all new cars and build them right and make sure we have some of the best equipment to go compete with the teams that are out there.’
“It’s a dream come true for me. After spending the last few years racing around and being at a standstill as far as that side of things, I was looking for my next opportunity and it worked out well that Tommy wanted to go racing and he wanted me to drive his car.”
After five months of working to put the new effort together, TBR is ready to roll out with McReynolds in their first effort together at “The Magic Mile” on July 16. McReynolds, who won in the K&N Pro Series West twice in 2015, has had plenty to do in 2016, taking on ‘behind the scenes’ roles, including spotting for fellow NASCAR K&N Pro Series competitor Noah Gragson, who is fresh off a win at Stafford Motor Speedway (CT) just three weeks ago.
“It’s been good, working with Noah has been a lot of fun just watching him mature and grow as a young man and race car driver has been really neat being a small part of his success and has really opened my eyes. Obviously you want to be in the race car but at the same time when you take a step back and you’re watching other people race, there’s a lot if you are paying attention you can learn by watching how the guys race around each other.
“I’ve been doing that, I’ve been working over at Ranier Racing with MDM in their fab shop helping build the 40 and 41 cars during the week for K&N with Mark McFarland and all those guys. I’ve been really wide open trying to stay busy and make a living, while at the same time I’ve been fortunate to work with people that understand that I’m still trying to be a race car driver and still think I’m really good at it. At the end of the day it’s all about funding and to have Tommy Baldwin put his financial support and his equipment behind me says a lot about how he feels I am as a race car driver.”
TBR has its sights set on two additional races following Loudon this coming September and they hope to build a sturdy base for the future.
“Our plan right now right now is running Loudon, Greenville, and Dover just to build a notebook as a new K&N team. Obviously Tommy’s Cup stuff provides a lot of resources for us, but at the same time we need to go build our notebook up in these next three races at individual racetracks. You never know, hopefully try to get a full season or something out of it for next year. Right now, I’m just really excited that Tommy is really taking a lead and a risk on me to come drive his stuff. I’m looking forward to it and will try to advantage of an opportunity for the next couple of races.”
The NASCAR K&N Pro Series East United Site Services 70 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway is scheduled to see the green flag at 6:45 p.m. ET on Saturday, July 16. Speed51.com will power NASCAR Home Track’s Race Central Live coverage that day.
-By Connor Sullivan, Speed51.com State Editor (CT, MA, Long Island) – Twitter: @Connor51CT