A new team is entering the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East ranks for the 2018 season, but with a driver that is familiar to many in Stock Car racing. John Visconti, a former owner on the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour from Long Island, has formed an alliance with Tommy Baldwin to run a partial season with Brandon McReynolds behind the wheel.
McReynolds has made 18 career NASCAR K&N Pro Series East starts, per 51’s TheThirdTurn.com. His most recent three starts came with Tommy Baldwin in 2016.
The 26-year-old son of legendary crew chief and FOX commentator Larry McReynolds has been working recently as a driver coach for NASCAR Camping World Truck Series driver Noah Gragson. Now, McReynolds will finally get his chance to get back behind the wheel.
“I was fortunate enough to be able to run a couple K&N races a couple years ago for Tommy Baldwin,” McReynolds told Speed51.com powered by JEGS. “He introduced me to John Visconti and I’ve been really fortunate to meet him. We’re waiting for the K&N East schedule to come out and basically cherry-pick some races to run whenever I’m off and not working with Noah on the Truck side.”
McReynolds will run the No. 74 machine sponsored by IGA Food Markets who has been a longtime supporter of Visconti’s from when he was racing Legends cars at Riverhead Raceway on Long Island.
Visconti’s team made spot starts in the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour last year as well as in the weekly ranks at Riverhead Raceway the last few years. He told Speed51.com that moving to the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East level was an opportunity he just could not pass up.
“I’ve probably never been more excited and nervous at the same time,” Visconti said. “I went from go-karts to Legends to Crate Modifieds to Tour Modifieds to now this. This is a pretty big step and an opportunity that I really cannot pass up. I’m excited and I’m confident in Brandon’s ability and knowledge of the sport. It’s one less piece of the puzzle that I have to try to put together.”
The plan for Visconti and McReynolds is to start the season off at New Smyrna and then run whatever races possible that will not conflict with McReynolds’ obligations to Noah Gragson. They believe that will give them at least five to seven races together with the potential for more.
But even though the plan is to run a limited schedule, both Visconti and McReynolds think they can contend for wins right off the bat.
“Realistically, I think we can get a win or two, a pole and a lot of top fives,” said Visconti. “Those are realistic goals for me. I really feel that with the team that’s been put in place that we can contend for that.
“The package that we’re putting together between the equipment, the crew and the driver will be really good. It may take us a little bit of time to gel together as a team but I do think we can do that. I know that if I get the right parts and pieces together then we can be a contender right out of the box. The only thing that’s new in this equation is me. The car is a phenomenal piece of equipment. Brandon is absolutely one of the best drivers out there. The only difference to the program that he’s used to is me.”
While the prospect of competing for wins again excites McReynolds, the most exciting thing for him is just being able to get back behind the wheel of a race car.
“It’s going to be really cool. It’s cool knowing I have the opportunity to drive a car again, so I’m really looking forward to it.”
-By Rob Blount, Speed51.com Southeast Editor – Twitter: @RobBlount
-Photo credit: Speed51.com