WATCH LIVE: 48th Annual Oxford 250
Derek Kneeland has made a successful career as a spotter on the national levels of NASCAR, spotting for the likes of Tyler Reddick, Myatt Snyder and Sheldon Creed, as well as Sam Mayer and Bret Holmes in the ARCA ranks. All through it, Kneeland has found opportunities to hop back in the driver’s seat of his Super Late Model, usually in Pro All Stars Series competition both at Oxford and when the tour comes down south.
Taking advantage of some openings in the NASCAR schedule, Kneeland is gearing up for a return to the Oxford 250, which he will attempt to qualify and race on Sunday, following his day job duties Friday and Saturday in Florida at Daytona International Speedway.
“I’m excited, I got home at about 1:15 this morning for Michigan, I was up early running around to wrap up some loose ends to get the car and the trailer ready. I have to fly out Wednesday, so I have to have everything ready by Tuesday night. I wish it was an off-weekend, but it’s not so we’ll make due with it, and look forward to Sunday,” Kneeland told Speed51 on The Bullring Monday.
During the recent hiatus for the Olympic Games, Kneeland spent most of his time back home in Maine at Oxford Plains Speedway, running the Saturday night shows to get ready for the 250. Unfortunately, the effort was nearly derailed back on July 31.
During the two weeks off for the Olympics, we raced both of those weeks. The first week was alright, nothing special. The second week, we were fighting some things, but it was only nine laps in and we got caught up in a mess. I was like Dogecoin, I was going to the moon in the car, it wasn’t a good angle and we tore up a lot of stuff.
Thankfully for Kneeland, it was a mess that could be cleaned up before he had to hit the road once again.
“We took out the motor, took everything off of it, and took it up to Jeff Taylor at Distance Race Chassis. We had him check it out and put it on the jig. Surprisingly, it didn’t get the clip, but it got everything else in the front end. We got everything together in about two and a half days before I had to go to the next race.”
Despite having to miss the Friday and Saturday practices, Kneeland has found additional time to shakedown the No. 90, and has also found a knowledgeable driver to help figure things out in his absenece.
“We shook it down last Wednesday and it went pretty well. We got another few things new to us that we’re going to try, Wyatt Alexander is going to shake the car down on Saturday, make sure everything is okay. Sunday, we’ll give ‘em hell.”
Come Sunday, August 29; Kneeland hopes to make the field and surprise some people at the end of the day.
“I hope we can run like we did at the Friday race at Hickory and the Monday race at Oxford. If we run like that, hopefully we can run under the radar and make some noise.”
-Story by: Connor Sullivan, Speed51 Northeast Correspondent – Twitter: @Connor51CT
-Photo credit: Derek Kneeland on Twitter (@SpotterDerek)