California open-wheel ace Shane Golobic is set to make his NASCAR Cup Series debut this weekend at Bristol Motor Speedway for the Food City Dirt Race, the series’ first race on dirt since 1970. He joins Live Fast Motorsports for the event with the help of Sprint Car/Midget team owner Matt Wood and NOS Energy Drink.
The 2017 Indiana Midget Week champion wasn’t expecting the opportunity to compete with the Cup Series when the race was announced. When the opportunity presented itself to join BJ McLeod and Matt Tifft with Live Fast to take part in the Cup race scheduled for this weekend, it was something that Golobic could not pass up.
“I’m about as excited as you can be. It’s a pretty cool opportunity and it was something I didn’t see coming, and didn’t really expect at all. It’s something that every racer strives for, to race in the Cup Series,” Golobic told Speed51. “Whether it’s full-time or just a one-off, it’s really meaningful. I’m really excited about it, it was something I dreamed of but didn’t really think would happen. The stars aligned and I think it’s even cooler that it’s going to be on dirt. That’s what I love to race on and what I chose to race on basically my entire life so I’m really excited about it.”
Golobic heads into Bristol not a complete stranger to full-bodied Stock Car racing, having made three starts in what’s now the ARCA Menards Series West with Bill McAnally Racing in 2013. He scored a pair of eight-place finishes with BMR at All-American Speedway and Kern County Raceway Park.
While he believes that any sort of full-body car experience will help, he doesn’t think it will transfer over to the dirt at Bristol.
“At least having some experience in a full-body car is going to help, it’s better than zero. As far as the way the car’s going to drive and feel, I don’t think that’s going to help. It’s been seven or eight years or so since I did that. It’s been a while but I think the fact that it’s on dirt is going to make it an equalizer. I think it’ll make things easier for me to get up to speed just because I think the overall speed of the field is going to come back towards.”
While it will be Golobic’s first start in any of NASCAR’s top-three series compared to the experience the majority of the rest of the field, he sees the event as an opportunity to showcase what he can do behind the wheel against the best Stock Car drivers in America.
“It’s something that not all of those guys are used to. None of those guys have any real data or notes to go off of, it’s about as even of a playing field as you can get in the Cup Series. It’s a perfect opportunity for a guy like myself to go see what we can do.”
Golobic is keeping things simple for his Cup debut this weekend, looking to gain experience and leave Tennessee having performed to the best of his ability. No matter the weekend’s outcome, he is already proud of the opportunity he has received to compete on the biggest stage in racing.
“I think I’m going to approach it as an opportunity to try and get a good finish for the Live Fast Motorsports team. If I can stay out of trouble and get up to speed in practice and get some good laps in the heat race and give myself as prepared as possible for the race on Sunday, I don’t think it’s outside the possibility of us to stay out of trouble and get a top-25 finish or so out of it. I try to keep the goal as realistic as possible but you also want to strive for the very best that you possibly can. This race is such a wild card, you never know what’s going to happen.
“I think the main strategy for our team is to try to get up to speed as fast as we can and stay out of the inevitable cautions and crashes that are going to happen. Just take it one lap at a time and try to put ourselves in position to do the best we can. Anything that happens, I’m going to be super excited and super proud of getting to compete in the Cup Series. I’m really looking forward to it and I’m going to try to do the very best I possibly can and put as much effort into it as much as possible so I can do a good job for these guys.”
-Story by: Koty Geyer, Speed51 National Correspondent – Twitter: @kgeyer3
-Photo Credit: Live Fast Motorsports