CONCORD, N.C. — Georgia’s Cody Haskins had the dominant car for much of last Saturday night’s CARS Late Model Stock Car Tour show at Anderson (SC) Motor Speedway, but a leaky right rear tire cost him a chance at the victory. Starting in the third position, Haskins quickly worked his way to the front of the field, leading at the halfway point, but soon after he noticed his handling starting to go away.
“A little after halfway, the car became a little free on entry, but I didn’t think it was that big of a deal,” said Haskins. “I was still riding, conserving my tires for the stretch run, but we started to fade.” CARS Tour rules allowed for a tire change only in the event of a complete flat, so Haskins rode it out, staying in the top five until a red flag with about 15 to go. “That red flag just killed us. We lost all the heat in the tire, so the leak got worse and worse. We fell from challenging for the win back to 12th in just a few laps.”
Despite the result, Haskins is holding his head high after a weekend that saw him compete with the best LMSC drivers and teams in the Southeast. “To be in the mix with (eventual winner) Josh Berry and JR Motorsports is a big deal for our small team,” offered the racer who headquarters his operation in Dawsonville, Georgia. “We were right there until the very end. Hopefully, we can get back with the CARS Tour later this year and get that win.”
If nothing else, the strong run last Saturday gave Haskins and his team a boost of confidence heading into his week’s 60-lap feature at Greenville-Pickens (SC) Speedway. After starting out the 2016 strong at his home track, Haskins struggled toward the end of the year and opted to cut his season short in order to prepare for 2017.
“I think we might have over-extended ourselves schedule-wise last year,” said Haskins, a vice president at KRC Power Steering, based out of Kennesaw, Georgia. “We had a good handle on the car early on, but it got away from us and we just couldn’t get it back. It was frustrating because we knew we were better than that.”
Haskins finished 6th in the 2016 Kulwicki Driver Development Program standings. It was the end-of-season banquet in Charlotte that was the catalyst for what he says is a “comeback year.”
“I was sitting at the KDDP banquet last December in The Speedway Club at Charlotte Motor Speedway, was frustrated and frankly, kind of embarrassed,” said Haskins. “I used it as motivation, though. I left the banquet, drove all night back to the shop in Dawsonville and got to work on making 2017 our comeback season.”
In addition to the race team and his duties at KRC Power Steering, Haskins has been heavily involved in community service this year. “We have had a lot of fun this year, taking the car around, meeting the fans and signing autographs,” said Haskins. “We know it’s a key component of the KDDP program, but we’ve always enjoyed those kind of off-track activities. We love what we do and it’s great to get to share it, especially with the kids.” To date this year, Haskins has participated in the Pinewood Derby at New Salem Baptist Church and Career Day at Silver City Elementary School in Dawsonville, as well as raising money for the American Cancer Society and the Shriners Hospital.
Competing against teams with bigger budgets and in some instances, Cup or Xfinity-level mechanics and technical support, Haskins has been in the mix every night this season at Greenville-Pickens. “Our new Hedgecock chassis handles great. We were dealing with a brake issue the past couple of weeks, but I think we got it figured out up at Anderson,” noted Haskins. “We are ready for Saturday night back on our home track!”
Saturday’s racing at Greenville-Pickens gets under way at 7:30 p.m. and will also feature the Super Stocks, Renegades, Pure Stocks and 4-cylinder divisions. In honor of Father’s Day Weekend, all dads are admitted free on Saturday night.
Kulwicki Driver Development Program Press Release.
Photo Credit: Cody Haskins Motorsports Facebook.