For some drivers, winning a series championship would be cause for celebration. For Matthew Nance, taking the FASTRAK Racing Series title in 2018 has only driven him to work harder this offseason.
Nance won the FASTRAK championship with consistent performances throughout the 2018 season, with 14 top-ten finishes in 16 races to his credit. That consistency also propelled Nance to winning FASTRAK’s Triple Crown, holding off Benji Hicks by two points after a runner-up finish to Hicks in the Triple Crown Finale at Beckley Motorsports Park (WV).
Nance celebrated the championship, several years in the making, but wasted little time in getting back to work for 2019.
“We’ve been fighting for it for four full seasons now,” Nance told Speed51.com. “It’s set in pretty good. We’re already looking forward to improving next year and running better than what we have been.”
The primary motivation for Nance is spending more time in victory lane. The “Ronda Rocket” won a Blue Ridge Outlaw Late Models Series event at Antioch Speedway (NC), but didn’t take a FASTRAK win despite three runner-up finishes.
“I can’t remember how many times we finished second,” Nance said. “We’ve been lacking just a little something it takes. Usually there’s just one there that’s better than we are. I can think of three times we ran second where we just needed a little something.”
Thus, Nance has already been hard at work looking to find that extra “little something” to collect more trophies and paydays in the new year.
“We’re pretty much stripping everything completely down, going through and rebuilding it,” Nance said. “We’re getting ready to test. Last year we didn’t get to test nowhere near as much as we needed to. I only think we tested once. We’re mainly trying to get stuff ready now so we can start the year out with some testing and see if we can’t find that little bit we are looking for.”
There’s also plenty of work preparing for a busy season. Rather than focusing on the full FASTRAK tour and defending his title in 2019, Nance plans to run several different series, with the goal of carrying a three-car operation to take advantage of every opportunity to race in the area near his Ronda, North Carolina home.
“We’re not going to run the full tour again,” Nance explained. “We’re going to run races that aren’t too far away, or tracks I like running at. We got a spec motor put together last year, and we ran that Blue Ridge Outlaw a few times. We finished second in one [at Friendship Motor Speedway (NC)] and won a race. So we’re more focused on running spec motor stuff with FUEL Series and probably Blue Ridge Outlaw Series.
“Plus, we’re working on a third-car program that’s mostly going to run ULTIMATE and Carolina Clash,” Nance added. “It just depends on what we can pick up for some funds. We’re looking for some sponsors pretty hard right now. If we could pick up some sponsors, some decent ones, we’d look at running Carolina Clash or ULTIMATE, full schedule. That’s what I would like to be doing next year, but it just depends on if we can find a couple of sponsors or not.”
While Nance would ideally go full-time with the Super Late Model, he is excited to have as many opportunities as possible to go to the race track, and hopefully win more races in 2019.
“There are so many tracks around here, you can find somewhere with a Super, Spec Motor, Limited, or Crate, you can find somewhere three to four hours from here that’s paying two-grand or more in any one of those classes,” Nance said. “Your weekend options are endless. If we can’t find those sponsors to help fund the fuel bill to run a full tour of Carolina Clash or Ultimate, we’re probably just going to hit wherever the money is closest to the house that week. Whether that’s Limited, Spec, Crate, Super, we’re going to try to have three cars put together and hit whatever’s closest that week. If FASTRAK and ULTIMATE have a double-header, we might take both cars.”
Speed51 will be providing season-long coverage for all five regions of the ULTIMATE Super Late Model Series. Speed51 will also provide ongoing updates for the FASTRAK Racing Series leading up to the $50,000 to win FASTRAK World Championship on September 13th and 14th at Virginia Motor Speedway. The 2019 FASTRAK World Championship, which pays $2,050 to start, will be the single richest race in Chevrolet Performance Late Model history. Additionally, Speed51 will offer Pay-per-view options of marquee races throughout the 2019 season.
-By Zach Evans, Speed51.com Southeast Editor – Twitter: @ZTEvans
-Photo Credit: Jamie Hall Photography