By Justin Schuoler, Staff Writer
KANSAS CITY, Kan. – A mistake free day gives a reigning champion his best career finish in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series.
Jake Drew unofficially missed the top-10 by just one spot but after a time penalty was issued to Jesse Love after a restart violation, his No. 61 Toyota Tundra was lifted to the 10th position at Kansas Speedway.
Before the news broke to him, he was still all smiles after a career day.
“Everybody’s going to want more, right?” Drew grinned after the race. “That’s why we do this and that’s why we keep coming back and we’re addicted.
“Just feel like I really got a great team around me and a lot of support that’s helped me out and give me everything I need to study and be prepared for these weekends like this. I feel like I showed up today pretty calm as my first mile and a half, so I felt really good to qualify in the top ten and you know, run there the first stage and kind of.”
There were a lot of firsts for Drew in Friday evening’s Kansas Lottery 200: his first 1.5-mile oval, his first green flag pit stop, and his first career top 10 starting position with 20th being his previous best. Spotter TJ Majors was given lots of credit guiding the California native through both stages, earning him stage points and calling out two tense restarts with tight racing at 175 mph.
“It’s just a high-speed chess match,” he explained. “Whether it’s for first or for 30th, these guys are going to run you hard for it. So, it’s pretty intense from green to checkered all the way through. It’s a lot of fun learning that and just being proactive with it, not so much reactive, which is I think is something I gotta work on a little bit.
“We’re bringing back clean trucks; they’re not beat up, everybody’s happy and everybody’s looking to keep working hard and keep it moving forward.”
And it seems like Drew isn’t slowing down anytime soon. Not only is he turning heads with his strong finishes in the top half of the field, but he in fact also broke a little bit of news with his continuation in the seat with Hattori Racing Enterprises.
“You can see me back next Thursday at Bristol (Motor Speedway).”