Cary Stapp, the '08 Joe Gibbs Racing Oil ASA Member National Track Champion, is given the
In recent years, there has been a change in our sport. Talent, which was once good enough to get you an opportunity for advancement in racing, has slowly started being replaced with youth that have a large check backing them. Many talented drivers are no longer getting the opportunities that they once did because of this youth movement.
Imagine if it's still possible, where an opportunity is given to a talented driver, not based on age or money, but rather based on his or her results from the previous year. I understand, it might be hard to fathom, but this exact scenario played out recently in South Boston, Virginia. 2008 ended with 32-year-old Cary Stapp becoming the first American Speed Association Joe Gibbs Driven Racing Oil Member National Track Champion.
The week started out with a tour of Joe Gibbs Racing which included meeting crew chief Mik
Cary is a full-time electrician and family man with his wife Kelli, 13-year-old stepson Trey, and his 10-year-old daughter Mikala. When he isn't putting in a hard day's work on the job, Cary can be found putting in a hard night's work in the garage on his ASA A-line Super Stock race car. He competes at Thunderhill Raceway in Kyle, Texas, where in 2008 he recorded eight wins and 15 top fives, good enough to earn the track championship. In addition, he accumulated enough points in the ASA Member National Track Championship chase to be crowned the National Champion. More on how that National Championship is determined can be found in the sidebar.
Sponsored by Joe Gibbs Driven Racing Oil, the ASA Member National Track Championship includes a very big prize. As a part of the championship, the driver from Marcos, Texas, was given the opportunity to test with the premiere NASCAR organization, Joe Gibbs Racing. "This really is a once in a lifetime opportunity," Cary exclaimed. "Even if nothing else comes out of this, how many people can say that they have driven a car owned by the famous Joe Gibbs?"
Circle Track wanted to follow Cary on his trek to the Carolinas and watch the test at the historic South Boston Speedway.
Cary and Mike talk about South Boston Speedway, site of the test.
The week would eventually start out pretty early for Cary and Kelli, as they had to leave their Texas home at four in the morning to catch a flight out to Greensboro International Airport. They arrived at Joe Gibbs Racing (JGR) in Huntersville, NC, right around noon, accompanied by Dennis Huth, President of ASA.
Before heading to the track, Cary and company spent the afternoon at JGR's shop for a seat fitting, private facility tour, and a sit down chat with team President J.D. Gibbs. Cary was going to be driving an ex-Tony Stewart Sprint Cup car that is now being raced in the Camping World East Series by Marc Davis and Joey Logano. He spoke strategy with crew chief Mike Sibley (who won the Camping World East Championship in 2007 with Logano) and the crew before getting a first-class tour of the Nationwide and Sprint Cup shops.
During the tour, he was bombarded with congratulations and questions like, "Have you ever driven anything like this?" In all honesty, he hadn't, but that didn't shake his confidence. "I have driven a 400hp Late Model on an 8 inch tire, so I think I'll be able to transfer a lot from that," he said.
The car that he was going to pilot was no joke. Before we entered the Cup shop, Cary ran into Logano, who spoke with him about the car. "That car is a beast," said the Cup Series Rookie. "With Marc and me, that car has not finished worse than Second."