When Bryan Wordelman, the 2010 Maverik Modified Track Champion at Rocky Mountain Raceways, an ASA Member Track in West Valley City, UT, learned that he was the 2010 Joe Gibbs Driven Racing Oil ASA Member Track National Champion, he wanted to make the most out of his visit to North Carolina. He, along with his wife Amy and father Don, stayed an extra few days to take in everything they can until they returned home to Salt Lake City, UT on Monday, November 1.
When they arrived on Monday, October 25 they were met at the airport by ASA President Dennis Huth, Patrick Huth, and Kevin Ramsell, ASA Director Public Relations. They headed over to Joe Gibbs Racing Nationwide Shop to get fitted in the car he would be testing on Tuesday. Once at the shop, he met Lake Speed Jr., Certified Lubrication Specialist at Joe Gibbs Driven Racing Oil and our host.
Lake introduced him to Bryant Frazier, crew chief for JGR's K&N Pro Series team. After getting fitted and learning about the car he will be driving, it was back in the car to the Cup shop where he got to meet JD Gibbs, President of Joe Gibbs Racing.
The meeting lasted over 30 minutes as Gibbs asked about his racing career and shared stories about when he raced. The meeting concluded with Gibbs presenting Wordelman with his championship leather jacket. Wordelman then gave Gibbs his racing resume which Gibbs gladly accepted. He told Bryan to have fun at the test.
On the way out of the shop, Wordelman ran into Coach Joe Gibbs, who was waiting for his grandson's football team to arrive for a pre-game meeting. Don Wordelman told Coach Gibbs that his brother was at his last Super Bowl win. Coach then offered copies of his book and signed one for his brother and everyone else with the group.
It was back to the Nationwide shop where Lake Speed Jr. gave Bryan another surprise, a new Simpson National Champion driver suit from ASA, Joe Gibbs Driven Racing Oil, and WSIB Motorsports Insurance. Wordelman opened the package and kept saying, "I can't believe that all of this is happening to me."
From there it was out to dinner where much of the conversation was much about...auto racing.
After dinner it was up to Burlington, NC for a night of rest before the big day.
Tuesday, October 26 started with morning rain that went away. Brad Allen and his staff at Ace Speedway, an ASA Member Track in Altamahaw, NC, were already working on drying off the track. Around 12:30 p.m. Darrell Wallace Jr. took the car out for a shakedown then handed the wheel over to Wordelman. He took his first laps around 1:25 p.m. and finished up around 4:00 p.m. that day.
Wordelman learned a lot about how the setup on the car works and what needs to be done. The communication between he and Frazier appeared to go very well as his lap times were consistent and faster throughout the day.
After dinner with ASA and Ace Speedway staff, it was back down to Concord where he was able to get some sleep.
Wednesday, October 27, it was back to Joe Gibbs Racing where Lake Speed Jr. took the Wordelmans on a complete and fascinating behind the scenes tour of the Cup and Nationwide shop.
While on the tour of the Cup shop, Coach Joe Gibbs walked by, gave Bryan a thumbs up, and said, "I'm pulling for you."
Bryan was very curious about their engine program as he is an engine builder himself back in Utah. This included a visit to their dyno rooms where one of their motocross engines was being tested that day.
While at lunch, Bryan and the group got to meet Ron Barfield Jr., owner of Dillon Motor Speedway, an ASA Member Track in Dillon, SC. Bryan was excited to meet Barfield as he talked about one of his video games that he plays features Barfield from when he competed back in the Truck Series in the late 1990's. Wordelman got to hear some of Barfield's famous stories.
On Thursday, they visited race shops and sites like Richard Childress Racing, Hendrick Motorsports, and Charlotte Motor Speedway. While at RCR, Bryan got a unique opportunity to sit in Dale Earnhardt's 1995 Brickyard 400 winning car. He also bought some used plug wires from their engine shop.
It was back to Ace Speedway on Saturday where they enjoyed the track's Trunk or Treat afternoon race event. There was some talk that he may get behind Brad Allen's Modified but rather be a fan on this day.
The last full day, they took a trip to North Wilkesboro Speedway to visit and take in the racing action at the track. "It was real cool just to be at track after seeing so many races from there on television," Wordelman said.
When asked what his biggest highlight of the week was, he had a quick answer, "Driving the Joe Gibbs Racing car at Ace Speedway," Wordelman said. "Getting a chance to work with the crew and such is something I will never forget. This was a memorable week and still can't believe it."
"This is why we give a prize like this for the Joe Gibbs Driven Racing Oil ASA Member Track National Champion," Dennis Huth, ASA President said. "It is a dream that many competitors at all of the local short tracks have, that is to get the opportunity to show off their talents to one of the top-rated teams in stock car racing today. We had a great time with Bryan, Amy and Don. It was fun to see their reactions and excitement throughout the three days we spent with them. It confirms that we are doing the right thing for our ASA Member Track competitors. We thank Joe Gibbs Driven Racing Oil, Joe Gibbs Racing, and Ace Speedway for making his dream come true. Especially for Joe Gibbs Racing who is very focused on the Chase has a driver that is a serious contender for the championship."
The goal of the ASA Short Track National Championship is to activate a measuring system which takes into account many variables - such as field size, inversion, wins and number of races in a season - and create a level playing field to determine who is the 'best-of-the-best' of the ASA Member Track Champions nationwide. A driver must win their track championship first to be eligible for the National Championship.
Joe Gibbs Driven Racing Oil, sponsor of the American Speed Association National Short Track National Championship, is the same oil developed and used by Joe Gibbs Racing. The team sells the oil so racers across the country can have access to the latest technology in racing lubricants.
Joe Gibbs Racing is one of the premier organizations in NASCAR, currently fielding three NASCAR Sprint Cup Series teams, two NASCAR Nationwide Series teams and a driver development program. Based in Huntersville, N.C., and owned by Joe Gibbs - a three-time Super Bowl winner as head coach of the Washington Redskins and a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame - JGR has competed in NASCAR since 1992, winning three Cup Series championships and more than 80 NASCAR races, including three Brickyard 400s and the 1993 Daytona 500.
The ASA Member Track program is comprised of dirt and asphalt short tracks along with road courses around the United States, as well as a variety of regional and national touring series. For more information, call (386) 258-2221 or send an e-mail to email@example.com. For news and information from all the racetracks and tours involved in the ASA, visit www.ASA-Racing.com.