Dropping the Hammer with Landon Cassill

Landon Cassill looks forward to the second half of 2017. (Photo Credit: Jeremy Thompson)

Landon Cassill looks forward to the second half of 2017. (Photo Credit: Jeremy Thompson)

At the young age of 28, Landon Cassill of Cedar Rapids, IA has found his racing home with Front Row Motorsports. As a matter of fact, this young driver and his team knock on the door for top-15 to top-20 finishes weekly.

Of course, given the competitive nature of Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series racing, Cassill faces an uphill battle against the juggernaut conglomerates. Even so, the eighth year racer gives it his all with a team that fights hard for every position on the track.

At any rate, Cassill understands the give and take nature of NASCAR. By and large, he remains one of the most accessible racers on the circuit, reaching out to fans on Facebook and Twitter on a consistent basis.

For example, Cassill had a retweet or “RT” game in which fans asked how many times their tweets had to be shared before a goal was accomplished. As it were, the movement proved successful with NASCAR’s adaptation of social media channels.

Ultimately, Cassill strives towards on track success with his No. 34 team. After a year in which he adapted the “38, nice” saying, perhaps he may adapt the saying of “34 for the score.”

In any case, it’s about time to get up to speed with the popular, friendly, but always competitive racer from “The Hawkeye State.” Fans, let’s start “Dropping the Hammer with Landon Cassill!”

Rob Tiongson :  In your second season with Front Row Motorsports, you’ve been building towards consistency and Loudon marks your second race with crew chief Seth Barbour.  How would you evaluate your year so far and what are some areas of opportunities that you look to improve with during the second half of the season?

Landon Cassill expressed optimism with his team's ability to score potential top-15 finishes. (Photo Credit: Jeremy Thompson)

Landon Cassill expressed optimism with his team’s ability to score potential top-15 finishes. (Photo Credit: Jeremy Thompson)

Landon Cassill :  I think we’re really hungry for some better results right now.  I felt like the first half of the year had some potential and shining moments.  Also, we didn’t close the deal on some potential top-15 runs.

I’ve got a new crew chief right now.  Donnie Wingo was promoted to competition director.  I feel like those are valuable people in positions that we have going.  We’re motivated for a fresh start in the second half of the season.

RT :  From your vantage point, with the new stage and points format, do you feel like it’s lived up to expectations or are there some things that you’d like to see get changed by NASCAR?

LC :  I think it’s pretty good right now.  I think NASCAR has a couple of tweaks that they want to make to it just to not eat up so many laps under caution between stages.  Other than that, I think the format is competitive.  It’s good for racing.  It’s made it different for us.

A lot of times, we’re racing between the 20th to 25th range.  You’re on the verge of being on the lead lap or being one lap down.  It changes your strategy depending on what the leaders do when the stages come out.  I think it’s been good for the sport and it’s been well received.

RT :   With David Ragan returning to the organization, how much of an asset has it been to have him and his experience at your disposal in terms of the collaboration effort with the 34 and 38 teams?

LC :  He’s definitely a good teammate and he’s very consistent and gives good feedback.  He’s got a lot of experience.  I feel like he and I are very similar in a lot of ways so we’re able to lean on each other for that.

RT :   Would you be in favor or opposed to the concept of midweek races during the season, particularly those held in the summer?

Above all, Landon Cassill enjoys the changes to NASCAR in recent times.

Above all, Landon Cassill enjoys the changes to NASCAR in recent times.

LC :  I would definitely be in favor of it.  I’d have to talk to other people and see what they think.  I think a midweek race would be good at a track that doesn’t have a bunch of events planned.

At a place like New Hampshire, I don’t know if this place needs a midweek race because they have a lot to offer to the race fans.  During that weekend, there’s a modified race, a K&N race, an Xfinity race, and a Cup race.  That’s a weekend’s worth and it’s worth camping.

At Kentucky, all they had was an Xfinity and a Cup race.  And there’s some weekends where there’s only a Cup race.  Maybe some of those tracks that only have one race to offer to fans can make a one day camping event and have a midweek event.

RT :  Let’s stir things up a little bit.  If you got to choose any drivers, from the past or present in any motorsports discipline, which driver would you hire as your teammate because you liked them, wanted them on your team towards the latter years of your career, and still want around even if you’ve had dealings in the past?

LC :  I think I would definitely have Jimmie Johnson on my team.  Someone I’d like to retire with that would be a good ride out…yea, I think Dale Earnhardt Jr would be a fun teammate there.  (chuckles) I think Kyle Busch would be someone good to have on the team.

RT :  Any particular moments with Kyle?

LC :  No, I’ve just known Kyle for 10 years.  You love and hate him all the time.  I’ve had plenty of good moments and plenty of not so good moments with him.  He’s undoubtedly a tremendous driver.  I just would love to look at his data and see what he does.

RT :  This question comes from my photographer Jeremy Thompson – do you recall your first meeting with him and how that was like?

LC :  Meeting him at Kansas was cool because I was just sitting in a Herzog suite.  He was in there for some reason.  I can’t remember if his mom had passes or something.  He recognized who I was and that was cool for me because that was one of my first few trips on the road as a NASCAR driver when I was working with Hendrick.

That was probably one of the first times that somebody recognized me outside of my driving suit.  He was excited to meet me but I was flattered that he knew who I was.

RT :  Now that you’ve both furthered yourselves in your career and he’s a photographer, isn’t that a cool connection with the sport?

LC :  Yea, I’m proud of him for that.  I appreciate that a lot.  There’s stories of people who are genuine lovers of the sport and love stock car racing and NASCAR and care about it enough to want to contribute to it.  Jeremy is one of those good people out there.

RT :  I want to believe you started the whole fitness trend among your peers.  That said, have you ever joined your fellow drivers for a cycling trip during the season?

LC :  I don’t know.  I’ve ridden with them plenty of times.  Maybe not so much since half of the garage is riding bikes! (chuckles) They’re on different schedules than I am because I don’t bring a motorhome to the track but maybe next year, I’ll bring a motorcoach to the track more often.  I’ll have my bike with me and ride with them more often!

RT :   What would you consider to be your “Welcome to NASCAR” moment that made you feel like you arrived in our sport?

Moreover, Landon Cassill's initiation to NASCAR was everlasting. (Photo Credit: Jeremy Thompson)

Moreover, Landon Cassill’s initiation to NASCAR was everlasting. (Photo Credit: Jeremy Thompson)

LC :  Shoot, I don’t know! (laughs) I couldn’t tell you.  My “welcome to NASCAR” moment?  I felt like after I won the rookie of the year in 2008, at the banquet, I realized that I had a lot more friends and acquittances than maybe I thought I did.

There were a lot more people who knew who I was and this was among my peers.  People who I didn’t realize who liked or knew or cared about me were nice to me at the banquet.  That made me more comfortable in my skin.  I was young at the time too so that was helpful.  That was a confidence builder for me.

RT :  And you’re still young.  You’re not even in your 30’s yet!  Still excelling on Twitter versus than me especially with that RT contest.

LC :  (laughs) Right! Yep, that was fun!

Author’s Notes :  Special thanks to Landon Cassill for this amazing opportunity at New Hampshire! In the meantime, if you’d like to learn more about Landon and his No. 34 team, “Follow” them on Twitter, “Like” their Facebook page, and “Visit” their official website!

Rob Tiongson

Rob Tiongson is a 30-something motorsports journalist who enjoys sports like baseball, basketball, football, soccer, track and field and hockey. A Boston native turned Austinite, racing was the first sport that caught his eyes.

From interviews to retrospective articles, if it's about anything with an engine and four wheels, it'll be here on TPF, by him or by one of his talented columnists who have a passion for racing.

Currently seeking a sports writing, public relations, or sports marketing career, particularly in motorsports. He enjoys editing and writing articles and features, as well as photography. Moreover, he enjoys time with his family and friends, traveling, cooking, working out and being a fun uncle or "funcle" to his nephew, niece and cat.

Tiongson, a graduate of Southern New Hampshire University with a Bachelor of Arts in Communication, pursues his Master of Arts in Digital Communications at St. Bonaventure University. Indeed, while Tiongson is proud to be from Massachusetts, he's just as happy to be a Texan.

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