Pedal to the Metal with Landon Cassill (November 2019, Part 2)

Above all, Landon Cassill looks forward to his future with StarCom Racing. (Photo Credit: Jonathan Huff/TPF)

Above all, Landon Cassill looks forward to his future with StarCom Racing. (Photo Credit: Jonathan Huff/TPF)

Landon Cassill, driver of the No. 00 StarCom Racing Chevrolet Camaro ZL1, shares his thoughts on the world of NASCAR, happenings in pop culture, and virtually anything on his mind with his monthly journal!

Presently, for part two of Cassill’s November journal, we discuss the grind of a season, improving fan amenities, and his dream team!

Rob Tiongson :  Overall, the StarCom Racing team’s reeled off top-25 finishes consistently during the second half of the season.  Are you a bit sad that the season is coming to a close right now?

As shown above, Cassill appreciates his team's hard work over the past few years! (Photo Credit: Jonathan Huff/TPF)

As shown above, Cassill appreciates his team’s hard work over the past few years! (Photo Credit: Jonathan Huff/TPF)

Landon Cassill :  Yea, it’s hard to tell which way your feelings go at the end of the year with these things.  Sometimes, you don’t want it to end and sometimes, you’re just happy to see it end.  So, honestly, my team works really hard right now.

They’re busting their tails trying to figure out, not just how to get to the end of the season, but how they want to have their cars prepared over the offseason and going into next year and even thinking ahead to 2021 with the new car.  So, I think everybody’s ready for a break. (chuckles)

Rob Tiongson :  Speaking of the break, have you had a chance to catch up with your friends to play some Call of Duty?

Landon Cassill :  Not yet, not yet. (laughs) We were texting about it.  The official kickoff is during the offseason so that’s when we get started.

Rob Tiongson :  Before Texas, how did you all celebrate Halloween?

Landon Cassill :  We just went Trick or Treating in the neighborhood.  Beckham was a racecar driver and Daphne was Tinkerbell.  So, it was really cute.  They had a lot of fun.  Other than that, we just went Trick or Treating.

Rob Tiongson :  How about you?  Did you dress up for Halloween?

Nevertheless, Cassill treats, not tricks, fans with his kindness during a race weekend. (Photo Credit: Jonathan Huff/TPF)

Nevertheless, Cassill treats, not tricks, fans with his kindness during a race weekend. (Photo Credit: Jonathan Huff/TPF)

Landon Cassill :  Yea, I didn’t dress up as anything.  I never really celebrated Halloween much.  I wasn’t much of a Halloween kid. (laughs)

Rob Tiongson :  Alluding to a recently discussed topic, have you seen Joker or have a desire to see it?

Landon Cassill :  No, I haven’t and not really! (laughs)

Rob Tiongson :  I know we joked about Terminator but what movies have you seen lately?

Landon Cassill :  It’s not new, but I watched Deadpool.  I had a couple of cross-country flights recently.  So, I watched Deadpool and that was a really good movie.  I can’t believe that I’ve not had that movie in my life before.

Rob Tiongson :  Is it a life changing or just overall a good movie?

Landon Cassill :  A little bit – it’s just a good movie! (chuckles)

Rob Tiongson :  We’ve covered this a ton but it’s clear NASCAR is sticking with the recent changes to the cars and races.  I’m sure you’ve got your likes and dislikes with the cars and stage racing.  What would be some of the changes you’d make to the sport?

In spite of the changes ahead, the Iowa native remains optimistic with NASCAR's big picture plans. (Photo Credit: Stephen Conley/TPF)

In spite of the changes ahead, the Iowa native remains optimistic with NASCAR’s big picture plans. (Photo Credit: Stephen Conley/TPF)

Landon Cassill :  I mean, I think it’s heading in that direction.  The new car is going to implement a lot of changes that I would like to see changed.  The idea of single source manufacturing of these racecars gets rid of a lot of the R&D and manufacturing advantage that the bigger teams have.  I think that car’s going to have a lot of mechanical grip in it, so I think that’ll take away some of the aero dependency.  I think the sport’s heading in a good direction right now.

Rob Tiongson :  Certainly – I’ve seen something called a diffuser with the next gen car.  I’m not exactly car savvy but if that’ll be implemented, what will it do to impact racing?

Landon Cassill :  Well, I think the first thing that it’ll do, from my perspective as I’m not an aerodynamicist so I can’t really give you an evaluation of what it’ll do performance wise, but in terms of the race teams and manufacturing wise, it’ll standardize the underbody of the racecar.

Especially in the last five or six years, it’s been a really expensive part of the racecar in terms of R&D.  So, everybody having pretty much a standard pan underneath the car is going to take away any kind of research.

It’s going to take away the ability to build and rebuild and reiterate the chassis and all the parts underneath there, and having high dollar transmission cases that have nothing to do with the transmission themselves other than aerodynamics – it’ll standardize all of that.  The same with the rest of the car – if all of the parts and pieces are standardized, in my mind, that’s real stock car racing.

Rob Tiongson :  And that’s what we’re looking for, after all!  Yet again, the Chevy body is changing yet again with a less pointy noise.  Does this change the game for you and the team?

Landon Cassill :  It really depends if they require all of the Chevy teams to run the new Chevy body or not.  I can see them grandfathering in the old body and letting us run it for one more year without changing over.  If that’s the case, I imagine that’s what we’ll do.

Rob Tiongson :  Of course, there was that little meeting in Talladega for the “Corvette.”  Were you included in that meeting?

Landon Cassill :  No, we weren’t a part of that meeting.  I guess I’m not getting that Corvette. (laughs)

Rob Tiongson :  I know you and Parker Kligerman are big into F1 racing.  However, NASCAR and F1 conflicted with each other with their Texas autumn races.  How much of a bugger is that there wasn’t an agreement for these races to not conflict with each other?

Landon Cassill :  I mean, it’s pretty disappointing.  But, I don’t really know the details of who had it first and who dug their heels in the ground and who didn’t.  Ultimately, I hate it for motorsports fans.  I would’ve loved to have seen the F1 race myself or at least know that my fans at Texas could’ve gone to both races.

Rob Tiongson :  For sure – I know Eddie Gossage talked about modernizing Texas Motor Speedway which has been around for only 23 years.  But what would be some of your suggestions to strengthen the experience at tracks like Texas?

Be that as it may, Landon Cassill desires for an even better experience for race fans. (Photo Credit: Michael Guariglia/TPF)

Be that as it may, Landon Cassill desires for an even better experience for race fans. (Photo Credit: Michael Guariglia/TPF)

Landon Cassill :  Probably connectivity. (laughs) That’s probably number one.  And really, just anything that helps personalize every fan experience.  I think that sporting fans go to events to be entertained in a lot of ways and not just for the sporting event itself.

A race doesn’t have to be entertaining for someone to have fun at a race.  And I think that there’s a lot of different ways that people can come to the race and have a lot of fun.

Whether it’s through the midway and the excitement that’s going on, the connectivity on their phone and the apps, and the way the racetrack interacts with the race fans and offers them services and things to buy – I think the race itself is just a small piece of the whole entertainment package.

Rob Tiongson :  If you could be an owner who races and picks any drivers to be their teammates, who would you hire, who would you choose as they’re about to retire, and who would you conspire with for pranks?

Landon Cassill :  (laughs) Man, what drivers would I want in my team?  I’d like to work with Corey LaJoie.  He’d be a lot of fun.  We’ve been getting along a lot.

Somebody who’s retiring?  Probably…that’s a tough one – I think Kevin Harvick.  I’d like to work with Kevin and learn some stuff from him before he hangs it up.

And somebody who I’d like to be teammates despite any craziness or drama?  I mean, Kyle Busch would be fun to know the backstory on whatever’s going on in his world. (laughs) Who knows what’s in his head?

Rob Tiongson :  What’s been the biggest takeaway you’ve looked as a positive with StarCom Racing since joining in 2018?

Nevertheless, Cassill focuses on building momentum and strength for StarCom Racing. (Photo Credit: Jonathan Huff/TPF)

Nevertheless, Cassill focuses on building momentum and strength for StarCom Racing. (Photo Credit: Jonathan Huff/TPF)

Landon Cassill :  Man, I mean, just the learning experience of being with a group of team owners who have a lot of energy and desire but are new in the sport and helping them through the process.  I think that it’s an honor and it’s a big task to be part of a new team.

Rob Tiongson :  Would you say you’ve learned a lot from this team even with the collaboration process?

Landon Cassill :  Yea, I mean it’s just a matter of how to communicate with them.  It’s a lot different than when you’re driving for a team owner who’s been around for 20 years in the sport.  In a lot of ways, you’re driving the car and doing your job but you’re also helping them along and helping them understand how the business works for the best interests for both of you.

Rob Tiongson :  On a scale of 1-10, how would you evaluate this season and what were moments you liked and would want to redo?

Landon Cassill :  I don’t know how I’d put a grade on the year.  It’s been an interesting year.  I think we’ve made a lot of progress as a team.  When we first started, it was a struggle to get through the races and we really cleaned a lot of that up.  So, you definitely would say we get a passing grade.  It’d have been nice to have a couple of top-10’s but I’ll definitely take a passing grade.

Rob Tiongson :  If Hollywood approached you to portray your life and career, who would you choose to represent you on the big screen?

Landon Cassill :  (laughs) That’s a good one.  Geez, I don’t know. Jonah Hill! (laughter) Or Shia LeBeouf.

Rob Tiongson :  If it’s not presumptuous of me to ask, what’s 2020 looking like for you in NASCAR?

Guess who's back? (Photo Credit: Michael Guariglia/TPF)

Guess who’s back? (Photo Credit: Michael Guariglia/TPF)

Landon Cassill :  I’ll be here with StarCom Racing. I’m committed to this group and believe in what they’re doing and what I believe in what they’re building, so I’m not going anywhere.

Editor’s Notes

Special thanks to Landon and StarCom Racing for this wonderful opportunity!  We look forward to more insights and perspectives from Landon as he brings us closer to the world of NASCAR.  Stay tuned for an off-season edition of Landon’s journal coming soon!

Rob Tiongson

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

Currently seeking a sports writing, public relations, or sports marketing career, particularly in motorsports. I enjoy editing and writing articles and features, as well as photography.

Graduated from Southern New Hampshire University with a Bachelor of Arts in Communication. Proud to be from Massachusetts, just as happy to be a Texan.

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