Make no mistake that Landon Cassill is appreciating his latest opportunity in the NASCAR Xfinity Series with the No. 10 Kaulig Racing Chevy team.
In the 12 years prior to this season, Cassill has made a name for himself as a scrappy, competitive and savvy racer with with a genuine interest in interacting with the fans at the track and social media platforms.
Even with the knowledge of racing for one of the top, competitive teams in the Xfinity Series ahead of this season, Cassill had to live up to his end of the bargain. So far, with three top fives and seven top 10 finishes after the first 14 races of this year, Cassill is a good, sneaky frontrunner who can deliver for his team’s car owner, Matt Kaulig.
At age 32, the Cedar Rapids, Iowa native has worked hard to earn a quality, competitive spot in NASCAR. He’s raced wisely and carefully for a single car Cup effort and made his presence known with a respectable multicar Xfinity organization prior to arriving at Kaulig Racing.
Heading into Saturday’s Tennessee Lottery 250 at Nashville Superspeedway (3:30 p.m. ET on USA), Cassill finds himself ranked 21 points above the Playoff cutline.
Undoubtedly, Cassill would love nothing more than to win his first NASCAR Xfinity Series race. With experienced crew chief, Jason Trinchere, and supportive teammates AJ Allmendinger and defending series champion, Daniel Hemric, there’s no telling how high Cassill’s stock may rise in the NASCAR Xfinity Series.
In this two part interview, Cassill and I spoke in-depth about his season.
Now, let’s get “In the Hot Seat” for Part I with Landon Cassill!
Rob Tiongson : First of all, thank you for taking the time to talk to us today for The Podium Finish and The Podium Finish Live! podcast. You’re in arguably the best equipment you’ve had in your entire racing career with the No. 10 Kaulig Racing Chevy entry. When the year kicked off, you scored two top 10 finishes after the first four races. What’s it been like to race for this organization and showcase what you can truly do in a racecar?
Landon Cassill : Oh, man. It’s been wonderful so far. I mean, I feel like this team is just so well put together. And the cars are great to drive. I just feel lucky to be in this position. A couple of top 10s is great. I feel like competing for top fives and wins is definitely on the horizon.
Tiongson : And that has to be an exciting prospect, considering the fact that you have shown some race winning speed at Daytona, and you certainly rebounded from that debacle with what happened at Fontana.
You’ve been showing what you and crew chief Jason Trinchere can do. So, speaking of your crew chief, he knows what it’s like to battle for a NASCAR Xfinity Series championship. He did so with getting into the Championship 4 last year with your teammate, AJ Allmendinger.
So what’s been some of the things that he’s brought to the table that you feel have strengthened your efforts as a racecar driver?
Cassill : I mean, I think it’s just the whole team and organization and everything they’ve built. I mean, Jason is smart and calm, and knows what he’s doing. But I think it’s just the entire organization, for me, that is giving me a look inside of how these teams have been competing at the highest level.
Tiongson : It has to be really cool, because of the fact that… we talked about this a little bit before the start of the season, and I wasn’t ribbing on your age, but you’re definitely the epitome of resilience and perseverance. You’ve had to struggle along, take some part-time opportunities, race for mid-field teams, and even upstart teams.
But how did you keep optimistic, knowing that you would get a good opportunity like this one over at Kaulig?
Cassill : Well, it’s a matter of always… this is what I do for a living, and what I’ve had to do, and I love doing it. And I’ve chosen time and time again to continue this career. Obviously, the work on the racetrack is one thing, and the work off the racetrack has continued as well. And ultimately, that’s what has given me this opportunity with Kaulig Racing.
Tiongson : It’s really cool, because you’re definitely carrying on what Kaulig has been doing. They’ve been a team that’s been able to certainly uplift the careers of drivers like yourself, AJ Allmendinger, and of course, the reigning champion, Daniel Hemric. I have to ask you what it’s like to work with those two drivers, and of course, with Justin Haley on the Cup side. I know you’re not racing in the Kaulig car, but with the Spire entry in Cup. But what’s it been like to have all of these resources, your teammates around you, where in years past, you may have been the only driver, or maybe had one other teammate to rely on?
Cassill : It’s really been wonderful, especially because I feel like Daniel and AJ and I have a lot in common, and we’ve all known each other for a very long time, and we all get along really well. And we’ve all experienced a lot in our careers. And so it’s really helped us have a very strong mutual respect for each other. And I think that we’ve had a pretty strong… the three of us have had a pretty strong relationship right from the start.
Tiongson : I think it’s really pivotal, of course, to have that good chemistry with each other and a sense of familiarity, so that when you are the new kid in town, although Daniel is as well, you can certainly go, “You know what? We’re in this together.” There’s no hierarchy, or, “AJ’s the one that we have to kind of follow after.”
Folks are saying the Xfinity Series has one of the best races of the weekend. Now, as a driver, what do you think are the two or three major selling points about Xfinity that makes it one of the top racing divisions, not only with NASCAR, but all of motorsports?
Cassill : What are the two or three selling points that make it the best? I don’t know. I mean, it’s like, you just have a field full of hungry drivers, and they race hard. The cars are hard to drive. I think the cars are hard to drive in all the divisions, especially in the Cup Series right now with the Next Gen.
But there’s a really good balance in the Xfinity Series between experience and young talent. I think there’s young, talented drivers in the series that are just really good, and they deserve every opportunity that they have to be in the cars they’re in.
And then there’s some really experienced drivers, like AJ, and Justin [Allgaier], and Daniel. So it’s just a really solid group. I think there’s a really good balance of drivers.
Tiongson : And I think it also has to help, too, that you guys put on a great show every weekend, no matter what track you guys are at. I mean, this weekend, of course, Atlanta Motor Speedway, there’s so much uncertainty with it. Some are saying it’s going to be a mini superspeedway race, and some see this playing out like, after a few laps, handling’s going to be a factor, and we’ll get back to the Atlanta that we’ve known over the years.
I know that you’re pretty efficient with iRacing. So if you’ve had a chance to try it out on iRacing, what do you think we can expect from Atlanta, not only this weekend, but when the series returns in July?
Cassill : I don’t think anybody knows right now. I mean, obviously, iRacing doesn’t have the new configuration of Atlanta yet. I think there’s going to be a lot of unknowns. I think that you will see… it’s going to be some blend between watching Daytona and Texas Motor Speedway, I think.
Special thanks to Landon Cassill for taking the time for this latest “In the Hot Seat” interview! Also, special thanks to Carly Miktuk and Kaulig Racing for their assistance with this latest interview on The Podium Finish. You can keep track of Landon Cassill on his Facebook and Twitter accounts and of course, here on TPF. Stay tuned for Part II coming soon here on TPF!
This interview has been edited for clarity by Taylor Kitchen.