Leave it to Saturday’s action packed race at Las Vegas Motor Speedway to turn Landon Cassill’s fortunes around.
Heading into the new NASCAR Xfinity Series season, Cassill earned a dream opportunity with Kaulig Racing’s No. 10 Chevrolet Camaro entry. Considering the road to his seat with Kaulig, it’s safe to say that Cassill’s future wasn’t quite set in stone.
In Cassill’s case, his racing outlook looked a bit bleak after losing his ride with StarCom Racing in 2020.
When NASCAR and other sporting leagues paused during the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, Cassill made his presence known in the sim racing world, namely with the eNASCAR Pro Invitational Series on the iRacing platform.
Quick to promote his sponsor, Blue-Emu, with a makeshift, sponsored “sim car” camera, Cassill mixed it up with the best in the Cup and Xfinity ranks. Along the way, he returned to JD Motorsports last year, placing 22nd in the driver’s standings.
Taking part time opportunities and racing for mid-tier NASCAR Cup and Xfinity Series drives, the 32-year-old Cedar Rapids, Iowa native, like his teammates, AJ Allmendinger and Daniel Hemric, was a journeymen race before settling with Kaulig Racing.
However, the first two rounds of the season, Cassill’s first with the organization, treated him unkindly with a crash related 14th at Daytona followed by a engine failure dropping him to 38th last Saturday at Fontana, California.
Cassill’s somewhat cruel start was tempered following Saturday’s Alsco Uniforms 300 at the 1.5-mile Las Vegas Motor Speedway.
Posting the fifth fastest time in qualifying, Cassill dropped to the rear of the field for using a backup car stemming from last Saturday’s Fontana engine funk.
Despite starting toward the rear of the pack, the steady driver bided his time, finishing 12th and 11th in the race’s opening two stages.
When it came down to it, Cassill and crew chief Jason Trinchere stayed the course while avoiding some on track mayhem that took out the likes of Ryan Vagas, Jesse Iwuji and Stefan Parsons on lap 174, Sam Mayer and Brandon Jones on lap 184 and Ryan Truex, Austin Hill and Riley Herbst on lap 191.
The popular racer tied his second best career finish in Xfinity with a sixth place result, matching his prior efforts at Gateway and Phoenix with JR Motorsports’ No. 5 ride in 2008. Suffice to say, he took to his Twitter with his trademark witty humor.
Everybody say it pic.twitter.com/ZZvwobGbnB
— landon cassill (@landoncassill) March 6, 2022
All things considered, Cassill and his No. 10 team brought their car home in one piece as Hemric and Allmendinger respectively placed third and ninth. Certainly, Saturday’s race at Las Vegas was more of what the doctor ordered for this powerhouse trio team.
Ranked 18th in the points standings after three races, Cassill’s stock is on the rise, literally and figuratively, despite bucking the recent trends of NASCAR of team owners recruiting youth over experience.
However, his savvy connections with cryptocurrency companies, social media presence and handy driving skills prove quite valuable as the season progresses with the final West Coast Swing next Saturday afternoon at Phoenix Raceway (4:30 p.m. ET on FS1).
While Allmendinger, Hemric, Ty Gibbs, Austin Hill, and Sheldon Creed may seem like easy Xfinity race picks, Cassill has the makings to be a future Xfinity Series race winner.
Ultimately, his patient but aggressive on track approach may pay dividends as the 13th year racer gains more confidence with his Kaulig cars.