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NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series

Nick Sanchez Starts 3rd, Seeks WWTR Win

Nick Sanchez

Nick Sanchez hopes to score his third win of the NASCAR CRAFTSMAN Truck Series season at World Wide Technology Raceway. (Photo: Josh James | The Podium Finish)

MADISON, Ill. — At the age of 22, Nick Sanchez is enjoying a career season in the NASCAR CRAFTSMAN Truck Series. With wins at Daytona and Charlotte, the driver of the No. 2 Gainbridge Chevrolet Silverado hopes to win Saturday’s Toyota 200 at World Wide Technology Raceway.

The Miami native enters Saturday’s race at the 1.25-mile egg shape speedway with momentum. Ahead of the 160-lap race, Sanchez has six consecutive top 10 finishes, including a win at Charlotte and four top fives.

There seems to be no signs of slowing down for Sanchez and his Rev Racing team. On Friday afternoon, Sanchez posted the fifth fastest time in practice while tallying the second fastest time in the 10-lap consecutive average run.

Sanchez backed those efforts up by qualifying third, his seventh top five start of the year. It seems the sky is the limit for Sanchez and his crew chief Kevin “Bono” Manion.

Ahead of Saturday’s race at World Wide Technology Raceway, Sanchez reflected on how his victory at Daytona has shaped his mentality as a racer.

“I leave the race, put that in the memory bank, leave the trophy on the shelf and try to go get more,” Sanchez said. “But yeah, I guess I’m a winner in the series. And now that I know that, I guess it makes putting yourself in position to win a little bit easier.”

Typically, Sanchez’s aggression can test his on track competitors. Then again, it is a series where everything is there for the taking for the best bit of real estate on the track.

Possessing the intensity of Sebastian Vettel with the humility of Dale Earnhardt Jr., Sanchez battles hard for his team. After all, the women and men at the shop work ardently to prepare the best trucks possible for the grind of a Truck Series season.

Even with Sanchez being a young racer, he has a mature attitude like Caitlin Clark, a fellow Gainbridge partnered athlete. Like the intense WNBA rookie guard for the Indiana Fever, Sanchez strives to be at peak performance while reflecting on how he can improve his craft.

“Last year, I was focused on the Championship 4. But also in the back of my head, I was like, ‘Did I really deserve to be there even without winning?'” Sanchez considered. “And it’s crazy to think about it because you take the Championship 4 without a win. But in my head, I’m like, I need a win to kind of prove that I am a championship contender. And yeah, last year, we tied and tied for points.

“If you look at my season and the amount of points I gave up,  I think I started the Playoffs with like three points. So I’m already two ahead of where I was last year. So I’m already a little bit out of a hole I was in last year. So, it’s kind of nice to have that this early on and get that out of the way. And now I can focus on putting myself in position to run for a championship.”

Ranked third in the points standings and comfortably locked into this year’s Playoffs field, Sanchez has extra incentive to continually perform at a high level.

Nick Sanchez

Nick Sanchez wouldn’t mind adding World Wide Technology Raceway to his wins list in 2024. (Photo: Josh James | The Podium Finish)

“I still want to point my way to a regular season title because that’s worth a lot of points,” he said. “And I’m not going to discount the kind of things that does for you in the Playoffs. But yeah, I mean, I’m not worried about points at the moment. At Bristol, I was racing for a win. But in the process I collected I think 17 stage points.

“So I think if you do one thing, you’ll kind of take care of the other. And I think my team every week, competing up front, racing for wins, we’re naturally going to gain a lot of points. But when it comes time to make a decision, we could be more aggressive than others.”

Perhaps one of the biggest factors for Sanchez’s success this year is Manion. A proven championship winning crew chief with Martin Truex Jr. in 2004 and 2005, Sanchez has confidence in the veteran leader’s experience with battling for wins and titles in NASCAR.

“Yeah, it’s pretty big,” Sanchez observed. “He has a lot of accolades in the sport… a lot of wins in Cup [and] XFINITY [and] some XFINITY series championships. So he he knows how to get it done. And, he’s made the Final Four many times in the truck. He’s won with many drivers in a truck. So he’s done everything right. This to him… [it] is nothing new.

“It’s new to me, right? Winning at this level. But it’s not new to him. And for that, he puts a lot of… not pressure, but he has a high expectation for myself to keep on improving and getting better. But I think that comes with having a high profile crew chief like ‘Bono.'”

Beyond the personal and professional accolades, Sanchez emphasizes the most important intangible that is rare in sports – loyalty. From those late model days, Sanchez tips his cap for his success in NASCAR to Max Siegel, owner of Rev Racing and CEO of USA Track & Field.

“I think to stay loyal and just work hard,” he shared. “And I like to think I’ve done both. Even in times of uncertainty, I’ve stayed loyal to Max, and it’s all worked out. And, I just try to put my head down and work hard and let everything else speak for itself.”

Editor’s Notes

Special thanks to Nick Sanchez and Christy Gormal of Rev Racing for their contributions with this feature story ahead of the World Wide Technology Raceway weekend.

Rob Tiongson is a sports writer and editor originally from the Boston area and resides in the Austin, Texas, area. Tiongson has covered motorsports series like NASCAR and INDYCAR since 2008 and NHRA since 2013. Most recently, Tiongson is covering professional basketball, mainly the WNBA, and women's college basketball. While writing and editing for The Podium Finish, Tiongson currently seeks for a long-term sportswriting and sports content creating career. Tiongson 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 is an alum of Southern New Hampshire University with a Bachelor of Arts in Communication and St. Bonaventure University's renowned Jandoli School of Communication with a Master of Arts in Digital Journalism.

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