Justin Jennings Continuing to Gain Speed in Truck Series

Justin Jennings Continuing to Gain Speed in Truck Series

by September 11, 2014 0 comments

Photo Credit: Getty Images

JOLIET, Ill. — A driver to keep an eye on for the remainder of the 2014 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series season is a driver that is not a household name yet, but with the support of a team that has fielded trucks for Carl Edwards, Kenny Irwin Jr., and Jamie McMurray; Justin Jennings may become a familiar name in the NASCAR ranks in the not too distant future.

Jennings is the current driver of the No. 63 Chevrolet for Mittler Brothers Motorsports (MB Motorsports) and is currently in the middle of his first full-time season in the Truck Series. Jennings, a 21-year-old La Grange, Missouri native, is making his second career start at Chicagoland Speedway for Friday night’s Lucas Oil 225 – a 150-lap race. With an improving intermediate track program for MB Motorsports and a championship-winning crew chief that has recently joined his team, Jennings is ready to improve on a 30th-place finish last year that was marred by a wreck 50 laps into the race.

This week provides Jennings with a great opportunity to deliver a solid performance for his team as he heads to a track that he states is one of his favorites. As for what makes Chicagoland one of his favorite circuits on the schedule,

“I came here last year and I really liked it,” said Jennings. “This was kind of the first track that we finally were there right at the tail end of the lead pack. We ran with the pack until we had troubles halfway through. This is kind of where it really started and [where] we gained a lot of speed.”

That speed has carried over through the offseason break and into this season. MB Motorsports’ intermediate track program delivered Jennings a 16th-place finish at Kansas and an 18th-place finish at Kentucky earlier this year after finishes in the mid-20s at the short tracks of the series.

Jennings points to MBM’s focus on the intermediate tracks as what has made him so consistent at the mile-and-a-half circuits.

“I think we’ve gained a lot of knowledge with the mile-and-a-halfs because that’s the majority of the tracks with the trucks,” he explained. “They don’t go to a whole lot of short tracks. The mile-and-a-halfs are big, we put a lot more into that to get the trucks built and prepared better for the mile-and-a-halfs.”

Jennings realizes that to continue MBM’s forward momentum, he’s going to have to keep his truck’s nose clean and complete all of the laps of every event he’s entered in to continue moving his team forward.

“We want to be there at the end is the main thing,” he said. “That’s our primary goal, we’ve got to be there at the end to finish. We’re kind of in the points deal now so we definitely have to get a good finish, but we have to finish to get a good finish. The main priority is [completing] all of the laps.”

A key factor in the continuous improvement of the No. 63 operation has been the acquisition of championship-winning crew chief Trip Bruce prior to the UNOH 200 at Bristol. Bruce was the crew chief for Johnny Benson and Bill Davis Racing’s 2008 Truck Series championship effort and brings eight years of experience with him to MB Motorsports. Earlier this season, Bruce served as part-time crew chief for the Win-Tron Racing and Robby Benton Racing organizations.

Jennings cites Bruce’s intelligence and patience as a crew chief as a major positive for the MB Motorsports operation. So much so that his confidence has been heightened by the presence of the eight-year veteran of the series.

“It raises it a bunch,” Jennings said of his confidence. “We had him at Bristol as well as Canada and I really like him, he’s very calm, very knowledgable. He’s helped us a bunch just in the past two races so I look forward to this race too.”

Jennings also gives credit and thanks to his sponsors, LG Seed and Ski Soda, for their help with his still young racing career.

“LG Seed, they’re a branch of AgReliant, they’re a seed dealership,” he explained. “We’re farmers and we use their seed, so that’s where all of that comes from. Ski Soda is a smaller brewing company, they’re just east of where our shop is and they’ve helped us out and they’ve supported us. I’m looking forward to doing more with them in the future.”

Kyle Pokrefky
Follow Kyle Pokrefky on Twitter at @KPokrefky

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