By Seth Eggert, NASCAR Writer
The first year of being a team owner was an adventurous one for Jordan Anderson. Traveling back and forth across the country, the NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series driver encountered both success and some crazy events along the way.
The 2018 season marked Anderson’s fourth year as a driver in the Truck Series. For the first time, he competed in 22 of the 23 scheduled races, up from 20 in 2017. Anderson also had Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series veteran Ryan Newman behind the wheel of one of his trucks at Eldora Speedway.
“It was quite a year,” Anderson recounted. “A lot of ups and downs. I learned a lot, made a lot of mistakes, had a lot of successes. I think the biggest thing that I’m excited about is that was my fourth year as a driver in the Truck Series, and this is the first time that I can tell you what I’m doing for next year. I’ll be back, same deal, same team, all of my crew guys are staying with me.
“We’re building new trucks, better trucks, taking the five we ran last year and making them better. We’re getting a few new trucks, a potential new hauler on the way. A lot of good stuff that is going on. All of our partners are returning for next season.”
Anderson scored his first career top-10 and career-best finishes in 2018. He kicked off the season with a ninth-place finish at Daytona International Speedway, before earning his career-best finish at Talladega Superspeedway. In 2018, Anderson improved his statistics across the board, average start, finish, laps lead, and running at the finish.
“Take what we did last year, which our goal was to finish top-20 in points and get a top-10,” Anderson explained. “Well, we finished 15th in points, got two top-10s, and made every race. There’s a lot of good things to be thankful for, a lot of people made it all possible. Hopefully I’ll take what I learned last year and build on that.”
Driving back and forth across the country, Anderson and his team encountered both the highs and lows of being an underfunded independent team. Numerous flat trailer tires almost threatened attempts to make some races. One of the most dramatic incidents occurred after the World of Westgate 200 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway when Anderson hit an elk on the way back to the East Coast. He was stranded overnight in the middle of nowhere.
“We didn’t buy a single plane ticket this year, we drove to every race,” Anderson admitted. “I tell people that life is so much like a journey, where you’re constantly trying to get to that mountain top, and that if you don’t appreciate it along the way, you’re going to miss out on it all. We got a lot of road trips in, 28,000 miles traveled, 12 blown trailer tires, a lot of crazy stories to tell from it all, and I’m looking forward to doing it all again next year.”
Anderson laughed as he recalled an interesting adventure he and his small team had late in the season.
“We blew three trailer tires leaving Fort Worth, Texas, a month ago. I was driving the rig, and sitting there, I felt one tire go. Trying to slow down, I feel the whole trailer shaking. I look back and there was smoke billowing out everywhere. I hop out of the hauler and I go back. It’s a tri-axle trailer, and all three tires were blown. I don’t know if I should put a tin-foil hat on or go buy a lottery ticket.
“Long story short, we fix it, put three new tires on there, get about 30 miles down the road, and two air bags on the hauler went out, which stranded us again. We didn’t get help until the next morning, so we actually slept in the hauler, on the side of the road, in the middle of nowhere Texas, waiting for help the next morning. Just a lot of crazy things, and we were just paranoid the rest of the trip.
“I think I actually jinxed it. When we got to Florida, I posted a video, ‘No more trailer tires,’ after one or two likes on it, we blew another trailer tire. It was a lot of long nights. A lot of people sacrificed their time that work for me. It’s exciting to be cutting out own path.”