Photo: Christian Koelle/Frontstretch

The Little Team That Could: Anderson Scores Career Best Finish at Talladega

By David Morgan, NASCAR Editor

TALLADEGA, Ala. – The restrictor plate races at Talladega and Daytona are always called the “great equalizer” due to the fact that the draft allows the small teams to compete on a level playing field right alongside the multi-million-dollar teams in the field.

In Saturday’s NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race at Talladega, that was very evident when looking at the final running order. Of all of the small teams that finished in the top-10, one team in particular stuck out: Jordan Anderson Racing.

The team, which is a small operation with few employees and carries their race truck from track to track in an enclosed trailer pulled by a pickup truck, stands out among the 18-wheeler haulers in the garage area each week.

When it comes to the superspeedway races, they relish the opportunity to shine, and they did just that in the Fr8Auctions 250, finishing seventh, his best career NASCAR finish to date. The finish eclipses his previous best of ninth in the season-opening race at Daytona.

“It’s cool that in two superspeedway races, we finished ninth at Daytona, seventh here,” said Anderson. “I always love coming here because it’s such a strategic race. It really fits into my driving style well and just kind of being patient. It’s fun. I wish it would have been another 100 laps longer the way the race was going.

“For us and everybody that stays behind us, we’ve got so many sponsors and partners and friends. The guys that work with me that dedicate their time and effort to make this whole program exist. I mean, 10 months ago, this whole team was a dream and now we’ve got two top 10’s in our first year. I could have never, ever, ever envisioned that. Absolutely humbled. God is good. Lot of things to be thankful for.”

Anderson started the day in 21st and carried out his plan to just bide his time in the early portions of the race before making his move as the laps wound down.

Avoiding the multi-car crashes as the race played out, Anderson climbed into the top-five at one point, only to not find any drafting help and falling to the back of the pack. Not letting that deter him, Anderson found his way back into the top-10 in the closing laps and was able to avoid the final crash on the last lap still inside the top-10.

With the field frozen as a result of the crash, Anderson was officially scored seventh – a finish that suited him and his team just fine. After the race in the garage, they could be seen high-fiving each other and shaking hands with fans that stopped by to congratulate them.

“Anytime you come to a superspeedway race, there are so many unknowns,” said Anderson. “It’s like a high paced chess game. Our goal early on was just to kind of hang out there and it really worked out well. I thought we positioned ourselves really well there at the end.

“I went to the high side and had a good run, but nobody went with us, so we fell to the very back there and it actually worked out good because they started wrecking there and we found a hole to go through the middle.”

Not only was the finish their best ever, it also is a huge momentum builder for the team after a tough few weeks on the road. After a 20th place finish at Las Vegas, the team had an encounter with an elk while en route back east, causing damage to their truck that hauls their race truck. That was followed up by Anderson having a warrant put out for his arrest for an alleged stolen race truck. Fortunately for Anderson, that issue was cleared up in short order and the team turned their attention toward Talladega and the remainder of the season.

“We’ve had such a rough couple of weeks leading up to here,” he said. “From Vegas to hitting an elk and everything that went on last week, our deal is embrace the journey, so we never gave up and we got a good finish. Really good momentum for my guys because they work so hard. This is for everybody that helps us get here.”

With two top-10 finishes on the season at restrictor plate tracks, the team will take Saturday’s truck back to the shop, clean it up and repair that damage before returning it to the track in the 2019 Truck Series season opener at Daytona, where they will look for a third straight top-10 finish on a plate track.

“We’ve got a little damage on the nose, but looking at some of the trucks that are getting towed in right now, I’ve got no complaints. The truck is in one piece and for us being a small team, we’re taking this truck to Daytona in three months. For us to be able to take it back to the shop and make it better is a huge blessing.”

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David Morgan is the Associate Editor for Motorsports Tribune. A 2008 graduate from the University of Mississippi, David has followed NASCAR since the early 90’s and became hooked at an early age after attending his first race at Talladega Superspeedway in 1993. He has traveled across the country since 2012 to cover some of the most prestigious events both IndyCar and NASCAR have to offer, with an aim to only expand on that in the near future.