Austin Pickens Ready For 2018 Modified Racing Season
Article Published by: racedayct.com
LFR announced today that Austin Pickens will run a house car in multiple modified races during the 2018 race season. Pickens will race in 10 NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour events throughout the season and kick-off the season at the New Smyrna Speedweeks in the modified division.
“I am very excited to start another modified race season with the LFR team,” said Pickens. “We had a great season last year. I learned so much about the cars and how they handle. I’m looking forward to running more races this year with the team. I couldn’t ask for a better team to take on these 10 races. I’m also happy to announce that we will have SiteOne Landscape Supply and Greenbriar Landscape on board this again this season.”
“Steve and Austin called me a year ago looking for some help on their LFR car,” said Rob Fuller, President of LFR. “They had worked with others in the past but wanted to know they had someone that was familiar their new LFR chassis so that Austin had a shot at performing well. He showed good speed at New Smyrna last season and now that we have had time to go through his car completely, I am looking to have him step it up a notch this year. Austin is like every other driver, where the more they drive the better they perform. With this schedule, Austin should have enough seat time to get him fully adjusted to the NASCAR mods and make great progress on the track.”
“After Bristol in 2016 I was very frustrated with our car and team,” said Steve Pickens, team owner. “We drove up to North Carolina and spent a few hours with Andy Petree to get some advice on what to do and who to use. We purchased a LFR chassis before our meeting was over that day and have not looked back. Rob Fuller has been great for Austin and has been patient with him being he never drove a modified car at all until 2016. I’m really looking forward to this year with Rob and his LFR team and know Austin will do well with Rob by his side. We plan to have a good showing for our sponsors, SiteOne Landscape Supply and Greenbriar Landscape this year.”
To kick off the season, Pickens will travel to New Smyrna Speedweeks to contend for the modified championship. An Orlando, Fla. native, Pickens is no stranger to the famed Florida race track, having earned the Pro Truck Championship and third place in Limited Late Model points in the 43rd Annual World Series of Stock Car Racing in 2009.
A year earlier, Pickens dominated the Pro Truck division at New Smyrna Speedway with five top-5 finishes. In addition, he earned a trip to Victory Lane and three top-5 finishes in the Late Model series that year.
LFR and Pickens will combine forces to race in 10 events in the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour focusing on races at Thompson, Stafford, Loudon and Bristol.
Pickens earned two Top-10 finishes in the NWSMT in only six starts in 2016. Eighth place finishes at Bowman Gray Stadium and South Boston Speedway shined a spotlight on Pickens in the NWSMT series that year.
“I’m really looking forward to running New Smyrna again in the tour mods,” said Pickens. “This will be my third year going for the championship. We ran great last year until we were involved in a wreck on the third night. I have a lot of confidence in our team in performing well at this event. We are bringing two new LFR tour mods and with the help of Rob and the rest of the team, I’m confident in a win at New Smyrna this year!”
“We had Austin get his feet wet in the SK division a few times last season,” said Fuller. “SK’s are great, don’t get me wrong, but to learn much in a 40-lap feature is tough for a rookie. I want to get him good seat time in good equipment for 150 lap races so he can advance as fast as possible.”
LFR has secured the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour championship every year with Doug Coby and MSIII Racing since its inception in 2014.
About Michael Smeriglio Racing Corp.
The Michael Smeriglio Racing Corp., MSIII Racing, has won the Nascar Whelen Modified Tour Championship three years running. Along with his driver, Doug Coby and crew chief, Phil Moran they are creating a dynasty in short track racing on the east coast.