The Frontstretch: Beyond the Cockpit: Jason White On The Challenge Of Racing NASCAR Part-Time by Amy Henderson -- Tuesday May 28, 2013

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Jason White started racing at the age of ten (wining six Virginia state titles and a national championship in go-katrs) and hasn’t stopped since. White, 33, has raced in all three of NASCAR’s national touring series, with most of his success coming in the Camping World Truck Series, where he has 21 career top-10 finishes and a best points finish of 10th. White finished 11th in CWTS points last year and this year, moves to a partial Nationwide Series schedule for SR2 Motorsports. He grabbed his career-best NNS finish this year at Talladega. White sat down with Amy Henderson at Charlotte to discuss his career so far, his memorable moments, and much more.

Amy Henderson, Tell us a little about your background—you have Six state go-kart titles and some impressive stats in karts.

Jason White: I started off in go-karts when I was a kid, about 10 years old. I did really well—I won the state championships and national titles. From there, I moved up to Modifieds and late models and ran those for a number of years. Then, I graduated up to the Nationwide Series, which used to be the Busch Series, and ran a couple races here and there for some people and had some opportunities after that to run in the Truck Series. For the last six or seven years, I’ve run full time in trucks. I had a best finish of second. I could have won numerous races, but it just didn’t happen. My best finish in points was tenth. This year, I decided to step back up to the Nationwide Series, and it’s gone pretty well. We finished eighth at Talladega and had some good runs. Hopefully we’ll continue the success this year.

Jason White found success in go-karts long before working his way into NASCAR. Photo courtesy Getty Images.

Henderson: You got your start at local tracks, like a lot of drivers. How important are local tracks to the development of drivers for the upper levels?

White: It’s huge. That’s where everybody learns. You have to learn the smaller tracks before you can learn the bigger ones. Obviously, learning the Saturday night shootout races is where you learn how to race. It’s definitely the best way to do it.

Henderson: What are your plans for the rest of 2013?

White: Our goal is to do about 20 Nationwide races, one or two truck races and maybe a Cup race. We’re trying to figure all that out right now. We definitely have some more slated.

Henderson: How hard is it to be competitive when you’re racing part time? What do you have to do differently than someone who is able to race every week?

White: It’s definitely harder. You have to knock the dust off, so to speak, if you’re not in the car every week. The crew is a big thing, too, as far as knowing what you expect and what you want. Being on the road with the same car, same crew every week is a huge advantage. It’s just about gelling; everybody is gelling and on the same page (when they run fill time).

Henderson: What steps do you have to take to learn that communication faster?

White: You just have to be more aggressive on what you do, just make it happen. We’re not in a situation to be able to race every week right now, but hopefully we will be one day.

Henderson: One thing that’s a common thread among all teams is sponsorship. As a driver, how much do you have to do as far as bringing in sponsorship yourself? That’s something that’s changed over the years, and it seems like drivers are expected to bring their own backing sometimes.

White: That’s the thing—you have to have help from everybody. The driver has to chip in. The team owner has to chip in. The PR people have to chip in. If everybody pulls their own weight, it makes it where you can go out there and race more races. I’ve been able to do a good job with it, and our team does a good job of finding things, so we’ll just continue where we’re going as a team and get into more races.

Henderson: You’ve had a good bit of success, like you said, in the Truck Series, but you haven’t had as much experience in the Nationwide Series. There isn’t much about the actual vehicles to take from one to the other, but what can you take with you as far as different tracks and different cars?

White: The tracks are basically the same. The cars drive a little bit different, but the main thing is that Nationwide is a step up. It’s definitely more competition. You have to compete with a lot of Cup teams, which makes it more difficult. There are a lot of Cup drivers; the series is pretty strong right now. There are probably 23 or 24 cars that could win this race. That’s the thing, it’s just not easy, so you just have to keep working on it.

Henderson: You had a chance to race when the Nationwide and Truck Series ran on more short tracks—you raced at places like Myrtle Beach, South Boston, Nazareth. Would you like to see those two series go back to more short tracks?

White: It would be cool. That way, you’d get a lot of short track fans and get more drivers in there to be able to compete because they’re not approved for the bigger tracks. But at the end of the day, the bigger tracks are where a lot of fans go. They’re in bigger cities; it’s where a lot of the core people come to. It’s just kind of come to that. So, you just have to go with the times and go to the bigger tracks.

Henderson: If you could add one track back to the schedule, which one would you choose?

White: Myrtle Beach is a great place. You have some great racing, it wears your tires out. It’s an awesome place to go.

Henderson: What’s your favorite racing memory? Is there a specific race that stands out?

White: Winning the national title was awesome. Winning some of those national races in karts and to be able to do so at a young age and to be able to be as successful as we were. We used to race with Denny Hamlin every week. It was cool to be able to beat those guys. A lot of those guys are running today in Cup. We’re not where they’re at right now, but hopefully we will be.

Henderson: You’ve run in Denny’s late model race at Richmond—I believe you have a top 10 in that?

White: We definitely had a great car a couple of times. Circumstances just didn’t work out (for a win).

Henderson: Race fans are pretty intense. Have you had any crazy requests from a fan?

White: Oh, heck, I don’t know. They’ve done some crazy things, but it’s fun; I like it. I enjoy it. It’s always cool to go out on Talladega Boulevard. You’ll see about everything there!

Henderson: What do you like to do away from the track?

White: I like to just chill, hang out on the lake. I like to travel a little bit. I like to just relax and get away from all the craziness and just hang out.

Henderson: Where’s your favorite place to travel to?

White: I’d have to say Las Vegas. It’s a lot of fun. It’s a good atmosphere. Scottsdale, Arizona is another place; it’s really nice. The weather is usually great. The golf courses in both places are awesome, and I definitely like to play some golf and hang out in the sun and just hang out and have no worries out there.

Henderson: Finally, what advice would you give to a young driver, maybe in karts, who wanted to get to NASCAR?

White: Just do the best you can do. Stay in the sport; try to win races and do a really good job. And work on trying to find money. At the end of the day, if you can find the money, you can get to the next level. You have to have enough money to be able to make it happen, but then you also have to have the talent to get the chance to make it happen. You’ve got to keep in the game, race as well as you can, and work on sponsorship as much as you can.

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