Jeff Agnew has been running races on local short tracks in the Southeast for more than 20 years. He has been a mainstay in the Pro Cup series since the late 1990s and has track championships at both Lonesome Pine Raceway and Motor Mile Speedway. Recently, Agnew has been chasing the dream of running in the Camping World Truck Series. At 46 years old, Agnew is hardly a typical rookie in the Truck Series, but he does know how to get around on a short track. Frontstretch.com caught up with Agnew shortly after he qualified for the Kroger 200 making it his ninth race of the season in his No. 07 Chevrolet.
Mike Neff: You’re 46 years old, brother! How much longer are you going to do this?
Jeff Agnew: I really don’t know. My boss, Eddie Asbury up in Bluefield, he loves to race and we all love to race. If we can keep going out and be fairly competitive, and put on a good show, I really don’t know. We’ll just keep going as long as we can go.
Neff: A lot of our readers may not be familiar with your long racing history. You really made a name for yourself in the Pro Cup Series. Started out in 1998 as the Rookie of the Year and won the title. Won it a couple more times, how many titles did you end up winning in the Pro Cup?
Agnew: We ended up winning three. We won the North, then the overall and then the overall last year. Won it three times, finished in the top 10 most every time. We’ve done pretty good. There were a few years there where we strayed off the right path but we’ve been pretty fortunate. We’ve raced for a long time and have had some success.
Neff: You’ve always been loyal to the Pro Cup Series. If you get the chance next year, will you run the Pro Cup deal again?
Agnew: I’m not sure. The boss wanted to run the Trucks and see what we can do here and just kind of focus on this. We ran one race this year in the Pro Cup Series but we stopped after that one, just to try and put all of our focus in the Truck deal. We’re probably looking to run a little bit more next year than we’ve run this year. We never make a plan from year-to-year of what we’re going to do. The boss just comes up and says let’s go do it and we rush around and get it done and go to it.
Neff: Speaking of the boss, what do you for a living outside of running the Truck?
Agnew: I work for him on the cars and trucks and stuff like that. Every once in a while we’ll work on the trucks around the shop for him but most of all it is just racin’.
Neff: What town are you from in Virginia?
Agnew: I’m from Floyd, VA. The shop and my owner is from Bluefield, VA.
Neff: What would you consider to be your home track? Lonesome Pine or Motor Mile or somewhere else?
Agnew: It would be Motor Mile. We ran there for quite a few years and won four championships there in the Late Model. It was a great race track for us and is still a great facility.
Neff: Do you get the chance to go and run a Late Model anymore?
Agnew: No, a few people ask from time to time but for the most part I like to keep myself geared up on these Trucks because it has been a hard step for me. I’ve raced for 25, 26 years but when you go to these mile and a half tracks it is just something totally new to me. I’ve been a half mile or less all of my life where you let off of the gas and you hit the brake. You start sliding… with these, you keep it wide open. It has been kind of a big learning curve for me as far as that goes. We’re really working hard on it and trying to get the feel for that. I don’t know, in my mind it gives me an advantage if I only focus on that one thing and try to stay with it.
Neff: This will be your ninth race this season. You say you don’t make a plan, but do you think you’ll do as many or more next year, or is that at least the hope?
Agnew: Well, we’re hoping. We’ll just have to wait and see what the boss says and just go from there. We’ve had some fun this year and learned a whole lot. That’s all you can ask for is to try and learn every time you go out and be a little bit better every time out.
Neff: When you’re not in the race cars or working on them, what do you like to do away from the race track?
Agnew: Go with my kids to their games and stuff. I have kids that are old enough now to play football or volleyball or whatever. The wife spends a lot of time running up and down the road with the kids and when I’m home, I go with them. That has been a blast, the sandlot and rec and all of that stuff. Pretty excited when we don’t get to race and don’t have much going on I get to go with them.
Neff: I know Red Farmer is 70-some years old and is still running around racing cars. Do you think you’ll be able to do it that long?
Agnew: I really don’t want to. (laughs) Like I said, if we can keep coming out and being fairly competitive and seem to be doing something I want to do it as long as we can.
Agnew had a spin early on in the race and, at one point, had some front end damage, but his No. 07 team kept after it all day and managed a 21st place finish, the second car one lap down to the leaders. Similar to Timothy Peters, who built his own truck in his garage and came to Martinsville to compete, ultimately landing a ride in a Red Horse Racing Truck and competing for the series championship, Agnew’s team is working miracles with very little in the form of resources. They do have an experienced shoe behind the wheel who has won races all over the Southeast. You never know when they’ll catch lightning in a bottle and score a win over the full-time competitors in the Camping World Truck Series.
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