2009 saw JC Stout, a part-time Truck Series competitor, take his own Stellar-Quest Racing operation to the Nationwide ranks. And, as Frontstretch‘s own Mike Neff chronicled at Charlotte, the team got off to a surprisingly good start at Lowe’s Motor Speedway. Competing against one of the deepest fields the Nationwide Series has seen this season (over 50 cars showed up), Stout raced his No. 19 car into the field and ran the distance in a weekend that could be considered nothing short of a success for the New York driver.
Unfortunately, that’s been the only such story of the year for Stellar-Quest Racing. Stout made three more attempts in his No. 19 car, and left the track with nothing but three DNQs. “We missed the field by a tenth at one race, by like seven hundreths at another, and we were way off at Michigan” recalls Stout of his own team’s attempts.
With racing for his own team proving impossible, Stout had to scrape the bottom of the barrel to find a new home, and in the Nationwide Series this year, that meant a spot in the start-and-park brigade, driving the No. 0 car for Johnny Davis’ JD Motorsports team.
“JD has a full-time car [the No. 01], this helps to pay the bills” says Stout of his new ride. “I hate it [start-and-parking]… but it beats staying at home on the weekends.”
Being a resident of upper New York, Stout knows firsthand that out of sight is out of mind in today’s NASCAR. And for a driver in his shoes still trying to make a name for himself, start-and-parking is seat time.
“It’s 20 or so laps of practice, qualifying, and 10 laps in the race” says Stout of his new gig. In today’s Nationwide Series, that’s invaluable; with money and rides at a premium, any seat time is clamored for.
What’s more, Stout sees JD Motorsports as a place to build his future. His limited stint in his own No. 19 car with Stellar-Quest Racing showed first hand how tough the owner/driver role is in racing today, especially when resources are all but non-existent. Further, with the Nationwide COT program on the horizon and money already drying up, Stout is actively considering the future of the Nationwide Series… and the possibility that even more of the Series’ rides will dry up come 2011.
With the No. 0 car, Stout is a sponsor away from a shot at competing full-time, and he knows it. He’s hired help with a communications company to try and track down sponsorship dollars, and is now hoping to bring a sponsor to the No. 0, and to bring JD Motorsports’ second car back to racing.
“I hope to be running the distance soon” says Stout.
In the meantime, Stout is living the life of a start-and-park driver. Running conservative setups and laps, helping his full-team teammate (Mike Wallace) in any way possible, and above all making races. When asked what constituted a successful weekend for him, Stout was blunt, saying “that’s it:” Making the race is all that matters. “Keeping [owner] Johnny happy” is all the matters.
Well, that and not tearing up anymore cars, Stout says with a chuckle (he wrecked one at Atlanta earlier in September).