Sept. 19, 2014, was one of the most pivotal days in the young racing career of Brennan Poole.
Competing part-time for Bill Venturini, Poole went into his last race of the season needing a miracle to happen in order for him to prove his talent. Starting eighth, he quickly made his way to the front, leading 27 of 100 laps en route to his sixth win in the ARCA Series, though it is likely his most important.
Poole competed in seven of the 20 ARCA Series events in 2014, but otherwise did not have much to do. He recognized the fact that if no sponsor took a chance on him in his racing career, he would likely be going back to The Woodlands, Texas, which he calls home, to work for his father at a Midas Complete Car Care.
In steps DC Solar and Chip Ganassi.
Gansassi wanted to get Poole into one of his Chevrolets, but needed a sponsor. The veteran team owner got in contact with a representative from DC Solar, which then called Poole.
Jeffrey Carpoff , owner of DC Solar met with Poole in Charlotte, N.C., and the two kicked off what would turn into a solid relationship.
“He’s a huge race fan,” Poole told Frontstretch regarding Carpoff. “We hung out, and I took them around Charlotte Motor Speedway in a two-seater and we had some fun. About two or three weeks later they called me back and said they wanted to move forward with me and partner with a young guy, and they thought I would be that guy. That was kind of an insane conversation because at the time I really didn’t think anything was going to happen for me.”
Prior to the chat with Carpoff, Poole thought the race with Venturini Motorsports might be the last race he’d ever run. Instead, he was thrown into the XFINITY Series for a part-time schedule in 2015, competing in 17 races.
Like most sponsors in the NASCAR world, DC Solar operates business-to-business. Now that the brand is starting to expand, it is extending its partnership with the tracks on the NASCAR circuit.
“It’s been awesome to work with them over the past couple years and they are doing great things in this sport,” Poole said. “They’ve been doing a lot of things at Charlotte Motor Speedway with generators, and Las Vegas Motor Speedway. At Phoenix International Raceway they are a part of rebuilding that whole facility. They are powering it. It’s a pretty neat time to be associated with them and this race team.”
DC Solar is a clean energy company that designs, manufactures and leases renewable energy products. As well as sponsoring the XFINITY Series race in Phoenix this weekend, the company has an alliance with International Speedway Corp to remodel the track, which was announced in late November.
The $178 million overhaul is scheduled to include new and upgraded grandstands, added structures for competitors and sponsors in the infield area, more RV parking and new steel and metal exteriors. The track itself will be changed as the start-finish line is going to be placed in the middle of Turn Nos. 1 and 2.
“As a sport, NASCAR is really trying to build its green initiative, and I think DC Solar fits right into that,” Poole said. “They are getting rid of all these diesel generators and things around the track that DC Solar can fill very easily and do it at a cheaper cost and create less emissions. It’s a pretty awesome product.”
Though Poole has yet to score a top-10 finish in the young season, he knows he has DC Solar to fall back on.
“Fortunately, they have given me an opportunity to learn because I really wasn’t racing a lot in 2013 and 2014,” Poole said of the company. “I didn’t really know what I was doing. They have been able to stick with me and help me get to where we are at now where we are a contender and can win the championship. I think now we get to go into our second full year and we are in a position to make a lot of noise.”
Ganassi seconds Poole’s opinion.
“Jeff and his wife are fans of the sport, but they are good people,” Ganassi said. “They understand the investment in this sport and what it takes to build a champion and a championship winning team. That’s what their focus is.”
In his rookie season, Poole had four top five-finishes, and 17 top 10s. The No. 48 car actually crossed the checkered flag first at Talladega Superspeedway last May, but NASCAR overturned the win, ruling the caution had come out before he passed Sadler for the victory.
Poole had a pair of third-place finishes in 2016 at Talladega and at Road America. Despite his early success in the XFINITY Series, he doesn’t want to stay in the preliminary series forever, but to take the next step up to the Cup Series, he needs funding. DC Solar could be that resource.
“I definitely think they are going to be involved in the sport for a very long time,” Poole said. “Obviously, my goal is to race on Sundays and I’m working really hard to do that, watching film, hanging out with my guys at the shop, being involved as I can. But yeah, I would say their goal is to be on a Sunday car and hopefully I’m good enough to be their driver.”