Coming into the 2019 NASCAR season, MBM Motorsports planned on running at least two full-time NASCAR Xfinity Series teams with a third if there was sufficient funding. Now, the organization fields four teams, three of which are full-time efforts.
Joey Gase drives the No. 35 Toyota full-time, Chad Finchum has primarily driven the No. 42 Toyota and the No. 66 Toyota has been driven by a rotation of drivers. The No. 13 has largely been a start-and-park entry, but if there is funding, it will attempt to run the full distance.
In the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series, MBM has fielded the No. 66 Toyota part-time with the driving duties split between Gase and Timmy Hill. Additionally, the organization fielded a second car, the No. 46 Toyota, in the Digital Ally 400 at Kansas Speedway. The team entered both cars in the Monster Energy Open and plans to enter both in the Coca-Cola 600 as well.
With expansion comes challenges, and owner Carl Long told Frontstretch he is scratching his head on how to solve those struggles. Chiefly, Long bemoaned the lack of hardworking, good employees for MBM Motorsports.
“We have good crew chiefs and drivers,” Long explained to Frontstretch. “I just cannot find younger kids to work for MBM Motorsports. There’s not many good workers. [Often times] big teams gobble up the good kids after I train ’em.”
If a team doesn’t have enough quality employees, why field a second entry like was done in Kansas?
“The Xfinity Series was off that week, we don’t have a big sponsor and I needed to make payroll.”
Long depended on the purse from that race to pay employees and hoped to break even financially in Kansas. Instead, the organization didn’t even break even after Gase and Hill finished 38th and 39th, respectively.
“We had no sponsors. There was no outside money coming in,” Long said flatly. “So we lost a lot of money. We should’ve stayed at home.”
The team even bought used tires for both cars. Gase finished 13 laps down and Hill finished 14 laps down. It’s really struggled with the 2019 Cup Series aero package, and combined with old tires, both cars were way behind on speed.
To add insult to injury, an issue with the scheduled hauler driver left Long to drive it by himself back to the shop in North Carolina. Because Long was the only driver, he needed to stop, so the hauler arrived back later than expected.
Now Long fears the team’s performance in the Coca-Cola 600 will not be satisfactory. Because the team is way off on its Cup Series program, it will field two entries this weekend before taking a hiatus from racing in the Cup Series.
While the Cup program has struggled, the Xfinity program has noticeably improved this season. Long attributed the improvement to two key factors: the driver and crew chief match-ups and the in-house engine program.
After the 2018 season, the team purchased Triad engines at an auction. When the engines were installed in the Xfinity cars, the drivers had top-15 speed and some good finishes. Unfortunately, the Triad Cup engines haven’t helped the speed.
“Those engines made cars handle poorly and we were far too slow,” he said.
Because the Xfinity engines improved the drivers’ performance, Long wants to use those engines as often as money will allow. Otherwise, the drivers run the in-house engines, and Long praised his drivers’ ability to take care of the equipment. That said, the in-house program still has its own problems to work out.
“I only have one full-time guy working on our engine program,” Long explained. “He’s a good guy, but he’s overworked because we need more people working on our engines.”
Long hesitated when asked if the team would lease its engines out to others. MBM leased an engine to Josh Reaume to run in his truck at Atlanta Motor Speedway, and the motor blew. While Long doesn’t completely blame Reaume for the blown engine, he isn’t thrilled with the outcome. That was a brand new engine, costing the team more money it doesn’t have.
In his Facebook posts for Carl Long Motorsports, Long is largely unfiltered.
“I don’t care about other peoples’ opinions, but I’ve never had an issue with a sponsor over my Facebook posts,” Long said bluntly. “They actually like my honesty. I just tell the truth about the team.”
Long applies the golden rule to his sponsors: Treat everybody like you want to be treated.
“We may be broke but we’re not a**holes.”
Even though his jack-of-all-trades Timmy Hill formed his own Truck Series team, Hill Motorsports, Long wishes him well.
“It’s Timmy’s team, so all the people, equipment, etc. are Timmy’s,” Long said. “Timmy’s wanting to make some money and for his brother Tyler Hill to earn some track time as he moves up the NASCAR ladder.”
In order to bring in more revenue, Long mentioned he is open to other sponsored drivers in both the Cup and Xfinity series. However, “on the Xfinity Series side of drivers, we’re good.
“Racing is a business,” Long added. “NASCAR purses alone would close the team. Everything is here except for good blue collar workers. It’s even harder to find good truck drivers, like the issue at Kansas Speedway.”
Long plans on running MBM in survival mode so as to not fold.
“There’s enough people to really run two Xfinity Series teams well,” he explained. “We’re running four every week. There’s jobs, there’s work, there’s some money, there’s just not enough people.”
Long reaffirmed his commitment to running the team, despite its shortcomings.
“We’re running old stuff, which hurts us.”
In order to be more competitive, the team will need more sponsors. Even if the money comes in, Long still searches for good employees to maximize good finishes for MBM Motorsports.
About the author
Mark Kristl joined Frontstretch at the beginning of the 2019 NASCAR season. He is the site's ARCA Menards Series editor. Kristl is also an Eagle Scout and a proud University of Dayton alum.