In 2019, the NASCAR national touring world didn’t see much of Myatt Snider. Instead, he was overseas, competing full-time in the NASCAR Whelen Euro Series for Racing Engineering.
The move to racing 13 events in the Euro Series was a bit of a surprise to Snider. He was believed to be returning to ThorSport Racing in the Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series. After all, he was coming off a Rookie of the Year campaign in 2018, where he piloted the No. 13 Ford to three top-five finishes and eight top 10s in 23 races.
But in early January 2019, Brett Moffit was left without a ride after capturing the 2018 championship with Hattori Racing Enterprises, replaced by Austin Hill, who brought funding to the table. Moffitt eventually joined GMS Racing, who bounced 2016 series champion Johnny Sauter out of a ride.
Very late in the offseason, it was announced Sauter would return to ThorSport, a team he competed for from 2009-12, now kicking Snider out of the No. 13 truck.
There was no more competitive seats to fill, really in any of the three top divisions of NASCAR.
“There wasn’t a lot of communication last year in what I was going to be doing, if I was going to be doing anything,” Snider recently told Frontstretch. “I had to start scrambling when Daytona [International Speedway] got around. We found out our deal late, and we made something happen.
“As much as I want to race, I’ve always made sure that I’ve had a backup plan. Having a career in racing is a very rare thing to happen. You want it, you dream about it, but you also know it’s not a guarantee unless everything falls into place just perfectly.”
Snider, 25, has been enrolled at UNC Charlotte off and on over the past four years, pursuing a degree in mathematics. Whenever he is racing full-time, school takes a backseat, as it did in 2018. He’s also been working toward earning a Private Pilot License (PPL) just in case racing doesn’t work out.
“I’ve got plans in place,” Snider said. “It’s just a matter of what makes the most sense come the time of that I do want to decide to hang the helmet up or not.”
For now, Snider is not focusing on hanging up the helmet. Instead, he’s splitting the 2020 NASCAR Xfinity Series season between Richard Childress Racing — the organization that won the 2019 championship — and RSS Racing, a family-run operation.
In the first race out this season, Snider scored the pole at Daytona en route to leading the opening 13 laps in the No. 21 Chevrolet for RCR. Ultimately, he was involved in a wreck, finishing a disappointing 33rd.
The following week at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, Snider, again, started from the top spot as qualifying was rained out. Following the event, he was upset with Noah Gragson, who spun out the No. 21 car with less that 40 laps to go. Snider finished 16th.
At Auto Club Speedway, driving for RSS, Snider picked up a season-best finish of 11th. Overall, the opening month of the season was yo-yo-like, and he hopes to tweak that in the coming races.
“There are some things I definitely need to improve on,” Snider said of his season. “Being that I’ve been to most of these tracks in a truck, I’m still trying to get out of that mindset of driving a truck and just trying to thrash the truck the whole time and driving in as deep as you can. It’s a little more finesse, a little more like a late model. You have to give and take, give and take, rather than just thrash, thrash, thrash.
“I’m trying to change that mindset. Trying to figure out how I can drive these cars a little bit better and get some better results.”
Splitting time between two teams can be a challenge. Numerous drivers in lower divisions of NASCAR do it, specifically in their rookie season. Austin Cindric recently pulled off such a stunt in 2018. That year, Cindric split time between Roush Fenway Racing and Team Penske, where he nearly squeezed into the Championship 4 at Homestead-Miami Speedway.
Meanwhile, Snider is doing it with two teams that are vastly different: one company is the defending champion, the other has seven top-five finishes to its name in 404 starts. Granted, two of those came in the first four races of 2020 with Ryan Sieg.
“The biggest challenge is changing what my expectations are,” Snider said. “When I get in an RCR car, there’s a chance I could win any race that I’m in good stuff. When I get into a [RSS Racing] car, a top 10 is a really good day and a top five is a perfect day. I just have to change what I’m looking at, temper my expectations.”
But having experience with both those style of teams can help develop Snider further into his racing craft.
“I feel like making the transition with a team like RCR and a team like Ryan Sieg’s team is a good way for me to gauge where I need to improve,” Snider said. “With an RCR car, I can go out and win. With an RSS car, I can go out and learn.”
RCR has a technical alliance with Kaulig Racing. Due to that, Snider admits he leans on NASCAR veteran Ross Chastain heavily. There’s also Tyler Reddick, who runs the No. 8 Chevrolet in the NASCAR Cup Series and is coming off back-to-back Xfinity championships.
Prior to Daytona, Snider needed funding for roughly 13 to 14 races in order to complete a full Xfinity season. According to Snider, that number has shrunk, but he still needs to raise the necessary funding to run all 33 races.
“I’m trying to work out whatever I can to fill out those additional races,” Snider said. “Things are looking better now, even so with the season being a little different now. I think the cost may be different [per] race. It could end up working out in my favor.”
After four races, Snider sits 16th in the championship standings with an average finish of 18.5.
- The first Xfinity race back admist the COVID-19 pandemic was postponed to Thursday (May 21) at noon ET following a Tuesday night (May 19) rainout. Noah Gragson and Michael Annett will start on the front row via a random draw.
- Last Thursday (May 14), NASCAR announced the next chunk of races for the 2020 season following next week’s races at Charlotte Motor Speedway. Following the May 25 race at CMS, the Xfinity Series will compete at Bristol Motor Speedway on May 30, Atlanta Motor Speedway (June 6), Homestead-Miami Speedway (June 13 and 14) and Talladega Superspeedway on June 20. The second race at Homestead replaces the first race that was scheduled at Iowa Speedway, as both of the series’ races in Iowa have been canceled.