Brian Shirley was set to run the 2018 World of Outlaws Late Model Series schedule with G.R. Smith; Following Speedweeks, the plan abruptly changed
Last year, Jonathan Davenport left his ride in the Barry Wright house car. He then went to drive the remainder of the 2017 season for G.R. Smith. That year, Davenport claimed the 2017 World 100 and take the $50,000 payout.
For 2018, Jonathan Davenport has moved to a new team. He’s now driving for Lance Landers Motorsports as they follow the Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series tour.
This left a national touring seat open for 2018. G.R. Smith Motorsports selected 37-year-old Brian Shirley from Chatham, IL to occupy the #22. They set the gps for the World of Outlaws Late Model Series schedule.
By the end of February, the two went their separate directions. G.R. Smith is now back behind the wheel of the #22, driving his own car. Brian Shirley went back to the #3s fielded by Bob Cullen Racing, a ride he’s piloted for the last several seasons.
What happened with the G.R. Smith ride? One week, you guys are selling t-shirts. The next week, you’re not in the car. What happened there?
“It’s just one of those deals. Nothing really bad, things just didn’t really get off the ground the way they needed to as far as them bing prepared for speedweeks,” Brian Shirley told RacingNews.co .
“A lot of little things. Like, they didn’t get the motors in, in time. All in all, just being prepared to run a national tour, it just wasn’t in the cards.”
“For me, I have my own equipment to race. The only thing that was suppose to be beneficial for me by driving for him was that I was just going to show up and drive.”
“So, when it came to that part of just not having the situation the way it was suppose to be — Then, going to Speedweeks and just having a tough time. We hurt a motor, we hurt a car. There was a lot of expenses early. It was just one of those deals where it was wiser for him to not run a tour.”
“Really, just decided it was better for both parties to do something different.”
What’s the schedule like for the 3s? I assume you’re in this car full-time now?
“Oh yeah. I was always in this car. I didn’t get rid of this car just because I was driving for G.R. Smith. We were still going to run 25-30 races in this car.”
“Anytime you can have an opportunity to just show up and drive — And not have to work on the cars during the week. It was just going to be one of those deals that was easier.”
“I own two business and stuff like that. Plus, a wife and three kids. So, I have a lot of things going on.”
“At the point, I thought I was going to be able to free up a lot of time to just show up and drive for 70 races. Instead of putting in the hours that you gotta put in through the week and other things that it takes to race.”
“We was gonna run with them and then run the 3s a few times, to make everybody happy. At the end of the day when things didn’t work out — Nothing really changed for me. I still have all this stuff at my house. I was gonna race, no matter what.”
So, the plan was to run the 3s 25 times. I assume you’re running it more now?
Do you know how many?
“I don’t know for sure. the weather’s messed up a lot of things. We’ll run anywhere from 70-80 nights, just like normal.”
“We’ll go where it makes the most sense for the team. Just do what’s best for everybody, even myself. Just driving down the road — Not having a bunch of windshield time, it’s not too bad.”
“At Tri-City, I drive an hour and a half from the house. While these guys have been stuck on the road for a week, I’m at home doing the things that I need to do.”
“Yeah. Really, just doing what we always do. We’ve ran a tour here and there. For the most part, we’ve always just run for what made the most sense.”
“Just money wise, what made the most sense. It costs a lot of money to race on a tour.”
Are you thinking about the Summer Nationals?
“We’ll run most of them. I don’t know exactly if we’ll run them all or not. But, those are all in my backyard.”
“We’ll go to a lot of the places that we feel comfortable and feel like we can win. If it comes down to where we’re running good — Just take it day by day.”
“That deal’s more taking it day by day and not getting yourself stressed out.”
And not sleeping.
“Yeah. If things didn’t start off good and you had a couple bad days. Then, you can just go home for a couple days, re-group.”
“It’s just about making the most of the races you go to. That’s the biggest thing. Make the most money. Make what keeps the team in the best position to be in the green at the end of day. That’s really what it is for us.”
Related: April 2018
Rusty Schlenk has dropped off the 201 WoOLMS tour
Related: December 2017
Brian Shirley selected to the pilot the #22 for G.R. Smith on the national tour
Related: August 2017
Jonathan Davenport discusses his new ride with G.R. Smith