Buckingham drove to victory lane at Tazewell Speedway
Shanon Buckingham unloaded at Florence Speedway on Saturday night. He then had to blow off the confetti as it surrounded the #50 machine in the pit area.
The night before, Buckingham claimed his first career Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series victory. The 50 lap race brought a check for $12,000 to the team.
Buckingham survived a night of attrition at the front. Several race leaders suffered flat tires. Josh Richards was the first to lose a tire. That was followed by Tyler Erb and Dale McDowell, on the same caution toward the end up the race.
On the final restart, Buckingham was on the gas and drove off to the victory.
Shanon Buckingham on the win at Tazewell Speedway
What got it done for you last night?
“Man, we just started off on the right foot. We drew a good number, number two,” Shanon Buckingham told RacingNews.co .
“Sometimes that’s not good. That night, I felt like it was an advantage. They went out and rolled that track down. So, I knew it would get rougher as it went.”
“Then, I had a good heat race. I kinda went for broke there and tried to pass Josh. He slid up and got into me a little bit. Of course, it’s just racing but we held onto 2nd.”
“It’s just so much easier when you start off on the right foot. You got speed early and you can fine tune. It seems a lot of time, we’re making wholesale changes throughout the night. It’s just kind of a crap shoot, if you hit on something.”
“The night just went well. We’re used to running red clay, high banks. I think we have a little bit of an advantage on some of those guys. I watched them qualify and I could see some of their problems.”
“I’ve not raced Tazewell all that much. In fact, most of my career, I’ve dodged it, just because it’s so rough on equipment. I love it, it’s a blast. And it’s really a blast to watch. But, when you’re paying for your own stuff, it’s not the most economical place to race.”
“Me and JC clicked. The tire guy did his job. I didn’t make any mistakes behind the wheel and just put together a good night.”
I might me making this up. But, I feel like I’ve seen you run well, several times, at the beginning of the night. Then, watch it fade off in the feature.
“Oh yeah. It happens and that’s part of this deal. That’s part of why these guys are so good. They’re able to put the whole night together.”
“I feel like most everywhere we go, at some point in the night, we’re one of the better cars. People say racers make excuses.”
“But, I think if you’re not looking for a reason why you’re not good or analyzing the times that you are good then I don’t really think you’re doing your job.”
“We analyze our lap times and our performance throughout the night. The track’s going to change, the conditions are going to change. You have to be able to adjust on the fly and make good decisions.”
“I’ve always said that I don’t think Scott Bloomquist is the best late model driver in history. But, I do think he’s the best setup guy. He’s the best at analyzing his equipment. He’s the best guy at making the correct adjustments. And most of the time, that’s what it’s all about.”
“When you got good cars, it’s not nearly as hard. Usually, that guy back there in 12th place is driving twice as hard as those guys up front. It’s because his equipment is off just enough that he’s trying to make up for it.”
“There’s no doubt, the mark of being a champion is being able to adjust. Every weekend, throughout the year.”
What was your second best Lucas Oil finish?
“Probably 4th and it was probably at Tazewell honestly.”
“We’ve started on the pole and had some great qualifying and heat race efforts. But, like you said. Even here at Florence, we’ve started on the pole and faded to 9th.”
“People say, ‘Aw, top 10, that’s great.’ But, when you started P1 and finish P10, that sucks. That’s 9 or 10 times somebody drove by ya. And it’s pisses you off every time they do.”
“It just takes so much experience and so much effort from so many people. It’s not me doing it all right, it’s a group effort.”
“Unfortunately, I get to stand up there and hold the check. I just hope everybody realizes that it’s more than just one guy. It’s three or four and a lot of times those guys are busting their butt harder than I am.”
“At Tazewell, JC and I communicated well. Sometimes we don’t. Sometimes, we growl at each other. Of course, it’s easy to work well when things are going good.”
“We’ve made a conscious effort over the last few weeks to try to work better together. I feel like the win at Tazewell shows that if we put out egos to the side, mostly mine and just listen to what the other guy’s got to say.”
“That’s what everybody does. There’s nobody out there that just knows it all.”
Buckingham rebuilding after the wreck
A few weeks ago, Buckingham lost a chassis, motor, transmission and rear end in a crash at Fayetteville Motor Speedway. He had a new chassis sitting at the shop already.
Over the off week, the crew went to work building that car up. It’s become the primary but it wasn’t unloaded at Tazewell. That car will be saved for big events and the team plans to unload it at Eldora later in the season.
Did rebuilding the car contribute to this win in any way?
“No. All that late night work wasn’t going into the car we were running. To be honest, we probably neglected it a little. We worked until Thursday on the new car. Just so we had a spare. Otherwise, we’d be rolling with one.”
“I told JC, ‘Let me do this one. You go over there and work on the car we’re going to race.’ “
“I made a comment about the long hours. Really, it was his long hours on the car that we ran, that got us there. Hours in the shop add up. It’s amazing how every little thing you do, even if it’s not on the car you’re racing, you might learn a little something to apply to the other car.”
“You’d think that as much as we do this, we’d know these things inside and out. But, you’d be surprised. Sometimes a bracket, a bar or a shock, you’ll learn a way to tweak it a little better.”