It’s been a while since I last updated you on my racing activities. Since then, I’ve been living my life, working my job and enjoying my family. You can probably already guess what happened next. COVID-19 came and changed our world. Life as we know it was no longer the same. A lot has happened in the world of motorsport and this year’s season was no exception. We were forced to take a break from our busy lives and work at home. The break gave us time to reassess our priorities and put into perspective those things we valued most in life. We took a peek into our crystal ball and saw that racing was at the top of the list. It’s almost like our minds were made up for us. We had to go back and race again. At least we could do our part to contribute to the world of motorsport. That was last year and since then, we’ve been diligently attending races, following competitions and trying to catch some of the action as often as we can. This year, like many other years, we were determined to make the most of these cancelled seasons and put together a full racing schedule. We wanted to make sure that we got the most out of this year and made the most of the opportunities that arose. That’s why I’m writing this blog post. To bring you up to speed on all the action, excitement and drama that was a part of this year’s racing season. I’m going to do my best to recap the events that transpired and give you an idea of what to expect in the future. Let’s get started.
The Biggest Story Of This Year Is Clearly Robillard
I think it’s fair to say that Sebastien Robillard had a pretty eventful year. You may know that Robillard is the son of Richard and Jackie Robillard. Richard is the founder of Richard’s Motorcycle Garage and his passion for bikes is obviously demonstrated by the fact that his garage specializes in building custom bikes. Sebastien joined Richard’s Motorcycle Garage last year and got his first taste of the American lifestyle. He adapted to life in the US remarkably well, settling into a routine quickly and becoming an integral part of the team. This year, he was determined to prove himself and earn the trust of his new colleagues. He did this by driving some of the best cars and bikes around. In fact, he became so good that at the end of the year he was picked as one of the top young riders in the nation. He also won several events, including the prestigious International Dream Race. The highlight of his season, though, had to be the part he played in the making of history. On April 1st, the NASCAR circuit held a virtual parade. All of the cars and bikes that were affected by the restrictions put in place due to the pandemic were lined up in a massive grid and followed by thousands of fans who watched the spectacle via live stream. Robillard was one of the drivers who participated in the virtual parade and he had a prime viewing spot from which to watch the event. The fact that he was there at the forefront, leading the parade, was a testament to everything he had achieved this year. He also had the distinction of being the first French driver to ever participate in the event. I have no doubt that Robillard will be back next year, determined to make more history. A star is born.
Shoemaker’s First US Win
Shoemaker’s has been a mainstay at Eldora Speedway for years. The team owners have been known for sponsoring championship caliber teams for many years. This year was no exception as they turned the tables on the competition, jumping out to an early lead and holding on for the win. It was an exciting finish, as nobody came off the paddock unscathed. This was especially true in the final few laps. The final results were 3-Wide (Kyle, Jason and John), with Shoemaker securing a well-deserved 1-2-3 finish. It was a great job by the team as they continue to find new and interesting ways to contribute to the world of motorsport. Hopefully, we’ll see more of this type of activity in the future.
Wix Racing Is Back And More Bold
If there’s one thing that was consistent about Wix Racing throughout the year, it’s that they were always willing to take on a challenge. It wasn’t just that either, as they found the perfect partner for the 2022 season and adapted quickly, becoming one of the best teams in NASCAR. The team continued to impress, securing another win, this time at the Kansas Speedway on one of the biggest stages in motorsport. It was a dominant performance, as they scored the win in both heats and the race. They also participated in the annual Dodge Day celebration at Eldora, which is dedicated to bringing the best elements of different car cultures together. One of the highlights of the day was a rare sight, as a Lamborghini and a Maserati teamed up to form a unique car. It was quite the spectacle to see those two great Italian vehicles race against each other. A lot of people didn’t know much about Lamborghini and Maserati at the time and this was a great way to expose the marque to a new audience. The two drivers were on hand for the festivities, greeting the thousands of spectators who showed up to watch the event. It was a great way to get some eyeballs on these beautiful cars and their unique design. This was a memorable day for the team, as they got to participate in something that they always wanted to do. It’s great to see them finally get to express themselves through the wheel of a race car. I have a feeling that this is just the beginning for Wix Racing.
Swan’s Historic 1000th Career Victory
Speaking of memorable days, we couldn’t leave out the fact that Kyle Swan scored his 1000th career victory at the historic Watkins Glen International Track. The win brought an end to a 26-year drought for the New York native. It was a great feeling, as he dedicated the win to his late father, Jack. A lot of people grew up watching Kyle race, as he was a mainstay in the NASCAR Nationwide Series. He eventually moved up to the premier series and this year, he was finally ready to make the leap. He put in the work, preparing for the big transition by establishing himself as one of the top young drivers in the series. His dedication and determination was exemplified by the fact that he dedicated this historic victory to his father, who passed away before the season even began. A star is born.
Jenson’s Incredible Comeback
Speaking of stars, don’t forget about Chase Jensen. The former Xfinity champ returned to stock car racing this year, determined to make a splash and prove everyone wrong. It was a valiant effort, as he started out 33rd and finished 17th, in a 25-man field. It was a small sample size, but it was enough for him to secure a Top 10 finish. This was a comeback story, as Jensen spent most of last year away from the wheel, working hard to make sure his family’s business, Jensen Motorsports, LLC, remained afloat. He got back on the track this year, with a new mentality and a renewed commitment to winning. He proved everyone right, from the very beginning, taking the lead in the first corner and never looking back. A real fighter who will do anything to win. Another star is born.
Hock Racing’s Comeback
It’s been a decade since we’ve seen Hock Racing, but they came back with a bang, proving that age is just a number for some drivers. After securing the sponsorship to drive for Wood Brothers Racing, the team went out and secured one of the most dominant victories of the year. In a field of 23, the New Hampshire-based team swept the podium, with drivers Scott Hock, Ryan Blaney and Austin Dillon taking home the hardware. It was a well-deserved victory, as Wood Brothers Racing had the year off, preparing for the inaugural 24-race season of the GRAND-AM Rolex Series. It was a great showing by Hock Racing, who continue to impress with each passing season.
More French Connection
Another French driver who found himself on the podium this year was Éric Piermont, who teamed up with Richard’s Motorcycle Garage for the majority of the season. He split his time between the NASCAR Cup Series and the Xfinity Series, racing for Wood Brothers in the former and for JGR in the latter. He drove an amazing car for JGR, finishing third at the most prestigious race of the year, the 24 Hours of Daytona. It was a valiant effort, as he committed the bulk of his season to the teams he shared with Richard’s Motorcycle Garage, but he did secure a Top 10 in Xfinity. He also got to show off his skills at the Circuit de la Sarthe in Clermont, France. These are the types of things that make up an exceptional season. A real talent who will do well in the future.