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Fast Out of the Gate

By on May 1, 2019

Truck-Challenge-3Brendan Greene Takes Early Lead

TA Truck Service proudly celebrates the valuable role NASCAR hauler drivers play in the three national touring series. The TA Truck Service Challenge recognizes them for their loyalty, skills and hard work. Based on a written DOT regulations quiz and a skills-based driving competition, eligible Challenge drivers lose points (-1) from a base of 1,200 for wrong answers and knocked-over cones (-5) respectively. Following are the early results from the February 21 Atlanta and March 28 Texas events. 

Atlanta Perfection

After missing out on becoming last year’s grand champion by just one point, Brendan “Slim” Greene is back and motivated to contend for the 2019 championship. The No. 18 hauler driver took home his first Challenge win of the season at Atlanta Motor Speedway, repeating his win in the 2018 opening event. This time, however, he recorded a very rare perfect score of 1,200 points. For Brendan, the way the 2018 season ended was humbling and only motivated him to come back stronger than ever this year.

“Losing by one point provided great motivation,” he said. “I was pretty aggravated with myself after the Charlotte finale, as I thought back through each 2018 event and identified five points that I could have easily avoided losing if I had done one thing or another just a bit better, or maybe a bit slower. So this year, I plan to take my time, be a little more methodical and try to pick up five points here and there that should be relatively easy.”

Truck-Challenge-2Perhaps there’s something in the water at the Joe Gibbs Racing shop, or maybe the hauler drivers are benefitting from their hard work and determination. Defending Challenge champion Tom McCrimmon, the No. 20 hauler driver, took 2nd place in Atlanta. Previous Challenge winner and Greene’s co-driver Jamie Price took 3rd at the Atlanta event.

Although the TA Truck Service Challenge is an individual competition, it’s still a friendly competition between crew members who, on a daily basis, work together as a team to get their jobs done. It’s evident that their teamwork on and off the road shines through in their performances when it comes to competing in the Challenge.

“We’re competitive by nature and feed off each other, but we really enjoy working with each other,” Brendan said. “We like talking about the Challenge and what we missed; we even study the DOT regulations together. I guess we’re just a little tighter knit, and I like to say, ‘We’ve got the best of the best.’ We enjoy what we do.”

It’s clear that the extra studying has been paying off and the Joe Gibbs Racing gentlemen don’t plan on slowing down anytime soon. “We plan to keep on winning, just so you know!” Brendan said. “That’s why we show up.” You can catch Brendan and the rest of the Challenge competitors in action at Charlotte Motor Speedway on May 23.

Déjà Vu All Over Again

Though he came up a bit short of recording another perfect score at 1195 points, Brendan won the March 28 event at Texas Motor Speedway. Back-to-back wins, the first under TA Truck Service sponsorship, are quite rare. Perhaps the 2019 winning ways of Kyle Busch are rubbing off on the rest of the No. 18 team. 

“I was really lucky today,” said Brendan. “I’m trying to win every single point offered. I study a lot, and I try to study the skills challenges as much as I can as a few competitors in front of me take to the course. I watch their lines and try to mentally prepare for what I’ll encounter on the course.

“The Texas course was really tough… a lot tougher than Atlanta in my opinion. The start and finish were very tight, and the back dock sections are always hard for me. You also had to be lined up perfectly as you started the last leg, or you couldn’t get the rig back in line to make the swing.

“Winning today means I’m one step closer to the championship, and that is my ultimate goal. The lead really doesn’t mean anything at this point, because I could have a bad run in Charlotte and drop a few places in the standings. I learned last year that I should never count my chickens before they hatch.

“Jamie was right there with me today on our point totals. While we were the best today, we know the best (Tom McCrimmon) was at home in Charlotte, recovering from a back injury. I really missed him in today’s competition. You want to compete against the best, and it’s just not the same when he’s not here. I hope he’s fully recovered for the May 23 Charlotte event when our families will be in attendance.” 

In addition to holding a 10-point lead over Jamie Price after two events, (2,395 to 2,385), Brendan is 24 ahead of Greg Sorber, Team Penske Racing No. 22. By placing in the top-five in both 2019 events, all three have earned valuable bonus points to be awarded at season’s end. To keep up with the overall standings after each event, be sure to visit TATruckChallenge.com. 

Find Us in the Fan Zone

Truck-Challenge-4After each Thursday event, you can find TA Truck Service representatives inside the Fan Zone, handing out race day goodies and talking more about the Challenge and the heavy-duty maintenance, repairs and services provided by TA Truck Service.

If you’re unable to attend one of the 2019 Challenge events, you can still get in on the fun. The official Challenge hauler, which all competitors use to test their driving skills at each event, will be visiting 100 TA, Petro and TA Express locations along the Challenge circuit. You can also follow the Challenge on Facebook and Instagram, using the handle @TATruckServiceChallenge for more Challenge content and to find out where the official hauler will be throughout the season. 

About Warren Eulgen

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