116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
Landon Cassill focused on driving again
Ogden column: Cedar Rapids NASCAR driver on a team that affords him the opportunity to drive — and possibly win
Landon Cassill is in a good place.
The NASCAR driver from Cedar Rapids is building a home in Cedar Rapids with his wife, Katie, and their three children. He’s racing full-time in the Xfinity Series for Kauling Racing and getting a few laps in a Cup car with Spire Motorsports.
And, he said, he’s finally able to focus on driving.
“It’s just been a great season,” he said in a telephone interview Monday, three days after recording a runner-up finish at the Call 811 Before You Dig 250 at Martinsville Speedway in Martinsville. Va.
That, by the way, is the best finish in his 14-year NASCAR career.
“(This team) is allowing me to maximize myself as a driver.”
Drivers like Cassill — and fellow Cedar Rapids native Joey Gase — know how to drive cars, and drive them fast. They know how to win races.
Cassill started driving in quads and go-karts almost before he could walk. When he was 11 he was winning national go-kart titles and, while at Jefferson High School, was racing, and winning, at Hawkeye Downs and on the American Speed Association circuit. In 2006, at 16, he became the youngest winner in the ASA Late Model Series.
He signed with Hendrick Motorsports that year and started testing cars in 2007.
Driving well has never been the issue. Money — and getting a ride on a team with lots of it — are the issues many professional drivers face.
That’s why Cassill is so happy to be behind a wheel with Kauling Racing.
“This is just the most successful and established team I’ve driven for in a long time,” Cassill said. “We’ve been a top-10 car most of the year and we’ve had top-10 finishes to prove that.”
The runner-up finish is the latest in what Cassill hopes is a breakthrough season. He finished 14th in the Xfinity race at Daytona, sixth in Las Vegas, ninth at Phoenix and fifth in Atlanta.
Is an appearance in Victory Lane coming?
“Man, I hope so,” he said. “I think about it every day.
“The mindset is not necessarily expecting to win, but to do all the right things to put myself in position to win.”
That, he said, is the difference between some of the teams he raced with and his maturation as a driver. A lot of times, driving wasn’t — and couldn’t be — the main focus.
“It’s really hard for me to say what the ultimate is ...,” he said. “I’m so focused on myself as a driver. I don’t have to worry about the program.”
Part of the reason for that freedom to drive is his sponsorship deal with Voyager Digital, which pays him entirely in cryptocurrency. He said Voyager has been wanting to get into NASCAR for a number of years.
“It’s been the catalyst for this opportunity,” he said.
Cassill, like a lot of NASCAR drivers not on the big-money teams, has had an up-and-down career. There have been few highlights and many finishes outside the top 20. He had seasons where he couldn’t find a full-time ride and only got to the track a handful of times.
“It’s definitely been a journey,” he said.
Now that journey’s twists and turns seem to be pointing in a positive direction.
“I’ve just learned how much there is for me to do to make myself better,” he said, adding that when you’re on the smaller teams it’s easy to “get down on your team, your cars and even on yourself.”
With Kauling Racing, he said, “the equipment is there, the funding is there, the resources are there.”
And now he can finally focus on being a driver again.
“This is definitely the opportunity to do that,” he said. “The car is fast.”
And on Friday night in Virginia, Cassill showed what can happen when opportunity and a fast car collide.
“We had a great day,” he said, adding it was the first time this season “I put together a complete race as a driver.”
“I checked all the boxes.”
He’s got one more box to check, though.
“If I get everything out of myself, I know we can win races,” he said.
And that would put him in an even better place.
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