To hear Nathan Crews talk, 2019 wasn’t that great of a race season.
“It was tough. We got wrecked a couple of times. We had motor problems and finally we got the car straightened out,” he said.
He also may be a bit too modest.
Crews and his small band of volunteer helpers put together one of the best seasons in the history of the Budweiser Pure Stock Division at South Boston Speedway. He won an eye-popping nine of 15 races in 2019 on the way to winning the division’s championship. He finished in the top five 13 times and was the top qualifier seven times.
“I’ve not quite had a season like this one,” Crews said of his 12th year of racing. “I’ve had seasons that looked like they were going to be good and then I had bad luck. This year we had good luck and stayed consistent.
“I think this is the most wins anyone has ever had in a season for Pure Stocks. That’s pretty cool,” said Crews. “(The championship) is quite an achievement. Looking back at the season, it’s like a dream come true. “
There may have been some luck involved in his championship season, but hard work played a much larger role. Like the night he was involved in a wreck, limped to the pits, crawled out of the car, made a few quick fixes and got rolling again.
Then there was the night he had a problem with his car’s power-steering hose in practice and couldn’t find one readily available. It looked like he might miss starting the race.
“We run these little cars so loose, it’s hard to keep up with them without power steering,” said Crews.
His dad, Bruce Crews, happened to be returning home from vacation. When he discovered his son’s predicament, he made a detour to pick up a power steering hose and brought it to the track. When he got there another division was on-track racing. When a caution flew, the elder Crews handed the hose through the fence to a track official who relayed it to the team. They got it installed just in time for Nathan to hit the track for his race.
The power steering incident says a lot about Crews’ small but dedicated team. You can count them all on one hand … his dad, and the two Daniels: Daniel Pierce and Daniel Shelton. And it just wasn’t the Pure Stock they kept race ready in 2019. Crews also campaigned a Late Model in eight races which meant there was a lot of juggling of duties on race nights. In fact, the night of the power steering hose incident Crews was racing his Late Model when the hose arrived at the track. But his Pure Stock was ready to go when he crawled out of the Late Model.
Crews’ dad is the team’s not-so-secret weapon.
“He’s there to do everything he can possibly do. Without him I couldn’t do it. Sometimes he’s the only one I have at the track with me. And he’s the crew chief and my spotter,” said Crews, who was sponsored all season by Taylor Racing Engines, Jeff’s Grill, CNC Racing, Foster Fuel, Jab Relief and Estes Signs.
Racing his Crews’ life. He helps his dad some on his farm and in his logging business, but most of his time is spent in his race shop.
“This is not just a hobby for me, it’s a way of life … something we love to do,” said Crews. “I wouldn’t do it if I didn’t love it. It’s very rewarding. You meet so many great people. They are like family. And they are like us, they love it so much.”
Action returns to South Boston Speedway Saturday afternoon, November 2 for the AutosbyNelson.com 250 CARS Tour Series championship.
There will be 125-lap races in both the CARS Late Model Stock division and the CARS Super Late Model division to determine the championship in both classes. Grandstand gates open at noon, qualifying is set for 12:40 p.m. and the first race will take the green at 3 p.m.
Advance tickets for the AutosbyNelson.com 250 are $10 through Friday, Nov. 1. Adult general admission tickets on race day will be $15. Youth ages 12 and under will be admitted free when accompanied by a paying adult.
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