Dirt Debut Awaits Garcia in Thunder Valley

McAnally Hilgemann Racing Photo

Picking Up Steam … Jake Garcia is picking up steam in his rookie season as he enters his second appearance at Bristol Motor Speedway (BMS). The driver of the No. 35 Chevrolet Silverado RST for MHR is fresh off his first top-five finish in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series (NCTS) at Texas Motor Speedway (TMS) last week in only his ninth start. The Georgia driver has quietly tallied two top-10 finishes in four races this year while adapting swiftly to venues he’s visiting for the first time. While Garcia made his debut at “The Last Great Colosseum” last September, the NCTS’ third dirt race at BMS will present an entirely different adventure.

Dirt Debut … While dirt racing has been a part of the NCTS schedule for nine of the last 10 seasons, Saturday marks Garcia’s truck dirt debut. As many drivers in the field have experience on dirt, Garcia will have to rely on his skill set of quickly acclimating to new tracks. His only dirt racing experience came racing quarter midgets as a youngster and most recently competed at Fayetteville Motor Speedway in a legends car in 2021. Friday’s two practice sessions will be crucial for Garcia and the No. 35 team, led by crew chief Mark Hillman, to fine tune their Chevrolet and for him to learn BMS’ ever-evolving dirt landscape.

Rookie Year Rundown … Despite missing Daytona International Speedway due to age restrictions, Garcia sits second in the Sunoco Rookie of the Year standings after making four starts this season. His career high fifth-place finish at TMS one week ago vaulted him to 15th in the NCTS championship standings and is now within sight of a playoff spot. He has tallied two top-10 finishes and built an impressive foundation for his rookie season with an average finish of 13.0. 

Crew Chief / Chassis Selection … Hillman and the No. 35 squad have prepared chassis No. 007 for Garcia’s dirt debut. This Chevrolet Silverado RST competed in both dirt events last season at BMS and Knoxville Raceway with Colby Howard behind the wheel, and finished 12th and 16th, respectively.

Tune In … Coverage from the dirt-covered “Thunder Valley” begins Friday evening with coverage of two practice sessions at 5:30 p.m. ET and 8:00 p.m. ET on FOX Sports 1. Saturday’s racing program kicks off with four passing points heat races on FOX Sports 2 at 4:30 p.m. ET. Pre race coverage continues on FS1 with NASCAR Raceday at 7:00 p.m. ET followed by the green flag at 8:00 p.m. ET. Stay connected with the No. 35 team by following @BMR_NASCAR on Twitter, @bmrnascar on Instagram, and Bill McAnally Racing on Facebook. 

Jake Garcia Quote:

On dirt racing at Bristol: 

“It’ll be an interesting weekend, that’s for sure. I don’t really have any expectations going into the weekend since I’ve never raced much on dirt before. We obviously want to put a good weekend together and score some points with our Chevrolet Silverado RST after the top—five we had in Texas. We did a good job last week at getting better as the race went along, and we’ll have to do the same thing on Saturday. It’s a matter of getting used to the surface in practice and seeing how it changes as we run so we can give ourselves a good idea of what we need for the race on Saturday.”

McAnally Hilgemann Racing PR

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