- Chase Purdy and the No. 4 Bama Buggies team head to historic North Wilkesboro for this week’s NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series race. Saturday’s 250-lap event will mark the first time that the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series has raced at the 0.635-mile oval since 1996 and just the third time competing at the North Carolina venue in the history of the series.
- Kyle Busch Motorsports, which debuted in the Truck Series in 2010, has never competed at North Wilkesboro, but has had plenty of success at short tracks. KBM drivers have collected 17 wins, three poles, 2705 laps led, 56 top-five and 91 top-10 finishes resulting in an average finish of 9.8 across 142 starts on short tracks. The team’s most recent win on a short track came at Richmond Raceway with Chandler Smith last August.
- Purdy will be looking to rebound from a disappointing two-week stretch where he was collected in other driver’s accidents and was unable to finish the race. After finishing 33rd at Kansas Speedway two weeks ago, he finished 32nd last week at Darlington Raceway after getting caught up in a lap-101 accident.
- With his tough luck the last two weeks, Purdy has fallen five spots to 15th in the Truck Series point standings and went from 11 points below the cutoff line for making the playoffs to 40 out of the 10th and final spot for the postseason. The Truck Series has seven races remaining in the regular season before the playoffs begin.
- Despite being only nine races into the 2023 season, Purdy enters Saturday’s race having already produced a career-high four top-10 finishes and having achieved a career-best runner-up finish earlier this year at Texas Motor Speedway.
- Purdy has made nine starts on short tracks across his Truck Series career with a best result of 10th, which he earned last month at Martinsville Speedway.
- The Mississippi native is in his third full-time season in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series and first with KBM. He enters Saturday’s race having totaled one top-five, nine top-10 finishes, and 18 laps led across his 61 career Truck Series starts. Purdy finished 16th in the Truck Series final standings in 2022 after competing in 22 of the 23 events. He posted two top-10 finishes and nine laps led, with a season-best finish of seventh coming at Talladega Superspeedway in October.
- Jimmy Villeneuve is atop the pit box for Purdy and the No. 4 Chevrolet team this season. Prior to being promoted to crew chief for the 2023 season, Villeneuve served as a Truck Chief at KBM since the 2017 season and in that role was a part of 18 wins, a driver’s championship with Christopher Bell in 2017 and the 2019 owner’s championship with the No. 51 team. Prior to joining KBM the New Hampshire native served as a truck chief at Athenian Motorsports in 2015 when the team won with John Wes Townley at Las Vegas. He was promoted to crew chief five races into the 2016 season. Saturday’s race will be Villeneuve’s first atop the pit box at North Wilkesboro.
- Bama Buggies, your one-stop shop for all the biggest names in powersports and utility vehicles, will be the primary sponsor on Purdy’s No. 4 Chevrolet Saturday and for the majority of the events on the 2023 schedule. They are Central Alabama’s powersports experts, serving as an authorized dealer of Polaris, Slingshot, and Seadoo.
Are you looking forward to being a part of NASCAR’s return to North Wilkesboro?
“It’s such an iconic place and has a lot of history. The last race that they held out there I wasn’t even born yet, but I’ve seen the videos since the time I was a kid. It’s going to be really cool to race at a place that has a lot of history. Short tracks are my thing — what I grew up doing and made my career off of, so I’m excited to go there. We’ve had a really tough two weeks, but there is no reason we can’t get back to where we started the first five weeks of the season — knocking off top fives and top 10s.”
How do you prepare for a track you’ve never been to, and the series hasn’t raced at in years?
“I think the only thing you can do is go back and watch old race videos. I know myself personally and a few others that I’ve talked to, they’ve gone back and watched the last race from the 90’s that was held there just to see what racing stock cars was like out there. Some people say it hasn’t changed that much, but I have no idea what to expect and I think that levels the playing field. Everybody will be trying to figure it out at the same time and he who figures it out the best will probably win the race.”
Is there a track that you’ve raced at that you feel is similar to North Wilkesboro?
“The only thing similar that I can think of is when I used to run Late Models at Myrtle Beach and Greenville-Pickens. Very rough race tracks, very abrasive race tracks. I think tire saving is going to be big this weekend. Even though you get tires, I think you can burn your stuff up in a couple laps from what people are saying. I think managing your tires and knowing when to take off and when not to is going to be the key.”