Late Model stand out Matt Waltz made his first career start in THE NASCAR XFINITYSeries this past weekend at Richmond International Raceway. Landing a one time ride for Derrike Cope Racing, the young and excited racer Matt Waltz was ready to take on the challenges of the race weekend.
With high hopes for a successful debut, the goals for Waltz was to complete the race, stay out of trouble bringing home the car in one piece and learning, making every lap count behind the wheel. But for Waltz, the weekend began with adversity, struggles that challenged both driver and crew.
Fuel issues limited Thursdays practice to just ten laps which transitioned on into Fridays qualifying efforts leaving Waltz starting thirty seventh in the forty car field. The race itself didn’t fair much better as the adversity continued. Between an ill handling race car and the throttle linkage which ended Waltz’s evening, the efforts only produced a thirty third finish in the race. But for Matt Waltz, in the long run, the experience and the hardships of race day just might serve him better down the road then had he had a chance to win.
”Man, I really just wanted to get out there and log some laps you know since I’ve never been in a Xfinity Series car”, said Waltz. “ I wanted to get that feel, the feel of what the car needed. The car is heavier, has more horsepower and we struggled with the car being tight the whole time.”
Next, Matt Waltz shares how his race debut in the Xfinity Series is good for his race career.
“Yeah, feels like maybe we’ve broken the ice, I can say that we’ve raced in the Xfinity Series and for my career, it really does add value to it,” Waltz expressed. “Along with my other accomplishments and my degree ( Engineering, Old Dominion University) it has given me opportunity, more to sell in trying to get more rides and meeting new sponsors cause making that jump from Late Models to the Xfinity series can be so hard.”
Lastly, Waltz shares his thoughts on where he goes on from here in his Xfinity Series debut.
“It depends on what NASCAR is willing to let me do. I’m approved for a lot of truck races, Xfinity Series I’m only approved at Richmond right now but were working on that,” Waltz stated. “Derrike Cope Racing wants to give me another race again though nothing yet is official, they want to give me another shot in getting me back in their car again so I gotta work on getting approvals for NASCAR. I really just got to get out and find some sponsors, meet and greet as many people as I can. Nowadays, nobody comes knocking at your door anymore saying they want you so the way I see it, I gotta go get it. If that’s what I have to do then that’s what I’m going to do and hopefully, things will work out for me.”
Matt Waltz’s Xfinty race debut may have not produce the finish nor met the expectations of both its driver and crew. But served a very unique experience filled with challenges and obstacles that Waltz would have to overcome. Sure, what racer wouldn’t have loved to win having everything and all come so easy.
For Matt Waltz though, the weekend was of humbled beginnings, typical of any grass roots effort producing champions since NASCARs own humble beginnings in 1948 . Much was taken from that ride last Saturday night and what was learned combined with Waltz’s driven passion to be at his best . Matt Waltz along with Derrike Cope Racing both expressing desire for a next time, the next ride cant come soon enough for Matt Waltz in NASCARs Xfinity Series.