THORNBURG, VA – A little less than a decade ago, Sergio Pena looked like a future NASCAR superstar after racing wheel-to-wheel with an eventual NASCAR champion, Joey Logano, in Irwindale, California.
However, those hopes for NASCAR stardom never panned out for the 26-year-old from Winchester, Virginia. Nine and a half years after the thrilling duel with Logano in Irwindale, Logano is the reigning Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series champion and Pena is racing Late Model Stock Cars for Sam Beatty at Dominion Raceway where he picked up a victory on Saturday night in a photofinish over Jeff Oakley.
While Pena has regrets about not being on the NASCAR scene, he still relishes in the present and still has hopes of one day moving up the ladder.
“I think about it a lot,” Pena told Race22.com. “I’ve got a lot of buddies there that are racing Cup full-time. I’ll be honest, it’s tough to see that. I watch the races every weekend. Sometimes I’m like, ‘man, what did I do different that didn’t put me there?’”
Pena made 60 starts in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East tour, scoring five wins at a diverse array of tracks over a span of seven years. Of those five wins, all came driving for Rev Racing, three came in 2011 and three have been in his home state of Virginia.
Despite his impressive stat line, which also includes two top-five finishes in three K&N Pro Series West starts, and top-10 finishes in nearly half of his K&N Pro Series East starts, Pena has never competed in the ARCA Menards Series or in the any of the three NASCAR national touring series.
While Pena could have quit racing in regret, as many others who’s careers never panned out have done, Pena continued to race any time he had the opportunity. At Dominion Raceway, he has been presented the opportunity with legendary car owner Sam Beatty, and Pena still has an eye on the future.
“To get this opportunity from Sam Beatty, he’s been letting me drive his cars since I was 16-years-old, to keep doing what I love doing is incredible,” Pena remarked. “It’s been an incredible year. Hopefully, through all my racing this year, I’m working on some stuff for up-and-coming stuff. Never give up on it.”
Saturday night’s win was an emotional one for Pena, and probably one of the hardest wins he’s ever earned.
“So many of the guys have so much history on the team,” Pena stated. “This is a special win for everyone involved. We have volunteers that bust their tail every single time we come out here. It’s like family. It’s really cool.”
Saturday’s victory was the second at Dominion Raceway for Sergio Pena.