NASCAR has been built on the backs of new drivers who come out of nowhere to take the racing world by storm. Patrick Lawson hopes to be one of those drivers. The Edwardsville Illinois native will make his NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series (NCTS) debut Friday night at the Indianapolis Raceway Park
(IRP) for the Power Stroke Diesel 200. Lawson will be driving a second entry for MB Motorsports, based out of Foristell, Mo.
“Man, I’m looking forward to this,” said Lawson. “I’ve known Mike Mittler (MB Motorsports owner/crew chief) for a long time and I appreciate him giving me this opportunity. We’ve been working our butts off in the shop getting this second truck ready and come Friday night, I’m going to do my best to make the show and not let my team down.”
Lawson, a veteran of the Sunoco Super Series and of short tracks around the Midwest such as I-70 Speedway, could very well be the next of a long line of racing prodigies discovered by Mittler. The list includes 1998 NASCAR Cup Series Rookie of the Year Kenny Irwin, Jr., 2003 NASCAR Cup Series Rookie of the Year, Jamie McMurray, 2003 NCTS Rookie of the Year, Carl Edwards, and his current driver, Chris Wimmer.
Mittler said despite his ties with Lawson, he is not fielding the second team solely because of that relationship. “I’ve known Patrick since he was a kid,” said Mittler, “but he has earned this opportunity. I like lots of people; but I’m not going to let them potentially tear up several thousands of dollars worth of equipment because I like them. I’ve seen Patrick race and I think he has potential and that’s why he’s getting his shot. I don’t know how many races he’ll do with us this year, but we’ll head to IRP and see what happens there.”
Lawson will be driving the #26 MB Motorsports Ford Friday night, reviving a number that has special meaning for Lawson and his crew. “This was Tony
(Roper’s) number,” he said. “Tony and I were good friends and it’s an honor for me to be the first person to drive that number in the Craftsman Truck Series since we lost him. I’m going to do my best to honor his memory Friday night.”
Also looking forward to the second team is Chris Wimmer, who is the driver for MB Motorsports’ #63 Ford primary team. “It’s going to be fun teaming up with Patrick this weekend,” said Wimmer. “He works next to us in the shop everyday and he’s a great guy to have around. It’s his first NASCAR start so he’s excited and we’re all excited for him. It’s going to be a great weekend for MB Motorsports.”
The NCTS Power Stroke Diesel 200 will be broadcast live on SPEED Channel at
8 p.m. local time and on MRN Radio at 7:30 p.m. local time.