DAYTONA BEACH, Florida — Competitors in the NASCAR Camping World Series West are headed to Iowa Speedway this week for the Central Iowa Building and Construction Trades 125 on Friday night.
"Ideally, we’d like to go to Phoenix, too, this year and do about five to seven truck races next year – along with the West races"— Jamie Dick
The event is a critical one to drivers and teams, with only two races remaining to determine the final championship standings for 2009.
One driver in the series is facing an even bigger challenge, however, in his return to the track east of Des Moines in Newton. In addition to racing in the NASCAR Camping World Series West race, Jamie Dick (No. 88 Viva Auto Group/Johnnie Walker Performance Center Chevrolet) also plans to make his debut in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series.
It will make for a busy weekend for the 20-year-old second-generation driver from Albuquerque, N.M., who is currently 10th in the championship standings for the NASCAR Camping World Series West.
“We’re going to be running the West race and also the Truck race the following day,” he explained. “That’s going to be tough because the West race is on the same day as all the practice for the Truck Series. On Friday, it’s going to be pretty busy going back and forth.”
As he jumps from one to the other, Dick will need to adjust to various differences between his race car and race truck – including the different tires on each.
“It will be my first time ever in a truck and they’re on radial tires,” he said. “So, it should be tricky – going back and forth with the West series on bias tires and the Truck Series on radial tires. We’ll see how it goes.”
He is accustomed to adjusting his focus on different subjects. Dick, who will be entering his junior year at the University of Denver this fall, has balanced his school work with two full seasons of racing in the NASCAR Camping World Series West.
“It’s not too hard,” said Dick, who plans to major in real estate and construction management. “The school I go to, the University of Denver, does not offer too many Friday classes. That’s kind of why I picked it. Most of the classes are Monday through Thursday. It’s still a hard school; it’s still a very challenging school – but I haven’t had to miss too many classes to go racing. So, it’s worked out. I’ve had to do homework on airplanes. But besides that, it’s not too hard.”
This week’s event, meanwhile, marks Dick’s second visit to Iowa Speedway – a track he looks forward to returning to.
“I really like it,” he said. “It’s an awesome track and an awesome facility.”
While he admits he struggled at Iowa Speedway last season, Dick expects to do better after having raced on two other tracks similar in size.
“I think I learned a lot since then about big track racing,” he said. “I’m a lot more confident going back there than I was last year, when we kind of struggled.”
Although his best finishes have come on short-track events or road- course races, Dick says he prefers the bigger tracks, like the .875-mile track at Iowa Speedway.
“I think it’s more fun and I like it, but results have shown I do better on the short tracks – just because I have more experience,” he said. “I think it’s fun to race on the bigger tracks, but I need a lot more practice to get better.”
Early on, Dick competed in Legends series and late model stock cars in Texas and New Mexico. He followed the path of his father, Jimmy, who raced in the NASCAR Camping World Series West in 1993 and 1995 and competed in several events in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series in its inaugural season of 1995.
Since coming into the NASCAR Camping World Series West as an 18-year-old two seasons ago, Dick has one top-five and eight top-10 finishes in 18 starts. It’s been “up and down,” he said.
“We’ve struggled,” Dick said. “It’s never easy, but I guess it’s not easy for anyone. I’ve definitely gotten better. We get better every week and we’re still getting better. Kind of the whole reason for going to the truck series is to keep getting better and keep improving and keep taking on different challenges.
“We’re getting better, but there are still struggles and still little mountains to overcome.”
In addition to competing in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race at Iowa Speedway on Saturday, Dick hopes to also race in that series at Phoenix International Raceway in November.
“Ideally, we’d like to go to Phoenix, too, this year and do about five to seven truck races next year – along with the West races,” he said.