By Justyn Cox
2019 Prep, starts in 2018.
Around November of (or a little earlier) of each year, typically your mind is set on the ‘what if’s’, of the following year.
Racing itself is a lot of un known, nothing is certain, and the cards can fall a million different directions. You have to have 3-4 different plans, to ensure that you will be back behind the wheel of a car for the following season.
My 2019 prep was a bit unusual for myself, as the last 2-3 months of 2018 was different then the last 3-4 years have been.
Towards the end of summer in 2018 I got the call to be a fill in for Josh Bates Motorsports. With Tim Kaeding injured I had the task of jumping in their ca for Placerville’s biggest 360 and SCCT Sanctioned show.
At the time I was just running my family owned car like any other year. Josh’s team was in a close battle for the owners points title, with the famous Roth Motorsports and Kyle Hirst.
It was a true David Vs. Goliath story.
Anyway, most know the story, and that weekend I ran 2nd and 3rd, back to back podiums , and kept them right in the hunt.
At the time I had the stigma that I was only typically fast at “Placerville” and most doubted if I’d be any good away from my own team.
I joke with my buddy Rob Balga, that weekend was the turning point in my career.
That opened up a string of great races, and closed out the year providing Josh and team with a SCCT points title. It was an honor to be a small part of their Championship run, and to fill in for one of the greatest to ever come out of California (Tim Kaeding ) it was truly a dream come true.
Anyway- that leads back to my 2019 prep starting in 2018.
I knew that after leaving my own team for a bit, and running so well, it was my time to ride the wave and work on securing a ride away from my family team. It’s hard to get away from that stigma, and jump to the route of being a “Hired Gun”. Some may not understand why I would want to leave a secure ride with my own family, but other drivers with their own team can understand the stress of funding, the stress of not wrecking their stuff, as it could hamper racing the following weekend, and how that can really screw your thinking and risk taking inside a race car.-
After a few calls, and a meeting with team Owner Mike Phulps, Ryan Riley, and Kerry Fasig, they came to the conclusion I was the right fit , and hired me a day or two later.
To get that phone call, was amazing. The stress of last minute worries funding, getting cars done, finding a crew for my own team, ect, went out the window. Here I am, in December of 2018, ordering suits and working on a schedule knowing I had a set amount of races that weregoing to happen. As a driver, that was so new to me and it’s amazing what a clear head can do for someone.
So with the ride set, suits ordered, and schedule set early January of 2019 with Team 56, it’s allowed me to venture out more and work on my own family role with a lot less stress, and no worry of funding or sponsorship falling through.
Luckily, I’ve gained some new marketing partners on the 31c side of things, and it’ll allow me to add some more races to my schedule, and hopefully build a healthy schedule around my main focus, of course, the 56 schedule.
Racing is tough, but the business side of it is 10x tougher. Getting to the track is the hardest thing in this sport, being there is just the reward. When things fall together, it feels like a million pounds have been lifted off your shoulder.
I hope fans can appreciate all the comes with these cars, all the hard work, and sacrifice people make to get these beautiful machines to go in circles for 30 laps. I also hope they know how much we appreciate them for coming, as without them, we wouldn’t be able to go race in circles for 30 laps.
I’m excited for the 2019 season, as I have a clear focus and that is to provide wins and a championship bid with SCCT for Mike and the gang on Team 56, and then to go out and enjoy my family team when time allows and really just try and have fun with what I am doing. I know a lot of people do not get these chances. A clear mind can go a long way in racing, and I’m pumped to see what we can do. I know I’m in my best state yet as a driver and have a lot more room to grow and get to where I want to be.