By Justyn Cox
March 26th, 2020. I’m about 2 weeks removed from my Silver Cup win, more excited than ever to get racing each week, yet here we all are stuck inside and to our couches during this weird time in the world, dealing with COVID19. So I figure I’ll talk about the ins and outs of how I got in the C&M 7c, and how it transpired a chain affect to new beginnings in a few different aspects for the 2020 season and hopefully beyond.
Last year the 7c owned by Cody and Mandi had opened up middle of the summer. I was pretty busy running for Doug Rutz and having a blast doing that. I had called Cody to say if we ever had open weekends I would love to hop in their car and give it a go. They had already had a pretty stout driver line up and seemed set for the remainder of 2019 so Cody just kindly said he’d give me a call if anything ever opened up. I had always looked up to Cody and Mandi, they have always been kind to me and we had grown closer over the years as we were always parked next to each other at Placerville as our assigned spots were right next to each other. Anyway, the season ended at Stockton, so I thought. Well that following Monday I Cody gave me a rang and asked me to hop in the 7c for the season ending Marsyville race. I was pretty pumped to get to race again and go have some fun with the 7c team.
Anyone that knows me, knows Marysville is not so nice to me, or I’m not nice to it, not sure. I’ve won the Mel Hall and a local show there but I seemed to have always not felt so comfortable. Anyway, we led half the race, and lost to Forsburg in traffic and ended up running 2nd my first night with the 7c team. It was an easy going night, I felt super comfortable and just had a blast. Well, turns out Cody and Mandi did as well. I found out a month later they hadn’t had a driver line up for 2020 yet, and with my plans looking to stay home a little more as I focus on a new job in my work life, and being around my son as much as I can, I knew not only was their typical schedule perfect for me, I knew how good we could be together and really be a team to beat. It didn’t take much talking as I think Cody and Mandi were on board right away as well. It was pretty awesome to know going into 2020 way early in the off season that I had secured a full ride again, and with car owners I considered friends of mine. With their schedule being based around a Placerville Championship and SCCT Title bid, I got in touch with my old friends at Berco Redwood who had helped me for years before splitting for the 2019 season. Tim the owner of Berco was super excited to hear I was with a top notch team like C&M motorsports and the fact I was running Placerville a lot. He has a location in El Dorado Hills and it only made sense for him to come back and help me in 2020.
So with all that going on, It opened up a few new options for me as my own family team has grown over the years and I have a full time employee and best friend in Rodney Tiner Jr. 7c team has their own help and have a great deal going, so bringing Rodney on was never on my mind. That being said, I knew I wanted to keep him busy and keep my team going. I hope to be in the 7c for many years down the road, but in racing you never know so to keep my own team alive and well is essential. So after a meeting with my Grandfather, Dad, and Rodney we all agreed to keep the team going, and find a young talent who can represent our team like I have over the years. We all agreed Jesse Love was the guy who can fill that roll. Jesse is unique in a lot of ways that I believe is good for our team. He’s young, he’s 15, the same age I was when Rodney Jr and I teamed up in 2009. Rodney is great working with younger talent and I believe Jesse can keep him on his toes with a new learning curve and Rodney can help him with a lot of knowledge inside and out of the car. Jesse also is a true Talent. He can race anything, if you look at what he does each year its awesome to see all the forms of cars he hops in. He has a bright future far beyond Sprint Cars, and I hope my family can be a small part of that. That being said, he’s super green at the winged sprint cars. He has the speed, but now we can race a lot and work on the consistency and all that hard stuff that comes with Sprint Cars. I think I can help in the aspect that I was that 15 year old at one point, I’ve done it and been there. I know how hard it is and even though I’m 25 now a days, I like to think I’ve been around a while and can be a good help to Jesse on the driving side in a Sprint Car. I know we have the tools to help him win, and he has the talent. Its going to be exciting this year once we get back racing to see Jesse and Rod progress. Some fine tuning and they’ll be hard to beat.
With that said, 2020 is a dream for me and I can’t wait to get going again. I know we have a legit shot to win a lot of races, and have a lot of fun. I know my own family team will be having fun, and getting to enjoy a new venture with Jesse, and hopefully pick up some wins along the way. It’s a real cool feeling to be a driver coach in a way, and help a younger guy progress through the ranks some. I’m the luckiest kid around, to be able to go racing each weekend, contend for wins, and just have a blast. I’ve got a real positive attitude over the years and have worked hard to get better at a lot of different aspects within myself. I feel things are starting to work out in my favor and the hard work is slowly paying off. 4 years ago if you told me I’d be driving for one of the top 360 teams in California and fielding my own car with a rising star in Jesse Love, I’d think you’re full of it. Anyway, see you all when I see you. Stay safe with this COVID19, the faster we listen and help kill this virus off, the faster we can all enjoy some dirt slinging into our beers and hair.