Monday, November 15, 2021

INTERVIEW: Chris Hacker among new drivers with unique stories in the Truck Series

Following the Truck Series finale in Phoenix, I caught up to Chris Hacker, the last-place finisher of the Truck race at Las Vegas. The Phoenix race saw him secure a last-minute ride with Reaume Brothers Racing in the #33, a team that had no driver listed on the preliminary entry list. Hacker brought sponsorship from Dropout Kings and qualified the truck 31st on the grid – the last driver in on speed. He finished 27th with the truck in one piece.

Yeah, it was it was pretty interesting. We were fighting the truck in practice. We were tight on exit. And then we made a major adjustment which made us super loose on exit. So we kind of went into qualifying blind, but luckily we just made the line, we were able to make it in the race. Still kind of struggling with the same problem - was tight on entry and loose on exits. So, you know, it was pretty good overall. Josh (Reaume), he called me out here to get him into the race and finish the race in one piece. And so I did that job correctly. And so I can't be mad. It's a it was a good way to end the season. We're gonna hang out a little bit in the offseason and then hopefully come back harder next year.

So I drove back to Charlotte. I believe it was Saturday night after Martinsville. And on the way back, I was "Hey, Nate (PR for Hacker and Joe Graf, Jr.), I'm trying to figure out if I should fly home or not" because I live in Indiana currently. And he was like, "Nah - fly home. Don't worry about it. We're gonna focus on next year, yada, yada, yada." And it was like, I think 10 A.M. on Monday, I was at work. And I got a call from Nate. And he was like, "Yo, can you make it out to Phoenix?" And I was like, "Well, why?" Because at first I thought he was wanting me to watch and stuff, and this was a pretty long haul just to watch. So I asked why. And he was like, "Josh needs a driver." And I was like, "Yeah, if you need me out there, I'll be out there." So we made a little joke on Twitter of the 330 likes, because I was running the 33. So that was just a little fun between me and the Reaume Brothers team. But yeah, Josh, he's just a great guy. He, he believes a lot in me, and I can't be more thankful for that. He's helped me learn a lot so far. And hopefully we can definitely put some together next year with all these great teams.

There's organization called UBPN, and they stand for United Brachial Plexus Network. If you're not aware, brachial plexus is nerve damage, pretty much. Mine happened to be from birth. It can (also) happen in motorcycle accidents, stuff like that. But long story short about me - at first, I could only move my fingertips, and then they took nerves out of my calves and ankles and put it in my wrist and my shoulder. So now I have about 50% range of movement in my left arm. UBPN is an organization that spreads awareness about it. And I've done a couple fundraisers for them, trying to raise money for kids. They have a camp every year that all these kids with the nerve damage injury can get together and learn about each other. Weird thing about me is I will put my deodorant on with my right hand on both arms. So when I do it on my right arm, it kind of looks like a chicken wing. And I learned that other kids did that too when I was out there at one point. So we just we just try to raise money just to help some the kids that can't afford it out there. So they can just be able to experience some time with with kids that are just like them pretty much.

It's hard to explain with driving because I have had this my whole life. So, it's the normal for me, I guess you could say. There were some problems growing up. I started running late models when I was 13, and I was really small at the time and so we had to have a different servo in the power steering so I could turn easier pretty much than the average person. So that was kind of a struggle growing up. But now obviously, I don't look like an adult, but I'm pretty much an adult now. So I've kind of been hitting the gym a lot building my muscles, and it hasn't been a problem since then. But my arm will lay on the rib part of the seat, and sometimes they'll like get my pinky going numb because they'll kind of like stop the blood flow a little bit, but we always worked through it, play everything by ear and just keep on keeping on.

Right now, we're definitely looking to do a lot more races next year. I'm obviously still learning. This is the only track I've actually been to twice in my NASCAR career. So obviously still learning. We're pretty sure we can definitely get a half season (in Trucks) for next year, wrapped up before the beginning of next year. If we can get a full season, that'd be great. We've just got to figure out how to get the races sold. We've got to find some great partners who are willing to put their faith in me and stuff like that. But in five years, hopefully I'm winning XFINITY championships by then (laughs). . .It definitely makes me a more well-rounded driver being able to work with a bunch of different teams right now. Next year, I definitely do want to focus on just working with one team, trying to build a connection and trust between each other. So I'm not sure if I'm going to be hopping around in the seat next year. But yeah, I'm just gonna play everything by ear.

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