After last Sunday’s Cup race at the Auto Club Speedway, I caught up with B.J. McLeod, who discussed how Live Fast Motorsports has performed through these first few rounds of the 2023 season.
“We had a failure at L.A. (Clash) that we didn't know about till we got home and ran really bad out there. . .a part of the suspension. It was a unique problem. . .So, didn't get to show what we could do out there.”
“And then Daytona, first pit stop, we had a wheel fall on the brake bleeder and break it off. So I ran 20 laps with very little brakes and then come down pit road, lost seven laps fixing that so just couldn't show the speed we had there either because we had a lot faster car than we normally have there too. . .It was the first car I've ever had at a superspeedway that I could close any gap I wanted to and push if I wanted to. And it was a really good car just like I said. We got taken out because wheel fell and broke the brake bleeder off - just weird stuff that happens, man, but it happens to everybody. So that was that.”
In both cases, McLeod made clear his issues weren’t unique to small teams such as his. “There's been a couple of mistakes on our part as a team that has taken us out of races over the last year and a couple races right, including L.A. But I see that stuff happen to other people too. So, I don't really want to say it's just a small team organization. I think it's more of everybody just learning the car and some people have more resources to learn quicker, right? So, we just are going and doing this on our own right now with a little bit of help, and sometimes things happen and we just all stay together and learn from our mistakes and keep getting better each week. So that's just what we do.”
This brought the team to Fontana, where McLeod finished 24th – his best run since last fall at Bristol. “We definitely had the best mile-and-a-half downforce car we've ever had in the history of the team. We had a lot faster lap average than we've ever had here by far. Raced with some people that we don't normally race with. And then like you said, there's some attrition that got us up into 24th. The green flag stop there (on) the last run, the car fell off the jack - they let it down and I couldn't see it, it cost us a lap. We ran lead lap all day, so without attrition, we were actually a lead lap car. So, it was a big day for us - much better than we've ever been at one of these places - and a lot to look forward to. It was nice.”
“[T]he switch to Chevrolet's definitely been positive for us. It's taken some time to get everything done, especially with other updates that is on NASCAR's side for clip updates and things during the offseason. But we definitely have got a lot of positives to look forward to. And this is one of the hardest tracks to be fast. And we were a lead lap car all day, no question. So it, it was pretty cool to see that.”
Things have also been improving on the sponsorship front. Within minutes of the checkered flag, the crew was already pulling off the car’s wrap, preparing to replace it with a new one carrying logos for Circle B Diecast. “Yeah, this is our Vegas car and we will have a different sponsor there. So (laughs) it's kind of crazy - it takes four hours to wrap it with people that are really good, and it took about all of 14 minutes to strip it.”
Following a transaxle issue that kept him from qualifying, McLeod rolls off 36th in today’s race at Las Vegas.