EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW

4 full throttle questions for Rackley WAR owner Willie Allen

Start your engines! Photo by Todd Warshaw/Getty Images.

Today, I had the privilege of talking to Willie Allen, co-owner of the newly formed Rackley WAR racing team in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series. He talks about how the new deal came together with co-owner Chris Sutton, and the challenges of running a new team with the COVID protocols. He also discusses the future of the team and who their driver could be in the next few weeks.

SportsMap: I am joined today by 2007 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Rookie of the Year and newest Camping World Truck Series owner Mr. Willie Allen! Thank you so much for joining me.

Willie Allen: You bet! Thanks for having me.

SM: So first and foremost, a new team here with Rackley WAR, tell us a little bit about how this deal came together.

Allen: So I am partnered up with Curtis Sutton of Rackley Roofing, and we had a driver development late model team called WAR Development (That's where the name Rackley WAR came from plus we have a suspension company called WAR Shocks) and he sponsored one of our drivers named Brittney Zamora, and we just got to talking and hit it off, and he asked me about the possibility of running a truck team. And it had always been a goal of mine, so one thing led to another and here we are.

SM: So starting out, I know a lot of teams have alliances, can you talk about where you guys get some of your motors and the infrastructure of this new team and where your shop is?

Allen: So we are still in our same shop with our late model team here and our shock company WAR Shocks. So it gets a little crowded, but it actually works out well with the trucks. But what helped us get ahead of the learning curve was our alliance with GMS Racing, and they have been tons of help. They paint our bodies, do a lot of the fabrication and help with some of the engineering, so it's been really good to have their help. They have been awesome.

SM: I wanted to talk about your plan to enter William Byron in one of your trucks at Nashville. Are there plans to expand to two trucks in the future?

Allen: We definitely are looking into expanding to a second team. Our five-year goal is to have three teams, but hopefully soon we'll have a full time second team.

SM: That's really exciting to get a peek behind the curtain. For the next three races, you guys will have Josh Berry in the #25 truck. Could you possibly see a scenario where he could run the rest of the season?

Allen: Well first and foremost, I have known Josh and he's a great friend of mine. He should definitely be running full-time in the cup series, but definitely. We plan to take these two races and kind of go from there. But it would be great for us to work together and continue to build this program, but you know how this industry is. Everything changes in an instant so who knows what can happen next weekend, but anytime you can get Josh Berry behind the wheel you know he can get it done.

You can listen to the rest of the interview below:


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Keep an eye on Alex Bowman this weekend. Image via: Wiki Commons.

For the first time since July 1984, NASCAR returns to one of its most popular cities in Nashville, Tennessee for the inaugural Ally 400 at Nashville Super Speedway. This track is a 1 1/3rd mile concrete oval that was dormant for nearly ten years and was only used as a testing facility. So it came as a bit of a surprise last season when it was announced that this track would be getting a date. For a lot of drivers, this will be a brand new racetrack, but we will see practice and qualifying, so that will be a huge help for the newcomers that haven't raced here before. Back when the Xfinity and Trucks ran here, this track featured a lot of first time winners. Back in 2008, future NASCAR champion Brad Keselowski shocked the world by jumping in Dale Jr's car and capturing his first win here. There will be a lot of veterans like Kyle Busch and Kevin Harvick who have plenty of experience at this track, but it will be tough to compare. It should be fun with everyone coming into this race with minimal knowledge.

Last week, Kyle Larson continued his hot streak by winning the All-Star Race. Overall, while Larson and his Hendrick teammates probably enjoyed the race, the feedback from crews and fans was less than positive. As I was walking through the garage area and talking to a few crew members, a lot of them were very critical of the 450 horsepower motor and the tall spoiler to try and keep the cars bunched up. When I asked one of the crew-members what he thought about the package he told me, "Oh it's awful. The track is terrible, the package makes it impossible to pass and it's super hot out here." On green flag runs, it was the same as it ever was as the lead car would pretty much take off and the only time there was really any "pack racing" it came after there were restarts. The whole race was well-intentioned and the fans showed up as it was nearly a capacity crowd, but the whole thing just didn't make any sense. From the start time being in the nearly 100 degree heat to the wacky full-field invert at the end of each stage. Let's hope that next season's All-Star Race is a lot more concise.

In Silly Season news this week, Truck Series regulars GMS racing announced that they would be fielding a full-time cup series team. The team is currently owned by Allegiant Airlines CEO Maurice Gallagher and his son, Spencer, who used to drive for them in the Xfinity Series. This move seemed to come from out of nowhere as there was never any indication that this was a move they were exploring anytime soon after they turned down the opportunity to purchase Furniture Row Racing in 2019. This is certainly a great sight for the sport as there will be more new teams on the track and with their close relationship with Chevy, it wouldn't be a surprise if they step in and help this team become competitive. The favorite to drive their car has to be 2020 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series champion Sheldon Creed. He has easily been their best driver in trucks, and it would make the most sense for him to get the promotion.

This week at Nashville, the driver that I have winning is Alex Bowman. Now while this is a brand new racetrack and he has a grand total of zero starts here, this track suits his driving style perfectly. With the inclusion of this track, there are now four tracks with a concrete surface. Nashville, Bristol, Dover and Martinsville. At the three of the tracks they have run at, he has shown a lot of speed, including a victory at Dover this season and a top ten finish at Bristol. This is also a track where crew-chief Greg Ives said Bowman has gravitated towards during testing. In an interview with Sirius XM Ives was quoted as saying "we used to have a lot of fun testing there," so this is clearly a track that they both enjoy going to. Another big factor going into Sunday will be just how fast these Hendrick Motorsports cars are, they have finished 1-2 over the last four points races. He has watched his teammates Kyle Larson and Chase Elliott have immense success, and now this week I think he is due for a third win of the season. Look for the bright purple #48 Chevy to go to victory lane this week at Nashville.

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