ANDERSON, Ind. (July 19) – Josh Nelms will be looking for another solid finish in this weekend's Anderson 100 JEGS/CRA All-Stars Tour race at Anderson Speedway. It shouldn't be too hard for Nelms. He's been remarkably consistent all season.
In all seven JEGS/CRA races in 2012, Nelms has finished between fourth and ninth every time. His secret?
"Age," Nelms said with a chuckle. "I'm 'mature.'"
Nelms, 36, may be joking, but he's not far off. The veteran driver knows what his goals are and how to accomplish them. Nelms knows he's probably not going to win a lot of races because he drives for a small team, but that doesn't mean he can't finish well.
"Our team struggles to get the good qualifying spots, but we always seem to excel during the race," Nelms said. "I always tell them, 'I'm never going to drive any harder than the car's going to give me.' I'm not going to try to go above and beyond what the car's going to give me because that's when you start getting yourself into trouble. We've just looked for consistency, getting good, consistent finishes without wrecking the car."
He's done that all seven races this year. Despite starting in the top 10 only twice this season, Nelms has two top-five and seven top-10 finishes. He's done it by racing smart.
"We're a low-dollar team, a low-budget team," Nelms said. "We've got to keep the car clean and go from race to race. There's no point in battling for one position if you're going to take a chance at tearing up the car. Sometimes, you've got to have a little give-and-take. Honestly, I've been doing this for so long compared to these kids I'm racing with, and you've sometimes you've got to do more giving than taking."
That's the "nature of the beast" for the younger drivers in the series, who are out to prove something while trying to build careers. Nelms, however, is simply racing to have fun.
"You watch these guys beating and banging, and you're on the radio, going, 'These guys are going to wreck,'" Nelms said. "Five laps later, they're wrecking. You just give yourself enough room, and they wreck, and you pick up two spots because of it.
"Shadybowl, I went from 11th to second in three laps, and I only passed one car. You just sit back and let everybody do their stupid stuff."
Nelms has ridden the consistency to fifth in the JEGS/CRA points standings despite not having a single full-time crew member. His car owners, Pat and Lisa Trgovich, are a mother-daughter team carrying on a long-time family tradition of owning a Late Model arcecar. Based in Highland, Ind., Nelms' team is an all-volunteer crew, from crew chief Ron Bohse to spotter Kathy Bohse – Ron's wife. Nelms' wife Kerrie also helps out when she can.
Nelms commutes 45 minutes from his home in Lockport, Ill. – where he works as a Collision Repair Instructor for Lincoln College of Technology – to work on the race car.
"We got some weekday races, and we have to kind of make due with what we've got because the guys have to go to work," Nelms said. "We're doing it for a hobby, we're not doing it for a living."
That's why the JEGS/CRA All-Stars Tour has been good for him and the team.
"We didn't want to be racing weekly," Nelms said. "The June and July months, this is the crunch time of the year when we've got these races stacked on top of each other, so we're making due with what we can.
"This is a good upstart series with a great sponsor backing it in JEGS. CRA's always had a great reputation, and they've welcomed us with open arms. We like going to the different tracks, we like the challenges."
So far, Nelms has been able to meet every challenge.
Pit gates open at Anderson at 11 a.m. Eastern Friday, with technical inspection for JEGS/CRA cars at 2 p.m. and the drivers meeting at 4. Practice is scheduled for 4:30 p.m., with qualifying at 6:15. The 100-lap feature will be part of the race program that starts at 7:30 that also includes the CRA McGunegill Late Models.
Among the entries are points leader Daniel Hemric, winner of five of the seven races, Howie Lettow Rookie of the Year Award leader Anderson Bowen, third-place Brent Downey and fourth-place Chad Finley. Reigning rookie of the year Cody Coughlin is also slated to race in Anderson.
The ARCA/CRA Super Series races at Anderson on Saturday night.
Media Note: Additional information is available at www.TeamJEGS.com.