Watching the Niece Motorsports No. 45 truck go to victory lane in Friday night’s NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series race at Kansas Speedway was an incredible story of the little guy working his tail off to get to the top.
Following the win, team owner Al Niece shared the real reason he started his Truck Series team a few years ago.
“I’m really fortunate that [team manager] Cody [Efaw] and I hooked up three years ago. I wanted to try get my license back and drive as a 74 year old man — fat old man.”
Niece, it turns out is a former race car driver who actually ran Sprint Car races for many years. His post-race press conference was full of other interesting nuggets, including the fact that he originally thought about not calling the team Niece Motorsports.
“In fact, a little story, the first truck and engine I bought, I was going to form the team and I thought I’d form it and call it IR Racing because I took the money out of my IRA to buy everything,” Niece quipped. “So, then Cody said we need a little bit more and we need a little bit more. Cody just kept improving the program every year.”
The improvements have paid off as the No. 45 truck — with Ross Chastain behind the wheel — has finished inside the top-10 in every single Truck Series race in 2019. Niece took a moment to relive the day that he decided he had to have Chastain behind the wheel of his vehicles.
“I think the first time we ran against Ross was at Atlanta two years ago,” Niece explained. “We thought we had some pretty good stuff and I know what Ross was in was not quite as good as what we had and he ran away from us. I said, we have got to get this guy. We may not be able to have the equipment that other people have. But when you have a crew chief and a driver who can put it all together you can overcome a lot.”
This is an incredible feel-good story and it’ll be fun to see if the No. 45 team can take the Owner Championship by season’s end.
Toby is the Founder, Editor and go-to man for TobyChristie.com. He is also the co-host of The Final Lap Weekly Podcast. Additionally, Toby is a NMPA (National Motorsports Press Association) award winning writer, and has followed NASCAR as a fan since 1993.