On Friday, Tim Viens revealed on Instagram that he will be running the No. 49 Trump/Pence 2020 Truck for Ray Ciccarelli’s CMI Motorsports team at Kentucky in Saturday’s Buckle up in your Truck 225. However, in an exclusive interview with TobyChristie.com Viens explained that the deal will actually be for the remainder of the 2020 NASCAR Gander RV & Outdoors season and he will run the Trump campaign colors for the whole season.
“The gist of it is, I’m signing on with CMI and Ray Ciccarelli and I’m going to run the No. 49 for the remainder of the season,” said Viens. “All of the races. This weekend I’ll be at Kentucky, then I go to Texas, we’re doing both Kansas and then however NASCAR works the schedule — that keeps changing — but I’ll be in the No. 49 for the rest of the season.”
Viens explains that he has created a new PAC (The Patriots First of America PAC) aside from the Patriots of America PAC, which has sponsored Mike Harmon Racing’s NASCAR Xfinity Series car this season and is sponsoring Corey LaJoie’s No. 32 car in the NASCAR Cup Series.
“The other Trump car that we’re sponsoring is through a PAC, which I’m a board member on. I co-founded the actual PAC, it’s called Patriots of America PAC. I co-founded that with Hank Foley and that’s the PAC that sponsored the Xfinity Daytona car with Mike Harmon Racing and it’s now doing a nine-race deal with the No. 32 in the Cup Series with Corey LaJoie,” said Viens. “You saw the first one was at Indy. That is sponsoring the Cup stuff. I have a new PAC that is going to sponsor the Truck stuff. So, it’ll be Trump/Pence 2020 for the entire season.”
This is huge for the 43-year old driver, who had an embarrassing start to the season as he was partnered with Mike Affarano Motorsports, which could never get the truck on the race track for him. He won’t have that issue with CMI Motorsports.
But if Viens is already involved as a board member in the other PAC, why did he feel it was necessary to create a new PAC for the sponsorship?
“Basically, I just wanted to keep it separate. I am doing in-kind contribution basically, which means I am self-funding the racing,” Viens explained. “So, I’m not taking money from outside donors to pay for this. I just wanted to keep it separate and not have any conflicts of interest or anything like that. We already have that deal in place, it’s real simple, keep it that way.”
Keeping things separate definitely makes sense, but the new PAC is also not taking any donations. So, that left me pondering how Viens was going to afford to keep his deal with CMI running out of his own pocket.
Turns out, the new PAC isn’t actually paying any money to CMI Motorsports for Viens to run the No. 49 truck. Instead, Viens explained that a trade agreement with Mike Affarano Motorsports has secured the ride. While the No. 49 Trump Truck will have a disclosure that it is paid for by the Patriots First of America PAC, that technically won’t be the case.
“There’s no money going into the PAC, it’s just going to be — I’ve already paid for the racing,” said Viens. “The way I was able to work it out is Mike Affarano basically, for what he owes me from the money I paid him at the start of the season, he’s giving us the Talladega superspeedway truck and the short track truck to CMI for me to drive. This is a home run for them because they aren’t utilizing their equipment, the wear and tear is on Affarano’s equipment. I’m supplying that, so it’s basically a trade situation to be able to drive.”
When you take into account that Viens is self-funding his racing ventures through money that he already paid earlier in the year to Affarano, it really feels a bit like a tangled web. Especially when you take into account public Volusia County court records (available at clerk.org), which show a judgement against him for more than $400,000 to a man named Scott Land. However, Viens says that the lawsuit judgement is currently under appeal.
“It’s a business matter that we had a dispute on,” Viens stated emphatically. “It’s currently under appeal. The appeal will be coming up in the next four months and it’s actually very favorable to me. I believe 100-pecent that it will be overturned. I had a really bad attorney experience and just didn’t do things correctly. But as far as it affecting my daily life, it’s not. If the appeal comes in my favor, great. If it doesn’t, it’s a business dispute, we’ll settle it. It’s that simple.”
Although the court records show that garnishments have been levied against Viens, his bank, his various LLCs as well as NASCAR and the sponsor of the season-opening NASCAR Truck race at Daytona — NextEra Energy — in an effort to collect the money owed, Viens says it will all be wiped clean if his appeal goes through. He also says that the garnishments are on hold until the appeal is heard.
That is something to keep an eye on in the future, but in the present, Viens has a date with destiny. He will be running the No. 49 truck with the President of the United States draped across the entire body of the Chevrolet Silverado.
However, there is another odd layer to the story about the pairing of Viens and the Trump 2020 campaign with Ciccarelli’s race team. Ciccarelli is of course the driver who was blasted for a controversial Facebook post condemning NASCAR for their decision to ban the Confederate Flag, while also being critical about allowing kneeling during the National Anthem.
Viens says it’s a non-issue and that the Trump Campaign has openly expressed similar viewpoints as Ciccarelli.
“No, I don’t believe that Ray made any kind of derogatory remark towards the confederate flag. I believe he said everyone is entitled to their opinion,” Viens explained. “What he had a problem with was kneeling during the national anthem, and I’m with him. I’m prior military, I was in the Guard in Vermont and people fight and serve and die for this country and I think people should respect that decision. The President openly says it about the NFL and NASCAR and every other sport he says that we should stand for the national anthem, and I feel the same way. I think it makes sense that I’m going with Ray Ciccarelli as he has made a vocal stand that that’s where he stands. The President has vocally said that that’s where he stands. I’ll do the same.”
So, where did Viens, a 43-year old driver, who is trying to all of a sudden cut his teeth in racing, come from?
Viens, who played football through High School and college as a placekicker, and then continued on to play semi-professional and even professional arena football, got the racing bug when a company he owned became entrenched in the sport.
“I got started in racing late,” Viens admitted. “I want to say maybe 10 years ago, I started racing. I went up to Rockingham Speedway. I owned Racedaysponsor.com, that’s how I was around the sport. We were doing sports marketing for several different [NASCAR] Nationwide teams and Cup stuff, so I was around the sport. I got invited by Andy Hillenburg, who ran a driving school. The first time I ever got into a race car, I drove at Rockingham Speedway at his two-day course and I basically fell in love with it.”
After he fell in love with the sport, Viens purchased some race cars to chase his adrenaline rush locally at New Smyrna Speedway, and before long he was on the rungs of the ladder to NASCAR.
“As soon as I came home, I live in Daytona Beach, I bought a Pro Truck and I started racing on the weekends at New Smyrna Speedway,” Viens recalled. “I did that for a while, then I bought a late model and started racing late models at New Smyrna. Then, a year later from starting from zero to nothing, I got approached by an ARCA team. I ran my first ARCA race at Daytona within one year of starting to drive.”
Viens is a late bloomer, who has somehow found his way into the National Series ranks of NASCAR in a relatively short time period. He is keeping his expectations tempered as he is zeroed in on top-20 finishes and possible top-15s going forward. He considers his racing career a hobby and according to him, he just wants to help President Trump get re-elected in 2020.
“I’m 43 years old. I’m optimistic about what I’m doing. This is a hobby for me. I’m not a 20-year old who is going to be able to slam dunk some $10-million sponsor because I’m good looking, young and that kind of package, you know, I am good looking though, but I’m more realistic about it,” Viens said. “It’s a hobby for me. Businesses obviously help me accomplish these goals because this sport is expensive. I just want to have fun, run the best I can, travel and just live life and if I can help the president in 2020 that’s important.”
In five previous NASCAR Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series starts, Viens has a best finish of 23rd, which came in his series debut at Dover back in 2015, which he did not finish due to mechanical failure. Viens will look at besting that effort as he hits the homestretch in the 2020 season.
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.