Carl Long’s MBM Motorsports team has been firing on all cylinders over the last two NASCAR Xfinity Series race weekends. After JJ Yeley recorded the team’s best-ever starting spot — 14th — a week ago at Texas Motor Speedway, Timmy Hill outdid it with an impressive ninth-place qualifying run Friday at Charlotte Motor Speedway.
While last week, many people chalked up the performance of MBM to the former Team Penske chassis they acquired, the team didn’t have that luxury this weekend.
“Can’t nobody say, ‘Well, That’s because it’s a Penske car,’ That’s our car. We did that,” Long told TobyChristie.com after Friday’s NASCAR Xfinity Series qualifying session.
Long says the No. 13 car that Hill piloted to a ninth-place starting spot for Saturday’s Alsco Uniforms 300 is a former Hattori Racing Enterprises machine. Meanwhile, Yeley’s No. 66 car is a 2012 or 2013 Joe Gibbs Racing chassis, and even with the car being about a decade old, Yeley still qualified 16th. So, what gives?
Where did all of the speed come from all of a sudden? Well, believe it or not, it all began with NASCAR’s new NextGen car in the NASCAR Cup Series leveling the equipment between the haves and have nots in the series.
I know, I know, we’re talking about MBM’s Xfinity Series team. But follow me, there is a correlation. MBM having NextGen cars and components has put them in a unique position to help the big dogs, something Long has never been able to do in his time in NASCAR.
“There’s never a chance in life that anybody can do anything to help Roger Penske. He don’t need stuff. He has everything,” Long explained. “But with the NextGen car and the parts being from a single manufacturer, we had that position, where we could help Roger Penske. And we did.”
Penske isn’t the only team that has accepted help from MBM Motorsports in 2022, RFK Racing has reached out as well.
“We’re helping Brad Keselowski a little bit,” Long revealed. “He has a wheel problem. If you look on his wheels, you’ll see they have the 66 numbers on most of his wheels. Brad and I have known each other for years. Matt McCall, his crew chief, now when I need something them boys will help me a little bit. It’s just a trade. Being on the bottom, you can never help those guys on top.
“Fortunately, that new car put me in a position that I got the same stuff they had and I could help them.”
So, as Long has scratched the backs of Penske and Keselowski and whoever else comes requesting NextGen parts and pieces, it has led to rewards for his MBM Motorsports team on the NASCAR Xfinity Series side of things.
One of those rewards was the ability to purchase the Team Penske Xfinity Series chassis, which they used at Texas last week.
Long says that his team was able to do a deep-dive on the Team Penske chassis and noticed some obvious improvements they could make to their own equipment.
“The biggest thing is, now that my guys have seen a race-winning car, like the one we got from Penske was,” Long explained. They’re going back and making changes on my car. We aren’t putting bolts in there that are a damn half inch longer than the thread that it needs to be on. We’re machining them off now. They want to run good. That’s the hardest thing.”
For Long and MBM, it’s been a total change in philosophy and mood in the shop, now that they feel they’ve seen a proven and capable car up close and personal.
“We’ve just got a change in direction,” Long said. “So, all the people who called you a field filler and that you don’t need to show up and all of that, it’s just knowledge,” Long said. “And now that the technology has stopped growing so fast on the Xfinity side and stopped developing, we’re actually catching up. The Cup side? We’re still lost. But we got the same piece that they do. Get some good advice and we could get those driving good.”
For Long, who has always preached the fine details to his team, they’re now starting to buy into it after their impeccable performance at Texas.
“It was proven that if you take all of the time to do the meticulous stuff, it’ll pay off in the end. So, I think my group is changing and that is good to know.”
Where does MBM Motorsports go from here? That remains to be seen, but the organization is definitely heading in the right direction. It’ll be interesting to see how Hill and Yeley perform in Saturday’s Alsco Uniforms 300 at Charlotte Motor Speedway.