The season has not gone as planned for Shane Tucker, driver of the Auzmet/StructGlass Chevrolet Camaro. A new engine program brought along some growing pains, which the team worked through at the beginning of the season.
As they were about to make a move up the Mello Yello Pro Stock point standings Tucker was forced to put his focus on his primary business during the Western Swing. All the struggles and setbacks have only emboldened the young Australian to double down on his determination to make a mark at the biggest race of the season, the NHRA U.S. Nationals this weekend at Lucas Oil Raceway Park.
“We had high hopes at the beginning of the season but things change,” said Tucker.
“I have to thank my dad Rob for really busting his ass to get this Camaro race-ready every event. Nick Ferri has been amazing to work with and my crew guys have always be awesome. This is a tough business and you have to be fully committed. I am giving it my all and I am excited about Indy this weekend.”
The Auzmet Pro Stock Camaro still has a mathematical chance of making the Countdown to the championship. It would take a Herculean effort by Tucker and some serious miscues by teams in front of him to open the door. Tucker is not counting anything out and his confidence level is at an all-time high.
“You really just have to go out there and try your very best,” said Tucker. “This is one of the toughest categories in the NHRA. It is the biggest race of the year. I love the competition. When I get in my Auzmet/StructGlass Camaro I block out everything and just focus on cutting an outstanding light. I have a pretty good record off the line. I take a lot of pride in my driving and we just need a few things to fall our way.”
This season Tucker’s highlight moment arrived with a quarterfinal finish at the historic Gatornationals. In only his third race of the season Tucker grabbed a holeshot win in the first round and also stole another round win in the quarterfinals with a stellar reaction time. It is moments like that that keep Tucker pressing forward.
“We had a good car in Gainesville and I was getting more confidence behind the wheel. I think our Camaro is better now and I am getting into an even better groove driving. We had a tough race against Erica (Enders) in the first round of Brainerd two weeks ago but we saw a few things on the car we fixed for this weekend.”
This weekend with five qualifying rounds and the chance to race on national TV on Monday has Tucker and his Auzmet team working even harder to make sure every element of the race car is squared away. In 2014 Tucker qualified No. 14 and lost to Shane Gray in the first round. Since that race Tucker has attempted to qualify three more times for the U.S. Nationals. This season Tucker is looking to break the streak of frustration.
“We have been right on the edge the past three seasons. I really think we can get it done this year and be ready to go for race day. It won’t be easy but nothing in life worth doing is easy,” summed up Tucker.