Ruben Garcia Jr. enjoys best season to date in K&N Pro Series
Coming off of his best season to date in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series, Ruben Garcia still has unfinished business as he continues his quest for his second NASCAR Peak Mexico Series championship.
Garcia just finished the 2018 season in the K&N Pro Series picking up a pair of wins highlighted by taking the checkered flag in the season finale at Dover (Del.) International Speedway one week ago.
The Mexico City native feels his success this year in the K&N Pro Series East was the culmination of a three-year learning curve that paid dividends throughout the year.
“We had a great season this year,” said Garcia. “I felt we came back stronger this season and it showed as we had a good season winning at Memphis (Tenn.) Motorsports Park and Dover.”
Garcia competes as part of the NASCAR Drive for Diversity team at Rev Racing and when he started three years ago, the learning curve was big for him.
“My first year we spent just working on the basic things,” Garcia said. “I focused on learning the car, my team and also my communication with everyone at Rev Racing.
“Last year we had a lot of bad luck although we ran really well at times. We were running up front at Bristol (Tenn.) Motor Speedway and rain came, we had a flat tire at Dover and we were also up front at Watkins Glen (N.Y.) International when we had contact that messed up our day.”
Garcia finished 10th in the final standings in 2016, then improved to fifth-place in 2017 and scored a podium finish in the points rundown this year coming home third.
He felt his strong performance this year was a combination of factors with his crew chief Steve Plattenberger, Rev Racing General Manager/Director of Competition Jefferson Hodges and the entire team.
“My team did a great job of giving me a great car this year,” said Garcia. “Steve has a lot of experience with tires and that really helped us this year in our races.”
Hodges echoed Garcia’s comments but was also to credit his driver’s improvement in giving the team better results this season.
“In Ruben’s situation coming from Mexico that first year was a learning experience for all of us together,” said Hodges. “It took time for Ruben to get comfortable in the car and learn how to give feedback to the team about the car.
“The second year was a chance to return to tracks for the second time and start working on his notebook for Steve and how Steve could work on the car.
“This past season Ruben has learned enough that he could give feedback on the feel he wanted while driving the car at the race track. He didn’t need to spend time learning the track and other things, he could focus on telling Steve and his crew more detailed information that allowed his car to be set up and competing for wins.”
Hodges also felt the experience gained by Garcia really made a difference this season - especially in his two wins.
“He didn’t have the best starting spots at Memphis or Dover,” said Hodges. “But he showed patience and his experience in helping get his car right for the race and he was able to come up through the field and get the win.”
Garcia says the experience he’s gained with Rev Racing can only help him as he goes after his second NASCAR Mexico Series championship. There are three races still to go in that series.
“The K&N car and the car in Mexico are two different types of race cars,” said Garcia. “The K&N car is heavier and uses a different type of suspension.
“Racing in the K&N Series you have to manage your tire wear and in Mexico everyone goes wide open every lap and I’ve learned patience in the K&N car and that helps me when I race in Mexico as I can save my tires a little better than everyone else at the end of races.”
Garcia has already won three times this season in his home country and will compete next Saturday at Aguascalientes before racing at Guadalajara on Nov. 11 and finishing the season in his hometown of Mexico City on Dec. 2.
Garcia appreciates the opportunity to compete in to two NASCAR-sanctioned series.
“I want to thank everyone at Rev Racing and the NASCAR Drive for Diversity program for the opportunity they’ve given me to race with them,” said Garcia. “Winning in the K&N Pro Series East is really special and even my friends and fellow competitors keep up with what I do in the U.S.
“Everytime I win in the K&N Series all the competitors and my sponsors in Mexico come up and congratulate me and that means a lot to me. My sponsors are happy. It’s huge.”
Garcia and Hodges will join Rev Racing at the NASCAR Drive for Diversity Combine hosted by New Smyrna Speedway and Bethune-Cookman University on Oct. 22-24.
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