Chase Junghans is heading into 2019 with high hopes and he is already showing that he and his team are more than capable of achieving the goals they have set for themselves. After finishing sixth in the 2018 World of Outlaws Late Model Series final standings, the Manhattan, Kansas driver has placed himself in second just two points behind leader Shane Clanton after two points-paying races so far in the current campaign.
The 26-year-old racer believes he can contend among the other WoO Late Models stars if he can manage one important aspect of his season effectively.
“We just need to finish consistently, more top-5s,” Junghans declared in an interview with InsideDirtRacing.com. “If we can finish top-5 every night we’ll eventually win one, or two, or three, or four here and there. As long as you’re consistent the wins will show up. We’ve just got to be consistent and not have any parts failures or DNF’s and stuff like that.”
Junghans is well on his way toward achieving his goal of increasing his total number of top-5 finishes over last season. In 2018 the No. 18 machine claimed one win along with five top-5 results. Only two races into the 2019 WoO Late Models schedule the driver has already scored two top-5s.
The team has spent the recent off-season preparing their Clements powered Rocket Chassis for even more success.
“We’re just working on our setups a lot and doing a lot of testing,” Junghans explained. “As far as changing stuff, we’re not really doing anything different, we’re just applying some of the stuff we learned over the winter in testing.”
Another aspect of attaining success is preparation. When on the road for what can amount to weeks at a time, teams have to plan well ahead to be ready to handle any situation that might arise.
“You’ve just got to be really prepared and have everything in line as far as bodies and spare parts and all that,” the driver pointed out. “You’ve just got to be organized and have everything in check.”
And for a young racer such as Junghans, taking every opportunity to gain experience and knowledge is vital.
“You always learn different things, or I’m always learning,” he said. “As much seat time as you can possibly get the better, I feel like. If you notice the NASCAR guys like Kyle Larson and Christopher Bell, they’re racing every night they can get. It doesn’t matter if it’s a Midget or a Cup car or whatever.
“I think the more seat time you get, the better off you are,” Junghans added. “It’s definitely tough and really expensive so you have to have good sponsors and we’re fortunate enough to have good sponsors, and of course, we’re always looking for more. We’re just trying to do our best.”
Junghans doesn’t necessarily set specific goals going into a new season. He and his team are simply looking for continued improvement from week to week.
“I’d like to run in the top-5 every night but the biggest thing is building a notebook,” he insisted. “You’ve got to have good notes. I think now we’ve been to a lot of these tracks more than two times so you can check ideas off of previous years and that helps so you aren’t going in there with just a blank slate trying to figure out what you’ve got to do with the car. Now we can look back at our notes and that makes life a lot easier.”
And using that notebook is key to building more success. While they do sometimes share information with other competitors, the No. 18 team primarily relies on it’s own resources.
“There’s a lot of guys that have these Rockets that we talk to but for the most part I’ve just been doing my own thing and it seems to help a lot,” Junghans said. “I just worry about my car and not anyone else’s and we just work on what I feel like we need to do. I’ve got three good guys that help a ton and if it wasn’t for them we wouldn’t even be here doing it. We’re just fortunate enough to have all this equipment to be able to be out here running with these guys who have been doing it for twenty-five years or more.”
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