Landon Cassill's NASCAR career began in a different way than a lot of other race car drivers do. Cassill, at the ripe age of just 17-years-old was already in the development program for Hendrick Motorsports. It looked like he could be in-line for a high profile ride very shortly. He ran his first NASCAR Nationwide Series race in 2007 and ran part time for the organization through the 2008 season.
However, in that season Cassill struggled adjusting to the heavy stock cars of the then NASCAR Busch Series. In 19 starts in the 2008 season he had just five top 10 finishes. The tough year left Cassill on the outside looking in when the 2009 season began. At the age of just 19 Cassill was out of a ride and looking to get back into NASCAR.
He ran one race in the 2009 season running for Phoenix Racing and finishing tenth at Memphis. The race was an impressive one for Cassill and when Phoenix Racing's owner James Finch had a ride open for his Sprint Cup Series car in 2010 Finch rang Cassill's phone. At the age of just 20 Cassill made his Sprint Cup Series debut for the organization running the Helluva Good! Sour Cream Dips 400 at Michigan International Speedway in June of that season. At the time Phoenix Racing's efforts were limited and were forced to start and park for several races in the 2010 season. Cassill had one job, to qualify to make the field.
Cassill did just that for Finch's team. Throughout the year Cassill would impress with his ability to qualify. The success led Cassill to make some starts at TRG Motorsports and Max Q Motorsports that season as well. In all Cassill would run 16 races in the Sprint Cup Series in 2010, missing just two races that season. Cassill had done his job and had worked his way back onto the NASCAR scene.
Finch came calling again in the 2011 season. Cassill and Finch teamed up for the season opening NASCAR Nationwide Series Drive4COPD 300. Cassill turned heads in Finch's #1 Chevrolet that afternoon and finished third after running up front all day long. Even Tony Stewart, who won the race that afternoon, commented on how well Cassill did that afternoon. After Bill Elliott ran Phoenix Racing's #09 Chevrolet for the first four races of the 2011 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season, the then 21-year-old Cassill was tabbed to replace Elliott when the series went to the Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, California. Cassill did his job again, keeping the #09 car into the top 35 in owner points and turning some heads doing it.
He ran for BK Racing in the 2012 season and did a fine job there finishing 31st in points for an upstart race team. However, during the following off season the team made a curious move and hired David Reutimann to drive one of their two cars for the 2013 season. Cassill's teammate in 2012 at BK Racing was 37-year-old former Camping World Truck Series champion Travis Kvapil. The team elected to replace Cassill and not Kvapil and it looked like Cassill may yet again be out of a ride heading towards the 2013 season.
However, Circle Sport Racing decided to hire Cassill to drive their Sprint Cup Series entry. It was a small team with very little owner points but Cassill did well with it and carried the team to a respectful 38th place finish in the Sprint Cup Series owner points. Cassill was also hired to drive Johnny Davis' #4 Chevrolet in the 2013 NASCAR Nationwide Series season. Cassill was hired after the fifth race of the year. The #4 team was 19 points out of the top 30, which guarantees a starting spot into each race in the NASCAR Nationwide Series. Cassill was hired as the man to try and get that team into the top 30, which was a tall task for an underfunded team. By August the team was over 50 points to the good as far as owner points were concerned making the entire organization breath a little easier.
Cassill's 2013 success led to a full-time ride in both the NASCAR Sprint Cup and the NASCAR Nationwide Series in the 2014 season. Cassill has run really well in both series so far this season. He finished 12th in the season opening Daytona 500 and although he missed two races in the Circle Sport with Hillman Racing #40 Sprint Cup Series car earlier in the year due to lack of owner points, Cassill has driven that car to an impressive 31st in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Owner Point standings now which has his team safely in most races.
It's been an impressive start to the 2014 season for Landon Cassill, who will turn 25 in July, has found himself again after an unusual start to his NASCAR career. As rides begin to open up for the 2014 season don't be surprised if Cassill's name is kicked around for some pretty attractive rides for 2014.
With his age and experience, one has to wonder what is on the horizon for Cassill as he tries to keep up in this unforgiving world of NASCAR.Tags: Circle Sport Racing, landon cassill, Motorsports, NASCAR, NASCAR Nationwide Series, NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, phoenix racing