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Published: 6/16/2023

A New Challenge for Nick Sanchez

Author: DAN HODGDON

Photos: THE BLOCK

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As a young driver climbs the NASCAR ladder, expectations grow. It's something Nick Sanchez has experienced firsthand as he competes in his rookie season in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series with Chevrolet-powered Rev Racing.

 

Sanchez pilots his No. 2 Rev Racing Chevrolet Silverado RST at North Wilkesboro Speedway.

Sanchez, 22, won the 2022 ARCA Menards Series championship with the team, which serves as the competition arm of NASCAR's Drive for Diversity program. A Cuban-American native of Miami, Sanchez has risen through the ranks with Rev Racing and found success at all levels.

But now, he is facing his greatest challenge yet as the organization fields a Chevrolet Silverado RST in the Truck Series for the first time.

"These guys are probably more high level than anyone I've ever worked with before so their expectations are different," Sanchez says of his team. "They expect you to go out there and perform, so it's just living up to their expectations and learning from their wealth of knowledge."

Sanchez has already been impressive in the Craftsman Truck Series. He has scored two poles and five top-10 finishes through 12 races in 2023 in his No. 2 truck, including one second-place result at Atlanta Motor Speedway. He also came agonizingly close to winning at Texas. In addition, he drove in eight NASCAR Xfinity Series races last year with a best finish of eighth at Martinsville Speedway in the fall.

Preparing for battle.

Still, he wants more. So too does veteran crew chief Danny Stockman, who has found success across NASCAR's national series. Sanchez calls working with him this season "the biggest learning experience of my career so far" and believes his guidance has elevated him as a driver.

"He's intense, I'm intense, I love it," Sanchez said. "He has a passion for it. He puts his heart into it. I feel like in this sport you have to have someone like that. You don't want someone just really going along. He shows emotion in a good way because he puts everything into it. It's amazing to have someone as a crew chief work like that and also every single other member of this team."

Getting used to the way the trucks drive at speed with their massive amounts of downforce and aero dependence has also represented a learning curve for Sanchez, as he's found he's needed to unlearn some techniques he became accustomed to racing cars.

Sanchez has been a part of Rev Racing for the majority of his career.

 

But despite all the changes, continuing with Rev Racing has allowed Sanchez to maintain a day-to-day comfort level with team owner Max Siegel (whom Sanchez considers like family) and the other members of the team responsible for ensuring the operation runs smoothly.

"Having the same boss that I've had for the past six years is amazing," Sanchez says..

In addition, Sanchez has been able to take advantage of all the tools at his disposal as a Team Chevy driver more than ever this year.

That includes utilizing the resources at the General Motors Charlotte Technical Center in Concord, North Carolina, such as the Driver-in-the-Loop simulator. Last season, Sanchez was able to get some sim time at the end of the year, but this year he has been spending nearly 15 hours a week in the simulator learning about how the race vehicles drive and the characteristics of many tracks as he visits them for the first time.

 

Sanchez utilizes a variety of resources as a Team Chevy driver.

 

Outside of the technology provided by GM and the Chevrolet brand, Sanchez is also able to lean on the knowledge of Josh Wise, the former driver turned athletic trainer, mentor and coach for a variety of drivers in the Chevrolet camp.

"He's taken my physical fitness and mental fitness to a new level, "Sanchez says.

Among Wise's goals with young drivers is to keep them in the necessary frame of mind as athletes whether they are met with success or failure at any given venue.

"I'm definitely learning a lot in that space and he's very big on developing drivers, and giving you as much data and (as many) resources as possible," Sanchez says. "You know every possible outcome, every possibility of where the track's going to go, what groove's going to be the preferred lane on restarts, pit road. He really rounds you as a driver and gives you every detail you need to know."

 

Practicing the No. 2 at Charlotte Motor Speedway.

 

While Chevrolet provides a wide variety of technological and human resources to drivers, Rev Racing itself also has another ace in the hole: a technical alliance with Kyle Busch Motorsports.

KBM became part of the Chevy camp this year when Busch, the team's two-time NASCAR Cup Series champion owner, rejoined Team Chevy as part of Richard Childress Racing.

KBM has been synonymous with winning races and championships during its time in the Truck Series, and Sanchez says the organization's knowledge of how to win regularly has provided a significant benefit for his team.

Plus, along with the technical alliance comes the mind of Busch himself.

"I feel like when you have someone like that to pick his brain you just get all the useful data, everything you need, it's really amazing," Sanchez says. "It's awesome having someone at his level, one of the best to ever do it, as a resource."

Sanchez talks a lot about learning and has proven to be an information sponge. That cerebral nature combined with his undeniable natural talent are a potent combination for a race car driver.

The result is often multiple trips to Victory Lane.

 

 

Keep watching The BLOCK for more on Chevrolet Performance and all motorsports disciplines.