When the fluorescent-colored NASCAR caravan comes rolling into Dover International Speedway for the May 29-31 race weekend, there will only be one driver from Delaware attempting to conquer the treacherous track with the “Monster Mile” moniker.
Seaford native CJ Faison will undoubtedly have one of the best seats in the house.
In fact, Faison will be attempting a career first as he hopes to make the starting field in the Saturday afternoon Xfinity Series in the Buckle Up 200. “I’m so excited to announce that I will be making my NASCAR Xfinity Series debut in Dover,” Faison said. “All the hard work over the past few years has been worth it.” Faison had announced he would be driving in Friday’s Lucas Oil 200 Camping World Truck Series race but, he said, an opportunity arose to pilot the No. 26 Toyota for JGL Racing in the Xfinity contest.
Faison will not compete Friday and will concentrate solely on Saturday’s race instead.
The Xfinity Series is one step below the prestigious Sprint Cup Series, where nationally known drivers such as Jimmie Johnson, Jeff Gordon and Kevin Harvick make their living.
“This is an all new experience for me and it’ll be a big learning curve as I’ve never raced an Xfinity Series car, but it’ll be fun,” Faison said. “Luckily, I’ve raced at Dover and know my way around there.” After spending the past two years away from NASCAR, the 21-year-old cannot wait to get out on Dover’s high-banked, one-mile speedway and try to turn some heads. In 18 K&N Pro Series East starts he posted one Top 5 and three Top 10s while driving for his family-owned team. He has three career Truck Series starts.
Faison is no stranger to turning fast laps at the speedway. In fact, he led 77 laps at Dover in the 2013 K&N Pro Series East race before he cut down a right front tire with 12 laps to go, slamming the outside wall. That was heartbreak. This time around he is looking for vindication.
“This opportunity is very humbling and I’m very appreciative of it,” Faison said in a YouTube video announcing his return to NASCAR. “I think we can make a great showing. It is overwhelming and exciting knowing that I am going back into NASCAR the way I wanted to go back in.” Faison is not worried that being away from NASCAR for a couple of years will slow him down.
He spent the past two years working with his father, Ron, as vice president at Delaware Auto Exchange in Felton and also founded his own company, Real Eyewear, which markets sunglasses.
“Anything that has four wheels and a motor, I will just hop in and drive,” Faison said.
And while Faison is only 21, he has been driving since the age of four on local dirt tracks where he has accelerated his way to seven championships and more than 65 victories.
Oh, about that first start.
“We lied to the track owner and told him I was five just so I could race,” said Faison. “I told my dad that I wanted to race in NASCAR when I was four and a half; he called my bluff, sold his stuff, bought me a go-cart and I have been racing ever since.
“I was hooked from the first time I ever went to the track. I really can’t get enough of it. If I could race seven days a week I’d be in a car somewhere.”