Media Contact: Billy Rock, Lucas Oil MLRA
For the second consecutive season, Jeremy Conaway and his Fifteen21 Motorsports team have their sights set on a full season of Lucas Oil MLRA action. A contender for last year’s Sunoco Race Fuels Rookie of the year award, Conaway has made a number of critical off season changes within his organization and looks to have the bad luck of a year-a-go in the rearview and his sights set on becoming a fixture at the top of the series leader board.
The Springfield, Illinois driver and team appeared in a total of 71 open late model events in 2020, including fourteen with the Lucas Oil MLRA. With a season worth of notes and experience now at their disposal, the team is confident that will pay dividends in their second full go-around with the series in 2021.
Conaway will begin his MLRA campaign behind the wheel of a Rocket XR-1 Chassis, with horsepower being supplied by Custom Race Engines in the form of an RY45 engine by SRI. Conaway and Fifteen21 Motorsports will partner with SRI Performance in a racing and marketing partnership, with focus on further developing the RY45 engine package and bringing it to the forefront.
“I am really excited they chose me,” commented Conaway of the joint venture with SRI Performance. “I bought an RY45 at the end of last year and we loved it. We started talking, and with SRI owning Roush Yates and the RY45 program we kind of discussed a few things. I didn’t expect it, but they gave me a phone call and asked me if we would carry the badge and do some motor stuff with them and I said absolutely.”
The forty year-old Conaway is excited for the new power plant opportunity and what it will bring to the team. “I think it will really help our program just being up with that technology, and Larry (Clark) is working really hard with Doug Yates and everyone at Roush to provide something that is top of the line and has longevity as well.”
A new addition to the race team in the offseason has also brought some much needed confidence to the team as they head towards the MLRA season opener at the Lucas Oil Speedway on April 9th – 10th. Former NASCAR crew chief Mark Tutor, has joined the Illini Racing Supply race team, bringing along years of knowledge and experience that Conaway expects to be a boost to the team.
“Mark has always been around in the background and he is really helping our program. We have spent a lot of time working on cars this winter, which is one of the main reasons we didn’t rush off to Florida this year to race. With last year being our first out on the road, we learned a lot about preparation and I would say that is about 80% of the racing when you’re out on the road is just to be prepared.”
With early plans of once again of hitting nearly seventy events in the coming season, including the entire 30 race MLRA schedule, Conaway knows the team will again be road tested. “With Mark, he helped us to create a really cool system in the shop for servicing the cars and getting stuff ready for when we go back to the track.”
“It is really neat having a guy of his caliber to help you line things out and the confidence level is absolutely way more now for all of us. For me and even my crew, we have that feeling that we have that mentor and somebody that will help us to better understand and make sure we are doing things correctly and in a better and shorter way. We are doing thigs now that will speed us up, so when were on the road we can focus on things like working on tires instead of just doing maintenance.
In 2020 not only did Conaway get to experience the high caliber of competition from within the MLRA series, but he also had to endure a long list of first time tracks that provided its share of challenges. “It’s going to help tremendously returning to these tracks this year,” said Conaway. “The only track that we had raced at before last year was Tri-City, so every other single track was brand new to us.”
“I think it kind of showed for us you know. As we went back to tracks like Wheatland a few times our speed got better and results were better. We had some good runs at other places too, but we also experienced our share of mechanical issues—we had the year of bad luck.”
The team plans to get their season started with some testing before going green in April for the MLRA opener. “I think if we can fix the things that gave us problems last year that we should be a lot better. A realistic goal for us is a top ten every night, but I really think we can be a top five car.”
Fifteen21 Motorsports Partners: Illini Racing Supply, RY45 by SRI, Custom Race Engines, Profab Racing Headers, Zeta Performance, SRI Performance, Fk Rod Ends, Performance Bodies, Parkland Environmental, Fox Shocks, Draco Racing Springs, STOPTECH Brakes, Maxair Fans, Base Racing Fuel, Ciled Digital Displays, Bell, Gorsuch Performance, Dynamic Drivelines, Outpace, Schaller Racing Shocks, S.P.A. Fire Extinguishers, Cat Island Golf Course, Hooker Harness.
Crew Chief: Mark Tutor
Crew Members: Tilly, Beve, Billy, Jamie, Nick, Jared