Jessica Cann is hoping for more success in her third full season in the Solid Rock Carriers CARS Tour after scoring her best career series finish last summer.
Cann was selected as one of the members of the Lucas Oil Touring 12 program, an initiative launched by the CARS Tour in 2018 to promote loyalty and future development of the series. Last season, Cann improved on track, scoring her first top-10 finish at Dominion Raceway last spring, then scoring a career-best eighth-place finish in a chaotic race at Carteret County Speedway late in the summer.
“It’s pretty amazing, almost kind of like a dream come true,” Cann said about being selected for the Touring 12. “Our hard work is paying off. We’ve spent a lot of time marketing ourselves and the series in our first and second seasons. To be blessed with this opportunity to be in the Touring 12 is really an honor. To be part of this series, even though we aren’t one of the higher veteran teams, it’s just really special.”
Along with the prestige of being part of the Lucas Oil Touring 12, Cann also detailed how it benefits her and her team.
“You get that increased exposure for all of our partners that really help us out and have been with us for a long time,” Cann told Short Track Scene. “It solidifies their support for us as a small team and seeing their hard work pay off as well as ours as well. It just goes to show that the little teams can do it with a lot of hard work and dedication. It shows that we are meant to be here, are part of the series, and are going to be here a long time.”
A recent moment that has given Cann inspiration is Michael McDowell’s upset win in the Daytona 500 in February. McDowell, an underdog, drives for Front Row Motorsports, a team that has been in NASCAR since 2004.
“I think it’s awesome,” Cann remarked. “All the small teams that you see, from our level all the way up to Cup, when all those small teams have those successes, we shout out a little extra cheer for them because they’re like us. It helps to motivate us as the little guy and to show that you can still do it. You don’t have to be one of the big dogs.”
Cann began racing in 2018, starting out her career in Limited Late Models before making the jump to the CARS Tour in 2019. In both 2019 and 2020, Cann won the Most Popular Driver vote on the Late Model Stock Car side of the CARS Tour.
“It really means a lot to me to get the support from the fans,” Cann said. “To see me, as a newcomer to short track racing, to see that support from the fans two years in a row has really blown me away.”
This season, Cann is focused on becoming more competitive in the CARS Tour and hopes to contend for wins.
“In reality, I’ve got the best equipment, best people behind me, realistically, I think a win is there,” Cann explained. “It’s all on me, not a whole lot of pressure or anything, but I hope we can get a win. That would be supremely awesome and cool to happen in my third year in the CARS Tour. We have the equipment to do it but it’s all on me. We spent a lot of time through the offseason training and upgrading our equipment and testing and things like that.”
One way Cann has focused on improving her skills is on the iRacing simulation software, which she’s recently joined and began using more often, as well as watching videotapes to study her lines.
“We purchased a rig the week before COVID but I was so busy last year I didn’t spend a lot of time with it through the season,” Cann commented. “This offseason, rewatching our in-car footage, I’ve used that to develop my skills. Here in the past few weeks, we’ve been hosting some CARS Tour tournament-style racing on iRacing, 125 laps, no tires, same kind of stuff we encounter in real life.”
This weekend, she’s hoping to pull off a win in a race that she expects attrition to be a headline in.
“I’m expecting a pretty action-packed weekend for sure, to say the least,” Cann said. “That’s the best way to describe it is action-packed for sure. I think it’s possible I could win at Dillon.”
Saturday’s Black’s Tire 125 at Dillon Motor Speedway is the first race of the 2021 Solid Rock Carriers CARS Tour season. The green flag will fly at 3pm and the race can be seen live on the CARS Tour TV subscription streaming service.