In his first full-time season driving for Goodie Motorsports, Craig Lutz has been turning heads in the garage area.
With one race left on the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour schedule, the Miller Place, New York, driver sits fifth in the championship standings with three top five finishes in the first 15 races.
After years of driving in his family team, Lutz switched to the Goodie operation halfway through last season, scoring one pole award and a best finish of seventh. After an offseason filled with anticipation, the team decided to head south to Florida’s New Smyrna Speedway for the annual World Series of Asphalt Stock Car Racing in order to get some more track time before the Whelen Modified Tour season took the green in South Carolina.
“It was a dream come true to drive for a team like them,” Lutz said. “We started the season off strong, and I think it was a huge benefit for us to go down to Florida and continue to gel together and work as a team. We had a couple of strong runs down there. It was a good week for us.”
After opening the Whelen Modified Tour season with a ninth-place run, Lutz came back to the northeast and Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park for the Icebreaker 150, where he finished second.
Now, as the season is set to conclude on Sunday as part of the 56th annual World Series right back at Thompson, Lutz has a new wave of confidence.
His team switched from Troyer to LFR Chassis just two weeks ago, and in their first effort at Stafford Motor Speedway, he started eighth and finished second.
“We were looking into the future, what our program was going to be next year,” Lutz said. “Either way we were planning on building a new car, but we were debating which route to go. When Rob Fuller (owner, LFR Chassis) posted a car for sale, it was an opportunity we didn’t know was coming. My car owner decided that was something we were going to do.”
The decision to swap to LFR definitely didn’t come without plenty of discussion inside the team first. After years of working with the same car, the support from the entire LFR company and the commitment to finding more speed on the track as a team made things a bit easier.
“It definitely makes you excited every week to know that you are going to be close right off the trailer. It’s definitely also a huge benefit to have the support at the track with Rob right there,” Lutz said. “That’s the biggest thing that makes the cars fast at the track. To have him at the track helping you to make the calls, it definitely helped the decision to switch.”
With Lutz turning his attention to the season-finale at Thompson on Sunday, he is hoping to capture another strong run — and carry momentum into the offseason.
“I’m really looking forward to it, last year in the World Series we had a really strong run. I think it’s going to be a good day for us,” he said. “The World Series and the Icebreaker are some of the biggest races of the year, so to be able to run well there and possibly win, it’s definitely a good place to do it.”