Robb Brent, current ARCA driver and noted road racer, will make his NASCAR Nationwide Series event debut Saturday at Road America in Elkhart, Wisc.
Brent will take the wheel for RAB Racing for this weekend's race, the Bucyrus 200, presented by Menards.
Brent caught the eye of RAB principal Robby Benton during an ARCA race at New Jersey Motorsports Park, where he finished fourth, and at Palm Beach earlier in the year, where he finished second.
"Robby Benton had a car in the Palm Beach race and he was watching," Brent said. "He thought that I would have a good chance at running competitively in the 09 RAB car."
"Boris Said normally drives this car in the road courses," Brent continued. "But he's in California this weekend. So, he thought I would be a good fill-in."
"I got the call and I'm excited."
Brent has spent the week in North Carolina, familiarizing himself with the race team and the equipment. Eddie Pardue will be on the pit box as crew chief, but Brent will also be bringing his ARCA crew chief Dave Leiner to assist as well.
"I have Boris Said's number, and I'm going to give him a call after practice for sure and get some tips," Brent said. "The team is pretty excited, the car looks great, and I'm looking forward to getting their best finish of the year."
While Brent has been piloting the No. 36 Allgaier Motorsports Dodge, the family team of Nationwide racer Justin Allgaier, in the ARCA Series this season, this marks the racer's first ever time in a Nationwide car.
"This is my debut," Brent said. "I've been looking for this opportunity, and I've always wanted to do that on a road course since I feel that's my strongest suit."
This will also mark Brent's first time at Road America. He has been going on to YouTube and playing the video games to prepare and is definitely looking forward to the extra day of practice on the track.
"I'll go out and ride in the pace car around the track," Brent said. "We'll have plenty of time on the track and all I need to get where we want to be."
Brent, who is a 23-year-old Shelby, Michigan, native, came to racing later than most. He started his career at age 16 at a local go-kart center. In 2006, Brent won the national Auto Sport Association Series Camaro Mustang Challenge Championship, as well as the Rookie of the Year honors.
At age 20, Brent competed in the Grand Am Series, where he was crowned Panoz Racing series Winter Champion. Brent has also added the prestigious 24 Hours of Daytona to his racing pedigree.
Brent is also a member of the cadre of race car drivers who have recently graduated from college. He earned a bachelor's degree in Automotive Marketing/Business Management from Northwood University, graduating magna cum laude.
As Brent approaches the upcoming race at Road America, he is trying to be realistic. His biggest goal is to keep the car on the track, which is harder than it seems.
"I definitely want to complete all the laps," Brent said. "And keep the car on the track and in one piece."
"I think we're capable of a top-15, which would be a solid goal," Brent continued. "Of course, I'd love a top-10 but a top-15 is doable given the competition."
The competition is indeed tough at Road America, with some road aces like Ron Fellows, Jacques Villeneuve, and Carlos Contreras, in the field.
Brent, however, is philosophical about the competition.
"Hopefully, we can get up there and get in the mix," Brent said. "Once we get a few laps down and get my confidence going, we should be OK."
"You've got to beat the best to be the best," added Brent.
Brent is also philosophical about the potential for leveraging this Nationwide ride into something further in his career. Given the tough economic times, Brent is willing to parlay his hopeful success at Road America to another Nationwide gig or any other ride for that matter.
"I don't know what the future holds as this is a money-driven sport," Brent said. "I'm open to do Trucks or Nationwide or even a road racing ride. I'm not really too picky at this point.
"Hopefully this might catch someone's eye in the oval or road racing world," Brent said.
The Bucyrus 200 presented by Menards will be broadcast on ESPN2 and MRN Radio, 3:30 p.m. ET Saturday.
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