NASCAR: J.R. Fitzpatrick to Drive for Baker Curb Racing in Nationwide Series

Ashley McCubbinAnalyst IMarch 23, 2011

MONTREAL, QC - AUGUST 29:  J R Fitzpatrick, sits aboard the #33 Schick Chevrolet during the Napa Auto Parts 200 Qualifying on August 29, 2009 at the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve in Montreal, Canada.  (Photo by Jason Smith/Getty Images)
Jason Smith/Getty Images

After a disappointing run in Daytona, Fitzpatrick is back behind the wheel of the No. 27 Shick Hydro and Energizer Canada Ford Mustang for Baker Curb Racing.

The 22-year-old will make his second start of the 2011 season in the Royal Purple 300 at Fontana's Auto Club Speedway on Saturday.

"I'm pumped to be getting back into the car this week," Fitzpatrick said. "It goes without saying we had a frustrating start to the season at Daytona.  We were denied the opportunity to show what we could do by having to exit the race almost as soon as it had started.  These things happen though but I'm glad to be back in NASCAR this weekend and continuing to build my oval resume thanks to support from Schick Hydro and Energizer Canada."

Due to a broken gear, Fitzpatrick's Daytona run only lasted 10 laps. Though following previous Truck experience at Daytona, he hopes to turn a new page.
"I raced in the Truck Series at Fontana back in 2009 with TRG so I'm not flying completely blind coming back this week but there's no doubt it'll be a different story in the Nationwide Series," he said.

"The most important thing for me is to take something from every opportunity behind the wheel and racing against this field.  It's great to be able to compete against all these drivers, including the Sprint Cup guys, it just makes me even hungrier to prove myself and ultimately step up when the opportunity presents itself!"

Fitzpatrick got started in racing at the age of six, running a Jr. Late Model.

“Then I moved on to Delaware (Speedway), and when I was 13 years old, I got a late model and then from there, I just stayed in heavy stock cars.”

Fitzpatrick then moved up to the CASCAR Super Series, where he finished second in the Rookie of the Year standings in 2004 at 16.

At the age of 17, he scored his first win and got three top-fives and five top-10 finishes.

Then in 2006, he became the youngest Canadian Tire Series National Champion with a win, five podium finishes and two pole awards at the age of 18.

Over the next three years in the Canadian Tire Series, Fitzpatrick would earn a total of four wins, 10 top-fives, 14 top-10s and five pole awards.

This past year, Fitzpatrick took on running the entire NASCAR Canadian Tire Series schedule, with his goals set on winning the championship. He was in the thick of the battle all year long, though after a bad finish at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve and a broken clutch at Riverside Speedway, he ended up second—40 points behind champion D.J. Kennington.

Fitzpatrick made his first in the NASCAR Busch Series (now Nationwide Series) at the Telcel-Motorola Mexico 200 at the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez in Mexico City, where he finished 33rd due to an ill-handling car.


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