PRESTON, Conn. — After a career season on the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour in 2016, Max Zachem is updating his program and is “all in” on a 2017 championship run.
He has purchased a brand new TA1 Troyer Chassis, along with a brand new spec motor from Robert Yates for the upcoming season behind the wheel of his No. 20.
“Everything is upgraded, I’m starting with a brand new car, brand new spec motor, just a brand new everything,” Zachem told Race Chaser Online. “Every piece will be brand new in this except the driver.”
The decision to upgrade his equipment comes with many reasons, including the never-ending battle to get with the latest technology in a competitive sport.
“Last year, it was a really good year for us. We were able to build a good notebook in 2015 as a rookie and in the 2016 I had a really good notebook to go off at the track,” Zachem said. “Whether it was going to the tire corral or the setup on the race car, I really didn’t practice as much as other guys so I end up off my notes. I really worked on getting the car good for the end of the race. I haven’t gotten down qualifying yet and that is me. I do my own tires, I do the paperwork, I sign all the checks and by the time I get down to the race car I’m tired. It’s just reality.”
With all the work Zachem does at the track as both the driver and leader of the team, he is hoping that the 2017 season will be one filled with more crew members who can help take the load off his back at the track — something he believes will help tremendously.
“I’m trying to be more focused and get some more crew guys to take the pressure of me to be able to focus on the driving. That’s why we are going all in,” Zachem said. “We upgraded our truck, trailer, car and all. The only part we lacked last year was me trying to do to much at the track.”
In 2016, he broke-out on the tour, picking up 11 top-10 finishes along with two top five runs, inching closer to that first career series victory. The Preston, Conn. driver captured a best of second twice at Waterford and Thompson.
At Waterford, he swung for the fences with the best and came up just short. At Thompson, it was a last lap pass by Bobby Santos III that cost Zachem his shot at victory.
With the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour unified for the 2017 season, Zachem knows he will have to do more travel compared to last year.
“I feel like the Southern races are spread out the right way, and I don’t mind going South to start the year off because it’s warmer and there is no snow,” Zachem said. “Myrtle Beach is a great facility; I’ve been there the last two years. It’s a very worn out race track that kind of reminds you of a Lee USA Speedway or a Star Speedway.”
With supporters like East End Statuary, Willwood Brakes, Troyer Race Cars, Robert Yates, Lu-Mac’s Package Store, MPZ Motorsports and Cliff Nelson — along with the rest of his crew — 2017 could be a magical year for the former underdog on the Tour.
“We had older generation stuff and now everything is the new generation. We decided we are all in for this year. We are just going to give it all we have.”
Zachem will begin his championship run at Myrtle Beach Speedway on March 18, as part of the season-opener for the unified NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour.
About the Writer
Kyle Souza is an aspiring Journalism major at the Roger Williams University in Bristol, R.I. Souza is Race Chaser Online’s New England motorsports insider, covering everything from the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour to the NASCAR Whelen All American Series and the PASS North Super Late Models.
When not writing, Souza works at the Seekonk Speedway as the track’s Friday night public address announcer. Souza also writes press releases for the Granite State Pro Stock Series. Souza also works for Area Auto Racing News, based in Trenton, N.J.
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