[media-credit id=62 align=”alignright” width=”125″][/media-credit]Landon Cassill, driver of the No. 83 BK Racing Burger King/Dr. Pepper Toyota, is all about improvement having come off his best finish of the season last week in Charlotte. The team started 18th and finished 18th, starting and finishing inside the top-20 for the first time ever.
“It’s really big for us,” Cassill said. “To run in the top-25 is great for us, but to run in the top-20 is even better.”
“We like that, we keep trying to learn from it, and just keep doing it and being consistent.”
Cassill credits his team as the cause for the improvement as they begin to gel and understand one another. He especially credits the upswing in performance to crew chief Doug Richert.
“We’re a new team, so everybody is learning their place,” Cassill said. “The pit crew has been getting better and the cars have been getting better.”
“Doug (Richert) is knowing what to do with the car now that he is familiar with it and I’m learning my guys better,” Cassill continued. “That’s all a part of how it works.”
“We are working really well together,” Cassill said of his crew chief. “He’s got a positive attitude like I do and we seem to communicate really well on things.”
“So, I’m enjoying it,” Cassill continued. “I think that has a lot to do with our improvement and our success so far.”
Cassill also credits some of the improvement to his versatility and ability to adjust to new teams. But a big factor for improvement, according to the young driver, is his years of experience at Hendrick Motorsports.
“I’m kind of used to it lately because I haven’t had as solid of a ride,” Cassill said of his team changes. “So, it’s something I’ve been a little bit used to, but it’s my first time learning how to build at team.”
“ I’m really proud to be a part of that and really focused on hoping that people can see that I’m capable of being a progressive driver who can build things and be a positive addition to a race team.”
“I’ve also got five years of experience testing with Hendrick Motorsports and working with the 48 team,” Cassill said. “So, that’s where I’ve learned a lot about this sport.”
“I’m not anything special but I’ve absorbed what I’ve learned,” Cassill continued. “I try to apply a lot of those fundamentals to the team that I’m on and there’s a lot of experience over here that applies to that.”
“We’re all coming together.”
Cassill credits one other factor, his physical conditioning, for his improvements so far in the season and his hopeful improvements at Dover. He also credits his mental focus with the upswing in his performance.
“When I’m home, I work out and prepare for the next week and get focused for my job,” Cassill said. “We are professional athletes, so there’s an absolute requirement for strength and conditioning.”
“I don’t think for a second that you could be out of shape and do this,” Cassill continued. “I do a cross fit type training and I work out for about an hour and a half every day.”
“I’ve got a trainer from Iowa and he sends me work outs,” Cassill said. “Him and I communicate daily on the workouts.”
“I have a gym where I live and a full gym at home and I spend a lot of time there.”
“The mental training is something that I’ve dabbled in but mental strength comes naturally,” Cassill said. “It’s something that I feel really confident in, probably more than even my physical strength.”
“I’m pretty competitive so when it comes down to it, you do whatever it takes.”
Another important component of Cassill’s on track performance improvement is his relationship with his teammate Travis Kvapil.
“Travis is a great teammate,” Cassill said. “He’s a good driver and a really good guy.”
“He’s good to work with, gives good feedback and knows what he is talking about because he is familiar with these cars,” Cassill continued. “I’ve learned a lot working with him.”
“I think all four of us, both crew chiefs and both drivers, are very compatible,” Cassill said. “We all communicate very well.”
Cassill is definitely looking for improvement at Dover in the FedEx 400 benefiting Autism Speaks. But he acknowledged that the mile track really can be a monster, demanding constant focus and attention.
Cassill has three Cup starts at the Monster Mile, with his best finish of 30th.
“Dover is one of the most fun race tracks,” Cassill said. “It’s a good one and I have a lot of laps here.”
“You’ve just got to be there all day and outlast the competitors,” Cassill continued. “You’ve got to race the race track for a long time.”
“I’d really like to see us running 25th or better,” Cassill said. “I think that’s a realistic expectation. Another top-20 finish would be phenomenal.”