At 30-years old, Landon Cassill isn’t quite old, but he’s also not a NASCAR young gun on the rise either.
In fact, you could argue — with the way the sport is structured — that the clock is running out on the Iowa-native realistically getting a big-time shot in any type of race-winning caliber equipment. If he never gets a chance to showcase what he’s truly capable of in a top-tier ride, it will be a complete injustice.
Even if it’s just for one race, somebody, anybody needs to give Cassill that opportunity. The journeyman driver has more than earned the right at this point.
Friday night, in the Food City 300 at Bristol Motor Speedway Cassill notched his second top-10 finish (10th) of the 2019 NASCAR Xfinity Series season. It was just his eighth start in what has been a weird part-time piece meal season where he runs when somebody absolutely needs him to.
Cassill has served as a spot-duty qualifier/racer for Morgan Shepherd when the field entry count is so high that the No. 89 is in jeopardy of missing the show. Cassill has willed the No. 89 car into the show in all three attempts this season. Hell, Cassill even qualified the No. 89 car in the 13th position at Charlotte and 16th spot in Michigan.
No matter what argument you have for Cassill not deserving top-shelf equipment, those qualifying efforts in Shepherd’s car should certainly change your mind. It’s downright improbable, if not impossible to do what he did in that No. 89 car, which is worked on by Shepherd himself and a handful — or less — of volunteer help.
However, Cassill’s best statistical performances have come while standing in for JD Motorsports’ Ross Chastain in the team’s No. 4 Chevrolet Camaro SS, when Chastain is moonlighting for more competitive outfits.
Driving for this team and this car, Cassill finished ninth at Talladega and 10th this weekend at Bristol.
Not bad, huh?
Well what if I were to tell you that in just four starts behind the wheel of the No. 4 entry this season, Cassill has racked up more top-10s in it than the blue-chip prospect (Chastain) has been able to muster in his 12 starts in the exact same car this season?
Look it up. It’s true.
Chastain has just one top-10 finish in the JD Motorsports ride this season. Chastain’s successes have mainly come in the few events he has driven for Kaulig Racing, where he has a win and two top-10 finishes in four starts.
Remember, the reasoning behind the movement to get Chastain moving up to bigger and better rides like Chip Ganassi Racing, Niece Motorsports in the Truck Series and Kaulig Racing, were based solely on his great performances in an underfunded No. 4 car in the Xfinity Series.
Cassill has done well in that exact same ride this season in spot-duty and it’s as if everyone turns a blind eye toward it.
I’m not saying Chastain doesn’t deserve a top-ride. In fact, I think if Chastain gets lined up with the right team someday, he could be a future Cup Series champion. He’s that good, in my opinion. I’m just simply suggesting that Cassill deserves a good ride, too.
Cassill has shown the raw talent and ability to qualify and race a car past it’s competitive level. He has shown that on more occasions than just the 2019 season. It’s why a few years ago, Cassill was regarded as one of the most talented drivers waiting on a big-time ride. However, that talk has subsided in recent years. It needs to spark back up.
It’s been a decade since Cassill made his Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series debut. In that time, Cassill has driven for a who’s who of mediocrity in the NASCAR.
The teams Cassill has driven for at the Cup Series level are: Phoenix Racing, TRG Motorsports, Max Q Motorsports, Germain Racing, BK Racing, Circle Sport, Front Row Motorsports and now StarCom Racing.
All of these organizations — some you have probably forgotten ever existed — have combined for a whopping grand-total of 51 top-10 finishes in 2,626 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series starts.
Cassill has paid his dues for long enough in subpar field-filler equipment. It’s time to see what he can really do.