Considering he starts last Sunday afternoon at Watkins Glen, by RC Enerson’s logic, there is nowhere to go but forward in his NASCAR Cup Series debut.
“Obviously, I want to do the best I can, but I think I’m going to approach it the way I did the Xfinity (Series) race — take the first stage, learn the car, take small bites out of it and make sure I know what I’m doing,” Enerson said. “Then from Stage 2 on, actually be able to go out and race with these guys.”
Enerson finished 20th in his NASCAR debut last season in the Xfinity Series race at Road America. For Sunday’s Go Bowling at The Glen (3 p.m. ET, NBCSN), Enerson will compete in the Cup Series race driving Rick Ware Racing’s No. 15 Chevrolet.
“I think it’s going to be a lot of fun,” Enerson said. “I did the Xfinity race kind of in the same manner; I didn’t get any practice or qualifying, so it was definitely a little shock to the system because I’d never driven a stock car before. And this one (for the Cup Series) is completely different; it’s a lot more advanced. It’s actually got the digital dash and everything, so it’s going to be maybe a little more familiar, but it’s kind of jumping into the deep end of the unknown.”
Enerson’s background is in open-wheel. A winner in Indy Lights, Enerson, now 24, attempted to make the Indianapolis 500 earlier this year but failed to qualify with Top Gun Racing.
Enerson said he’s always enjoyed watching NASCAR road course events, and it’s where he feels the most familiar with experience in the Road to Indy program. Watkins Glen is also not unfamiliar to Enerson as he finished ninth at the track in his first visit there in 2016 with IndyCar. It was his second start in the series.
“It was a pretty good experience, so I know the track really well,” Enerson said. “I know half the track we won’t be running because they (NASCAR) don’t run the boot, which is probably my favorite part of the track, so that stinks, but I’m excited. I love the track, the area, and it’s a pretty iconic track, so it’s always fun to go back.”
— Elite Racing League (@EliteRacing_) June 3, 2021
While Enerson takes part in iRacing, he says he doesn’t use it as a tool before a race. He thinks it can give a driver a false sense of reference points and grip because the feeling is only coming through the wheel and pedals, and not the driver’s body as the sensations of a real car would. Enerson plans to look at onboard cameras to be confident about the course layout in preparation for Sunday.
“It’s a cool opportunity, and I’m excited to do it,” he said.
Enerson hopes Watkins Glen also will pave the way to more NASCAR opportunities in the future.
“It’s definitely a fun car to drive,” Enerson said. “It’s completely different … than a car like IndyCar.”