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From South Florida to NASCAR

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Posted: Friday, August 4, 2017 1:45 am

Locals make motorsport journeys

   For NASCAR drivers, there are a plethora of variables that affect their performance during the course of a race when they are vying for a win. And though drivers are the ones who are recognized with the majority of the glory when they park their car in Victory Lane, there is an entire racing team behind the scenes who plays a significant role in the triumph.

   On a racing team, there are dozens of people who contribute to the performance of a car every weekend. From the owner to the crew chief, the engineers and the pit crew, everyone on the team has to work well together in order for the team to thrive.

   Just like any other sport, there is a lot of talent, skill and knowledge that individual needs to have if they want to be successful at their job. So for those who have been lucky enough to be a part of a racing team, it is because they are one of the best in the sport at what they do.

   Of the numerous drivers in NASCAR history, there are a few from South Florida who have gone on to compete in one of NASCAR’s three national series – Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series, NASCAR XFINITY Series and NASCAR Camping World Truck Series. The most famous amongst the group is 1983 Monster Energy Series champion and three-time Daytona 500 winner Bobby Allison. Allison was part of the famed “Alabama Gang,” alongside brother Donnie, and friend Red Farmer, all of who grew up in Hialeah. The “Alabama Gang” took NASCAR by storm in the 1960s and ‘70s and ultimately helped set the stage for other drivers in the South Florida area who also had dreams of competing in NASCAR.

   West Palm Beach native Blake Koch, who drives the No. 11 car in the XFINITY Series, is probably the most popular. The seven-year veteran had the most success during his 2016 season where he advanced up to the Round of 8 in the XFINITY Series Playoffs. From the west coast of the state, Ross Chastain of Alva has been competing fulltime in the XFINITY Series since 2015 and most recently ran his first-ever Monster Energy Series race at Dover International Speedway in June.

   Aside from drivers, there are several behind-the-scenes contributors with South Florida ties who are currently playing a valuable role in their respective organizations. In fact, there is a group of locals who are competing at NASCAR’s highest level – the Monster Energy Series.

   Joey Meier, who serves as both the race spotter and the airplane pilot for Brad Keselowski, was born and raised in Hialeah. Growing up, Meier spent much of his time at the race track attending his father and grandfather’s races at Hialeah Speedway. Meier has utilized those experiences since he moved to NASCAR in 1997 and has found a quite a bit of success.

   In his career, Meier was instrumental in Martin Truex Jr.’s 2004 and 2005 XFINITY Series championships under the Dale Earnhardt Incorporated banner. When Meier

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