Pendleton Repeats As Columbus Champ
Busch Team Adds Second Car For 2014
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. — Chad Pendleton repeated as Columbus (Ohio) Motor Speedway’s Late Model division champion in 2013, but placed second to Bobby Justus in the state point race. He won both NASCAR Whelen All-American Series titles in 2012.
The comparison of the two seasons now motivates Pendleton to excel in 2014. His team expands this year with the intent of again being a factor in the track and state point races. They’ve been racing fulltime at Columbus and making about three starts a year at Kil-Kare Raceway in Xenia, Ohio.
“Everything we did at Kil-Kare in 2012 turned out good. Everything we did in 2013, we fell flat on our face,” Pendleton said. “We set a goal to finish every lap of every race. We really struggled the second half of the season.”
Bobby Justus won his first state championship in 2013 with Pendleton finishing 22 points behind. Pendleton, 33, of Grove City, Ohio, won the Columbus title over six-time track champion and 2009 state titlist Donnie Hill, and Justus.
Pendleton’s overall racing record for the season included four wins, 15 top-fives and 19 top-10s in 21 starts. His finishes of fifth, eighth and 14th at Kil-Kare and a season low of 16th at Columbus diluted his chances in the state point race.
“Using one car to race at both tracks is challenging,” Pendleton said. “They’re completely different, and you don’t want to wreck your car Friday and need to race it Saturday.”
Kil-Kare is a .375-mile irregularly shaped, variably banked track. Columbus is a circular third-mile slightly banked oval.
Pendleton’s car owners Gary and Connie Busch are providing a solution to the dilemma this year. They purchased an additional car, a 2010 Hamke chassis. Plans call for the new car to be raced fulltime at Columbus and the 2009 Lefthander raced with greater frequency at Kil-Kare.
“I’ve driven for Gary and Connie since 2006 and we’ve won at least one race every year,” Pendleton said. “We committed the funding to go racing the right way three years ago and we’re stepping up again. We hope we can have a better outcome in the state point race this year. The level of competition at Columbus is as strong as I’ve seen it in years. People are dedicated to their racing programs.”
Pendleton will be reducing his already part-time Modified division racing at Columbus this year. His Modified car owner Steve Scott has added a NASCAR Late Model to his stable. The new ride and possibly a driver new to the division will get more of Scott’s attention. Modified team members include Tim Scott and Gary Franks. Gary Busch is crew chief for Pendleton’s Late Model. Crew members include Chad Webb, Nick Brown and Connie Busch. Sponsors include Shamrock Towing, Joe’s Automobile Repair and Sports On Tap.
Pendleton began his career as a four-year-old in Quarter Midgets and worked his way through Dwarf cars. He got his first NASCAR license at age 16 and was rookie-of-the-year in the Sportsman division. He competed in Modified and Late Model events around the state until he joined the Busch team in 2006.