By Jason O'Boyd, Staff Writer
Monday, December 3, 2012 —
Wes Herlocker has a new ride.
After serving as a jackman in NASCAR’s Sprint Cup division for Phoenix Racing since 2010, the Locust resident will be doing the same duties for Stewart-Haas Racing next season. He’ll be part of the crew helping Ryan Newman, one of the more recognizable and successful drivers on the circuit.
Newman has 16 career victories, including one this season at Martinsville on April 1. Newman finished 14th in the Sprint Cup standings as the season ended Sunday.
“When I first got into NASCAR, I met Joe Custer (Executive Vice President at Stewart Haas Racing),” Herlocker said. “The opportunity came, and I am ready to take a big job. I trust him and decided to go with them.
“It’s a championship organization. (Driver and co-owner) Tony Stewart is a well-respected guy and he’s good in what he does. I want to be a part of something special.”
Herlocker said he made the decision about a month ago since his current contract was expiring. The SHR shop is located in Kannapolis, so it’ll be an easy drive to and from work for Herlocker.
“I’ll have the exact same job, I’ll just have more pressure with a better team that will contend for wins,” Herlocker said. “The biggest thing is pressure but as far as my duties, they are exactly the same.”
Herlocker said he’ll be off the rest of November and will practice and train at SHR’s shop in December. His contract goes into effect on Jan. 1, just weeks before the start of the 2013 season at Daytona.
“Every time you are on pit road and you go over the wall, everyone is watching,” Herlocker said. “It’s a tryout every week on the track.
“Joe called me three months ago and wanted me to come and do stops with the 39 (Newman) and 14 (Stewart) to see how it’ll work. I’ll get on film, break the times down and meet certain standards. I want to make sure I fit that standard.”