For only having a few days’ worth of notice, Burt Jenner made the most of his GRC Lites debut with AF Racing.
A veteran racer of everything from off-road trucks to Lamborghinis, Jenner’s deal came together quickly leading up to the season opener at Memphis International Raceway. Over the course of just a few days, the California native went from planning to watch the race on TV to a member of the field in the #5 Live/United Fiber & Data car, racing alongside veteran teammate Alejandro Fernandez.
“In today’s standards, you don’t get a phone call—you get a text, or a message on Instagram or Facebook, and that’s how it happened,” Jenner explained. “Alejo said we have an opportunity over here and a late cancellation, isthere any way you want to do this? I said Oh my god! This has been on the bucket list since forever—this was always the goal, and finally the opportunity was in front of me.
“I made a few phone calls and sure enough, we got a yes from Live! And good old Bill (Hynes of United Fiber & Data) helps me out. Timing is everything, and I’m just happy to be here.”
After getting acclimated to the car for the first time since a brief offseason test in 2013, Jenner managed to show decent race pace throughout the weekend. After trading the lead with Cole Keatts during the first round of heats, Jenner won the last chance qualifier to ensure that he’d be on the main event grid on Saturday afternoon.
“The test was three years ago, so everything I learned in those six laps I have longed since forgotten,” he laughed. “I felt extremely green showing up. I hit a few things, but not bad enough to take me out of the race. There’s a lot of talent here, but I haven’t made a fool of myself yet.”
Now that he’s finally landed his first GRC Lites ride, Jenner has no plans to go anywhere else anytime soon. Having landed with one of the most experienced teams on the grid, he’s working toward cementing his spot in the field.
“This has always been a series that I’ve had my eye on,” he added. “As you can imagine, sponsorships are difficult to come by. To time that with an open seat and a good team is extremely difficult. But this fell together like some do almost effortlessly. You can spin your wheels forever and try, get nowhere, and then times like this happen.
“I’m going to run with this as far as I can go. I’m still hunting the dream, and I’m not going to let the dream die. As long as the sponsors are happy and I don’t make a fool of myself, I’m having a blast!”
GRC Lites Memphis airs Tuesday, May 2 at 5PM ET on the NBC Sports Network.