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Q&A with NASCAR Nationwide Series driver Danny Efland

By Dion Martorano
Special to NNSracing.com

Twenty-one-year-old Danny Efland has started his own NASCAR Nationwide Series team and will attempt to run the full season this year.

Efland is an engineering major at the University of South Carolina and has a background racing go-karts, Legends Cars and Late Models in the Carolinas.

Q: Can you describe yourself to someone who has never met you before? What are your interests outside of the racetrack?
A: Well you know I am just a regular college student. I go to the University of South Carolina where I have many friends that don’t know much about my racing at all. I have always felt like I had two different lives, my racing life and my normal life. When I do find time spare time I try to hang out with all my old friends. Not much of a partier though.

Q: What would you be doing if you were not in racing? Is racing the only interest you have had?
A: I would be lost without racing to be honest. The sport has helped me keep motivated. Every day I wake up I can’t wait to get back behind the wheel and see what’s around the next corner. I am also a strong believer in education though. Not all dreams come true, so my back up plan is engineering. I don’t call that plan B though; it’s more like plan Z.

Q: What is something people might not know about you?
A: My sister is an Aerospace Engineering grad from Georgia Tech and will be graduating from law school this spring. I like to brag about her.

Q: What is your greatest racing memory?

A: Too many to choose from, but my first great achievement was my entire 1999 racing season in WKA. I won most of the kart races I entered that year. Everything clicked that year, I couldn’t be beaten. Four WKA national championships and four WKA South Carolina championships- in one year! I felt what it was like to be on top and it’s always in the back of my mind that if I can make things click like that again then it is possible to win at any level.

Q: What are the chances for young guys like you entering the sport? Is it harder than people realize?
A: It’s been harder than I first realized so far. As a driver I would love just to get behind the wheel and go race but it’s not that simple. We have a lot of things to take care of before our new team can hit the track. I predict many bumps in the road, but I am prepared to get over them. I decided to do this deal because I had the opportunity to start with good stuff. RCR has helped me every inch of the way as far as the car goes. My equipment will be competitive.

Q: What are your goals for the upcoming season? What will you qualify as a successful season?
A: Things are tough right now, I consider myself very fortunate to be back behind the wheel. My goal is simply to go make races and prove that I deserve to be in the series. A successful season would be five to ten solid races. Right now I am looking at just trying to qualify for California and Vegas.

Q: Can you talk about your team a little? Are they new, who is in charge? What make will it be?
A: My team will be entering a 2010 Chevrolet Impala in all its races this season. We are still trying to get established as a team right now. My dad and I are in charge of all of the operations. I can only afford to bring a few people to the track right now, and even fewer at the shop. If we can make a few races then things will start to improve drastically. I’m looking to move out of my home shop into a bigger shop if things go well out West.

Q: You ran a few races in the truck series last year, do you plan on running more Truck races this season, or are you sticking to the Nationwide Series only?
A: I have no plans outside of my team’s plans right now. I am still for hire however. Our goal is not only to build a team, but to use it to help advance my career.

Q: Who is sponsoring you this season? Can you talk about your sponsors a little?
A: We will have M&W Towing on the car all season. Shred 360 will be back with me for these first two races and hopefully more during the season. Both of these are local companies in Columbia, S.C.

Q: You have been running at the end of nine of your last 12 Nationwide races. How great of an accomplishment is that for you? How hard is it driving for a smaller team while competing against Cup drivers and other well funded teams?
A: It is very difficult to compete against teams of that caliber. My team will be smaller than those I have driven for in the past, but it will hold a lot of potential. Finishing races is a huge accomplishment. It proves to other teams, Sponsors, and NASCAR that we came to race and we did. It’s very tough to run an entire race for a team our size.

Q: What are your views on starting-and-parking? Is it a necessary evil?
A: S&P is a touchy topic. I personally don’t like it, but it is necessary. Small teams simply can’t afford to race every race in full. Sometimes they must S&P to help them ramp up to a race that they will put all their effort and winnings into. We are all racers out there doing what we can to be there, I respect that.