Matt Mills – Buckle Up South Carolina 200 Race Preview

Race: Buckle Up South Carolina 200 (147 laps / 200.8 miles) | Race 9 of 23
Track: Darlington Raceway
Location: Darlington, South Carolina
Date & Time: Friday, May 10th | 7:30 PM ET
Tune-In: FOX Sports 1 | Motor Racing Network (MRN) | Sirius XM Ch. 90

No. 42 J.F. Electric / Utilitra Chevrolet Silverado RST
Driver: Matt Mills | Crew Chief: Jon Leonard

– Mills’ Darlington Stats: Matt Mills will be making his first CRAFTSMAN Truck Series start at Darlington Raceway on Friday night. In eight starts with the NASCAR Xfinity Series, Mills has recorded two top-25 finishes including a best result of 22nd place in September, 2020. Last season, he produced finishes of 27th and 28th in the NXS events held at the 1.366-mile track.

– Leonard’s Darlington Stats: Jon Leonard has competed in two prior Truck Series races at Darlington with driver, Stewart Friesen. In 2021, he guided Friesen and team to a strong third-place finish after starting fourth in the fall event. Leonard has also made one start in the Southern 500, noting a 24th-place result with Kasey Kahne in 2018.

– On the Truck: Mills’ No. 42 Chevrolet Silverado RST will race with support from longtime partners J.F. Electric and Utilitra.

– Recapping Kansas: Matt Mills qualified the best out of the Niece Motorsports camp, starting his No. 42 Chevrolet from 15th. Fighting the handling, Mills slipped to 21st in stage one and 22nd in stage two, but from there, the crew was able to get his truck dialed in with adjustments. During a green flag pitstop, Mills was dealt a speeding penalty which ultimately made him lose a lap. He brought the No. 42 home in 23rd in Kansas.

– Points Rundown: Mills gained a spot in the championship points standings following his 23rd-place run at Kansas. Entering race nine of the 2024 calendar, the driver from New Philadelphia, OH is 27th in points, only 11 markers behind Stefan Parsons in 26th and 12 behind Spencer Boyd in the top-25.

– Quoting Mills: How difficult is it to run inches from the wall here in Darlington?

“Darlington will be a new one for me as far as going there in a truck. I’ve got Xfinity starts there, and in those cars, you can be a little bit more aggressive running the wall because the composite body can take more of a beating. So, the truck will be a little more interesting there, I’ll definitely have to watch out for the risk vs. reward for sure.”

– Quoting Leonard: Do you feel that Darlington is one of the toughest races to prepare for in terms of handling?

“Darlington is tough, mainly because the two ends of the track are so different. Turns 3-4 are much slower, and turns 1-2 is a lot more aggressive where you’ve got to run up near the fence. You have options in turns 3-4, you can either run up by the fence or down at the bottom, and there’s been guys that have had success doing it both ways. Tires fall off a lot there, so it’s as much tire conservation and trying to maintain your balance over a long run. It’s a lot on the driver and it’s a lot on the teams to find that happy balance to get the truck to handle well on both ends.”

About Niece Motorsports: 
Niece Motorsports is owned by United States Marine Corps Veteran Al Niece. In 2024, Niece Motorsports enters its ninth season in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series. Niece also owns Niece Equipment, which has for over 40 years provided clients with reliable products at competitive prices. Niece Equipment’s reputation is built on service, integrity and dependability. The company provides water and fuel/lube trucks that are engineered with quality and durability in mind for the construction and mining industry. Follow the team on Facebook and Instagram @NieceMotorsports as well as X @NieceMotorsport.

About J.F. Electric: J.F. Electric is an electrical contractor that provides engineering expertise, backed by construction and installation know-how in a diverse range of service offerings, from utilities and commercial projects, to industrial and telecommunications customers. When having a long family history in an industry, a company not only builds on its knowledge and experience, it takes pride in cultivating a solid understanding of client needs, all the while nurturing strong relationships with its employees. Evolving through five generations of the Fowler family, J.F. Electric has matured into a well-managed and thoughtfully diversified electrical contractor which is poised to continue its growth and expansion into the future.

About Utilitra: Utilitra is a woman-owned firm specializing in utility and technology solutions with a diverse team of specialized professionals. Utilitra is committed to solving their client’s unique challenges, whether one expert or a team of experts is needed. By adapting to the needs of their respective industries, Utilitra has built a range of services for their utility and technology partners.