Truck: No. 04 Preferred Industrial Contractors, Inc. Ford F-150 for Roper Racing
Crew chief: Shane Whitbeck
M&M’s 200 Notes of Interest…
- The Team…Based in Baytown, Texas, Roper Racing fields the No. 04 Preferred Industrial Contractors, Inc. Ford F-150 driven by Cory Roper. The 2018 season marks the team’s first foray into competing in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series and they are slated to run a limited schedule.
- The Driver…While he’s a newcomer to the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series, Roper is no stranger to racing. He grew up watching his dad, Kenny Roper, compete. At the age of 14, Roper got his first racecar and started competing on a local and regional level at short tracks in Texas and Oklahoma. The Vernon, Texas, native now resides in Mont Belvieu, Texas with his wife, Cherie
anddaughters Megan and Britney. Saturday’s M&M’s 200 at Iowa Speedway will mark Roper’s second NASCAR Camping World Truck Series start.
- The Crew Chief…NASCAR veteran Shane Whitbeck serves as crew chief for the No. 04 Preferred Industrial Contractors, Inc. Ford F-150. The Sarasota, Florida, native previously worked at Brad Keselowski Racing for 10 years. Whitbeck is based in North Carolina and consults with the team during the week and serves as crew chief on race weekends.
- It’s a Family Affair…The Roper Racing team is truly a family affair. Roper’s brothers, Chad, Chris and Craig, and brother-in-law, Chad Anderson, are all crew members on the Roper Racing team. With their dad, Kenny, in Iowa for the race as well, they hope to celebrate Father’s Day a little early with a top-10 run on Saturday night.
- The Truck…At the conclusion of the 2017 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series season, Roper Racing purchased three Ford F-150s from the Brad Keselowski Racing stable to compete with this year. For Saturday’s event in Iowa, the team is utilizing the same truck they raced with earlier this season at Martinsville (Va.) Speedway.
- Last Race…Roper Racing’s first NASCAR Camping World Truck Series start came in the Alpha Energy Solutions 250 at Martinsville Speedway in March. Roper started the race from the 17th position and ran as high as 11th before taking home a solid 13th-place finish.
- About Preferred Industrial Contractors, Inc.… Preferred Industrial Contractors, Inc. is a global industrial construction, fabrication and maintenance company, headquartered in Baytown, Texas. The company executes turnkey construction projects from scope development, safety management, project controls, project management, procurement, staffing, fabrication
andconstruction. Preferred Industrial Contractors, Inc. serves the power, chemical processing andrefining industries.
Cory Roper, driver of the No. 04 Preferred Industrial Contractors, Inc. Ford F-150
What are your goals for the weekend?
“We’re looking for a top 10 at Iowa. I’m confident in what we have going into the weekend, not only in myself, but also the team and the trucks we’ve prepared. Iowa is a little outside the realm of tracks I’ve raced at before, but I’ve raced since I was 14 years old and the people we’ve got working on our trucks are the most talented guys I could surround myself with. Between Shane (Whitbeck, crew chief) and the rest of the team, we’re ready for Saturday. A top-10 run is what we’re after. We all feel like we’re going to Iowa with that opportunity. If we can do that, we’ll have a good weekend.”
What have you done to help prepare for your first-ever race at Iowa?
“I’ve put in some laps at Iowa on my iRacing simulator and I’ve used YouTube to watch every lap of racing and qualifying coverage from Iowa that I could get my hands on.”
How do you feel the NT1 engine package NASCAR implemented this season has helped start-up teams like Roper Racing?
“It’s the only way we are here competing in the Truck Series this year. When I first heard about it last year at Martinsville, the wheels started turning in my head. I found out they’re good for about 1,500 miles and that’s roughly 5 to 7 races. Once we looked at the numbers, we realized it would be very possible to move up to the Truck Series from the super late model we’d been racing. Then, I met Jeremy Thompson from BKR (Brad Keselowski Racing) and we were able to buy three trucks from them at the end of last year, so we had great equipment to work with. Without the new engine package, there would not be an opportunity for us to do this, so I think it’s everything.”
Shane Whitbeck, crew chief of the No. 04 Preferred Industrial Contractors, Inc. Ford F-150
What are the challenges of coming in for the race weekend to crew chief a truck you haven’t physically laid your hands on?
“It’s definitely a little different being in North Carolina and having the team be in Texas, but I’ve helped as much as I can over the phone and Cory has a great group of guys working on the trucks in Texas. Once we get to Iowa, I’ll just take 20 to 30 minutes to look over everything to make sure we get started off well for tech inspection and practice.”
What are your goals for the weekend?
“Obviously, I want to build on what we were able to accomplish at Martinsville earlier this season. Cory’s background is short-track racing and he’s never been to a track this big before, so I’m going to do everything I can to help get him comfortable. It’d be great to make the third round of qualifying. As Cory gets more comfortable and, if all goes well, we’ll be looking for a top-10 finish on Saturday night. If we can come home with a solid run like that, we’ll be all smiles.”
What challenges does this weekend’s race at Iowa present?
“Iowa is technically a short track, but with the speeds we run there, the trucks have a tendency to get aero tight in traffic. Cory hasn’t experienced the aero challenges that a driver will face, so we’ll have Ross Chastain helping us out this weekend as a driver coach. My challenge is to have a truck setup that’s balanced really well and make the right strategy calls to keep Cory in clean air as much as possible.”
How do you feel the NT1 engine NASCAR implemented this year has helped start-up teams like Roper Racing?
“I feel like the spec engine NASCAR implemented in the Truck Series has been very positive. It allows Saturday night short-track racers to compete with the established, full time teams that run in the Truck Series.”