For the first time in Myatt Snider’s NASCAR career, he has some stability. He knew that last December, when Richard Childress Racing announced him as the full-time driver of the No. 2 Chevrolet in the Xfinity Series.
Splitting time between RCR and RSS Racing/Reaume Brothers Racing a season ago was a challenge. And though he put a full season together, picking up a pair of top-five finishes in eight starts with RCR, there was no consistency. That made a full-time deal, with the championship-winning team from two seasons ago with Tyler Reddick, very important.
“It makes things a lot more simple, rather than having to go back and change your expectations every week,” Snider told Jayski.com at New Hampshire Motor Speedway. “Also just having that camaraderie with the same group of guys is really important to me. I couldn‘t think of a better group of guys to do it with.”
Snider’s 2021 season started off with a respectable seventh-place finish at Daytona International Speedway. But in the third race of the season at Homestead-Miami Speedway, the No. 2 broke through and drove into victory lane. Snider was able to capitalize on others misfortunes, including Noah Gragson wrecking from the lead with less than a handful of laps remaining in the race.
The No. 2 team held off some of the series’ best, including Brandon Jones, Daniel Hemric, Jeb Burton and Austin Cindric for the overtime victory. Originally, Reddick, driving for Our Motorsports, crossed the finish line in second, but was later disqualified.
“It was really important, honestly,” Snider said of the win. “That was really cool for me, personally, to reaffirm that I‘ve got a reason for being here. It shows to everybody that this team still has speed.”
Andy Street, crew chief of the No. 2 Chevrolet, echoed Snider’s thoughts. Especially not knowing how the rest of the regular season would play out.
“We started out the year thinking we just needed to find our way to finish fifth to 10th every week,” Street stated. “If we start finishing that and getting those consistent finishes, then we could try to work on getting a consistent top five and working towards that win. The win came much earlier than we anticipated.
“But it‘s a good thing that we won, considering the situation that we‘re in now.”
Since winning at Homestead, the No. 2 team has shown flashes of speed with a multitude of inconsistency. That’s rare for a team with the capability of RCR.
So much so that with seven races to go in the regular season, Snider would be sitting on the cutline — and is behind Michael Annett who has missed the last two events — had it not been for the Homestead victory.
“It‘s been very frustrating because we‘ve had a lot of speed,” Snider said of his misfortunes. “Even when we‘re in position to get a good finish, random stuff will happen that‘s out of our control. That‘s the kind of thing that makes you stronger. If we take all those lessons learned into the playoffs and keep our speed up, I think we‘ll be alright.”
Through 19 races, Snider has accumulated just five top-10 finishes, with his solo top five coming via the Homestead win.
Fortunately for the No. 2 team, it has shown speed. Earlier this month at Road America, Snider was running towards the front when he came across the nose of Harrison Burton’s car with seven laps to go, triggering a 10-car pileup. A few weeks earlier at Texas Motor Speedway, he was running in the back half of the top 15, but was turned by Josh Berry with 11 laps remaining.
Those two incidents, in particular, stand out as frustration for the driver.
“It‘s just part of the Xfinity [Series] and stuff that you just roll with the punches,” Snider said. “We‘ve had speed pretty often, so I‘m not worried in the slightest.”
Danny Lawrence, RCR Xfinity Series Director, said the No. 2 team has tried different tactics, hoping to improve its performance come September.
And Lawrence has seen the potential of what Snider and the team are capable of.
“Since Myatt and our team won in just the third race of the season, we‘ve had the ability to test things and try different strategies to hopefully put us in a better position when it comes down to the playoffs,” he said. “Our team has had speed throughout the season, but there was a stretch of races that we didn‘t have the results we deserved. When you are running inside the top-10 and then something happens outside of your control, it is frustrating.”
However, being just one of five full-time Xfinity Series teams to have won in 2021 takes some of the sting away. In a way, it offsets the streak of bad finishes.
Now Snider is looking ahead to the postseason, knowing he doesn’t have to worry about making it in on points.
Snider said, “We‘re in the playoffs. We‘re good in the first round, we just have to focus on getting to the second round however we can. I think we‘ve got a lot of good racetracks in the playoffs that suit my driving style.”
Both driver and crew chief are confident the No. 2 team can turn it around for the playoffs.
“We‘ve just got to keep doing what we‘re doing and figure out how to execute and complete a race,” Street added. “That‘s what we need to work on. We know how to do that, we‘ve done it. We just have to execute.”
“I‘m very confident in this team,” Snider noted. We‘ve tried a whole bunch of different stuff to try to turn it around. If anything, we‘ve exhausted all of our options, and so if nothing else works we know what we can fall back on.”
Per usual, the ultimate goal come November is being at Phoenix Raceway a part of the Championship 4. Another win sounds nice, too.
But nobody can take the Homestead triumph away from Snider. And the original goal for the No. 2 team was to just win a race this season.
“We‘ve already done almost what we‘ve wanted to do, which is win a race and be contenders,” Snider said. “If we can get another win, that would be icing on the cake. If I can make it to the final four that‘s going to be enough proof to me that I can do this year in and year out.”
In the 16 starts since his Homestead win, Snider has a best effort of seventh, which came in the series’ most recent race at New Hampshire.