There was one brief moment that Jordan Anderson considered leaving NASCAR to pursue other interests.
The idea ran counter-intuitive to every decision he had made up until that point, but following a stretch of bad luck in 2013 and 2014, he felt it needed to be explored. Anderson first told his parents that he wanted to be a NASCAR driver when he was six-years-old and every subsequent decision reflected that.
Born the son of a property manager and hairdresser, Anderson always had limited resources growing up, but chased his dreams with diligence and unyielding dedication. His father was supportive but told him he would have to work to secure his own fundung and that shaped much of his adult life.
He earned a business and marketing degree from Belmont Abbey College in North Carolina and served as driver, mechanic and public relations concurrently for his much of his professional career in Legends and Late Models.
Like many of his peers, Anderson ended up on the wrong side of several key business decisions and connected with people that didn’t ultimately benefit his career. He was forced to sell his Late Model and it could have pushed him away from the sport he’s sacrificed so much to be a part of.
But he persevered.
“I feel like perseverance is the one word that most describes my entire life,” Anderson said. “Looking back on it, I use to wonder why things would come easier for some other drivers, but it taught me to just put blinders on. It taught me to just focus and do what I needed to accomplish.”
And that’s exactly what Anderson did, eventually making his Truck Series debut in 2014. He was full-time last season, and now Anderson hopes he’s taken another step forward, joining upstart Bolen Racing with long-time friend and fellow South Carolinian Jeff Bolen.
They are joined by the Columbia, South Carolina Tourism Board — meaning all three primary figures of the team are Columbia-bred, an important aspect of their marketing and hospitality strategy.
“It’s definitely an unorthodox sponsor, which I think reflects my career pretty well,” Anderson said. “It works because we’re all from Columbia and we know how to promote our city. It’s a multi-faceted program and we’re going to be able to do a lot of hospitality too.”
On the competition side, Anderson believes he can compete for the occasional top-10 and run around the top-15 on a weekly basis. He also believes that he could shine in restrictor plate and road course events, important as a result of the new eight-team Chase for the Championship.
While he doesn’t expect to compete for a playoff spot in this first season, Anderson doesn’t want to set the ceiling too low either.
“You never really know until you get on the track,” Anderson added. “The caution clock could help us a little bit too. It’s going to change the pit strategy and it could provide elements that play out in our favor.
“For sure, our goal is to make the races. We don’t have a provisional. From there, we’d like to run 10th, and we expect to run around the top-15. We finished 13th last year at Michigan with a short track truck, so anything is possible. I just want to be consistent as a driver, which was something I didn’t fully grasp when I was running short tracks.
“Learning to be more conservative last year really made a difference. If we can just finish the races, a lot of other things will take care of themselves.”
So while Anderson doesn’t expect to immediately compete for wins, simply remaining in the Truck Series and rising up the grid feels like a moral victory for the 24-year-old.
“Even when things were tough, it always came back to being a NASCAR driver. I missed things in school and I sacrificed so much to get here. This makes it all worth it and I know this is what I’m supposed to be doing.”
EMAIL MATT AT firstname.lastname@example.org
FOLLOW ON TWITTER: @MattWeaverSBN
The thoughts and opinions expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of PopularSpeed.com, its owners, management or other contributors. Any links contained in this article should not be considered an endorsement.