A year ago, Grace Community grad C.J. Fambrough was a rear tire changer on the Hooters ProCup racing tour. This past weekend, he hit the big-time, taking part in his first NASCAR Busch Series race in Mexico. He admitted, that he let that thought slip into his mind.
"I guess a little bit before the race when you look around and there's thousands of people surrounding you and looking down screaming, yelling and having a good time ready to watch a race," Fambrough recalled. "You kind of think about it a little bit there but, really, once the race starts, you go into business mode, and you just do your job."
Fambrough spent the opening week of the season watching from the other side of the wall. But in Mexico City, it was his turn to shine.
"Really I just kept telling myself that it's the same as practice," Fambrough said. "We prepared hard every week for the race, and it was just what I had expected. I did just what I did in practice and it worked out great. We had two good stops. It was pretty exciting."
He and the rest of his pit crew performed so well for the #18 chevrolet, they had driver Brad Coleman in 8th place with 21 laps to go. But a blown transmission ended their day early.
"It was pretty dissapointing," Fambrough said. "Brad was running times right with (race winner) Juan (Montoya) and (5th place finisher Scott) Pruett and (runner up) Denny (Hamlin) up there. It just didn't work out for us. He came across the radio with just 20, 21 laps left, and said the transmission was gone. It was pretty dissapointing, but things like that are going to happen. We've got two more road courses this year, so we'll have another shot at it."
With his successful debut, Fambrough's confidance level is through the roof, confirming to him, he belongs with the big boys.
"You always wonder until you actually do it," Fambrough said, "Will I be able to perform on raceday when it comes down to it. To go from the Hooters Pro Cup series which I did last year, to the Busch Series is a huge difference, way more competitive. To move up that fast, it was kind of, wow, I'm glad they think I can do it, and they see that I can do it. Sometimes it takes yourself actually doing it that yeah, I'm here, I'm here to stay, and I'm going to have a good career as long as I stay healthy."
It's a long season, but C.J. said he's got April 14th circled on the calendar. That's when the Busch Series comes to Texas Motor Speedway.