Cedar Rapids’ Next Big Thing

We know (and know and know) how remarkable it is that a city Cedar Rapids’ size could produce both a Super Bowl MVP and a Masters champion in Kurt Warner and Zach Johnson.

Do these things come in threes?

Landon Cassill, all of 19 years old, has four Top Ten finishes in his last eight NASCAR Nationwide Series starts. He placed 14th in Saturday’s event in Montreal. He won the pole at the Nationwide race in New Hampshire in late June, and had a third-place finish in NASCAR’s Craftsman Truck Series in Milwaukee this summer after starting 23rd.

With very little road-course experience, Cassill qualified 19th for the Montreal race.

Cassill is a development driver running a limited schedule for Hendrick Motorsports, a NASCAR kingpin. The development seems to be going very well.

“Landon Cassill really, really impresses me,” said Mark Martin, the veteran NASCAR star who has been mentoring Cassill. “You don’t realize he’s just a kid. He’s 18 years old. (Martin said this last month, just a few days before Cassill’s 19th birthday). Very impressive young man and he’s shown some great progress in the last three or four races. I think if Rick (Hendrick) gets him some regular seat time instead of irregular seat time, he certainly has potential to be a Cup driver.”

Iowa hasn’t had a regular presence in big-time NASCAR racing in a long, long time.

Warner and Johnson went to Regis High. Cassill went to Jefferson. The west side of Cedar Rapids may just have its own national sports star before long.



2 responses to “Cedar Rapids’ Next Big Thing

  1. Hi Mike,

    Thanks for covering Landon, he finished 14th at the montreal road course race on sat. aug. 2nd. Top Raybestos Rookie finish for the day. Reference http://www.nascar.com Nationwide Series Tab

    Colleen (Landon’s Mom)

  2. Thanks to you, Colleen. It’s already fun watching Landon taking off, and he’s only scratched the surface.

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