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Xfinity Series spotlight: Brennan Poole

NASCAR XFINITY Series Lilly Diabetes 250 - Qualifying

INDIANAPOLIS, IN - JULY 23: Brennan Poole, driver of the #48 DC Solar Chevrolet, stands on the grid during qualifying for the NASCAR XFINITY Series Lilly Diabetes 250 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway on July 23, 2016 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by Bobby Ellis/Getty Images)

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The statistics say it all for Brennan Poole.

Racing has taken him to 25 states and 76 tracks where he’s earned 217 wins while capturing nine championships. Success came in quarter midgets and dirt modifieds, as well as the UARA Series and the ARCA Racing Series.

At 25 years old, Poole now seeks the same success in NASCAR.

Having made the most of his part-time stint in the Xfinity Series in 2015, team owner Chip Ganassi hired Poole to drive the No. 48 DC Solar Chevrolet full-time this year. A Rookie of the Year contender, Poole is on the edge of a Chase berth as he sits seventh in points on the strength of 10 top-10 finishes.

It was a heartbreaker at Talladega Superspeedway in late April, however, when Poole really broke into the spotlight. A tough fight to the checkered flag left Poole sitting at the finish line for five minutes while NASCAR reviewed whether he or Elliott Sadler had won the Sparks Energy 300.

His humility and grace in defeat quickly captured the adoration of many.

A native of The Woodlands, Texas, Poole is one of the most laid-back yet hardest-charging drivers in the Xfinity Series.

NBC Sports: I wanted to start with what has been a noticeable change about you - your hair has been cut short. What happened to the long locks that had become so familiar?

Poole: (laughs) It kept getting in my eyes. The second Iowa race last year it was just driving me nuts. It was in my eyes, and I had my shield open under green, and I was pushing it back in my helmet. I just remember that race being like, all right, I’m not doing this again, and I think I cut it the next week. It wasn’t like a big thing; it was starting to get annoying, so I cut it.

NBC Sports: You have a very successful dirt background, which many look at as an entirely different discipline from NASCAR. Was there anything you carried over to stock cars?

Poole: Running dirt you have this comfort where you’re able to move around and search for things and try things, and you’re not really afraid to move around. In the race, things change, and you have to start searching and find that grip, and that could be the difference in you winning the race or losing the race. I think here, even though it’s not dirt, in a long race more rubber gets laid down in certain places, and you have to move around and try to find that extra grip. That’s the biggest thing for me; I’m able to search bravely.

NBC Sports: How did ‘‘The Bull’’ nickname come about?

Poole: ‘‘The Bull’’ came from me charging to the front from the back all the time. It was just a fan when I was younger calling me that, and my mom heard it in the stands. She was like ‘‘That’s my son!’’ It kind of stuck. I tried to change it for a long time, I didn’t really like it, but it wouldn’t go away, so now I roll with it.

NBC Sports: Your website lists all the places you have been and the success you’ve had. Having traveled that much was there any place, in particular, you got attached to?

Poole: If I won a race or something I’d really like that place. When I first started racing asphalt, I raced UARA, and I raced at Hickory (Motor Speedway in Hickory, North Carolina) a bunch and the first race I drove a stock car was there, so I kind of call that one of my home tracks. It’s where I got my asphalt start and won a lot of races there. Dirt tracks in Texas, too. I grit my teeth on a lot of those places.

NBC Sports: DC Solar, your sponsor, is all about being green, and they’ve become involved with NASCAR in doing that at the track with solar generators and things. What’s it like to have a sponsor like that?

Poole: We have that first ‘green’ cool-down unit; it’s solar powered. I think it’s awesome they’re trying to help our sport be a little bit greener in the areas that they can, and they’re doing some stuff at the race tracks with some solar generators lighting the parking lights or powering stuff around the tracks. Just really cool to see all that stuff.

NBC Sports: The NASCAR Xfinity Series is your current challenge after winning everywhere else you’ve competed along the way. How badly do you want to win here?

Poole: I’ve won in everything I’ve sat in so hopefully we can get it done in the Xfinity Series. I want to move forward and go to Sprint Cup, and I feel like I have to get the job done here first.

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