CONCORD, N.C.— In this week’s edition of #HendrickSummer, finding time to spend outdoors is essential during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race season.
And for some, a weekend trip means packing a fishing rod and finding a pond.
For Florida native and No. 5 engine tuner Billy Fraser, growing up near water and fishing were the highlights of his summers.
RACING AND FISHING
Fraser, born and raised in Jacksonville, Florida, started racing go-karts at road course tracks at a very young age. His family owned a race shop and a local dirt track that permitted him to follow his love for racing.
But racing was not the only thing on Fraser’s mind.
Salt-water fishing and horseback riding were the norm for the engine turner.
“I grew up fishing and I grew up racing and riding horses,” Fraser said. “Those are the three things I did.”
Before Fraser moved to North Carolina, he experienced salt-water fishing at its finest.
“I had a fishing kayak, just rigged up for fishing,” Fraser explains. “You don’t sit down in it, you sit on top of it. It’s got rod holders and a spot on the back for a cooler and you have all your fishing gear in your compartments. It’s pretty nice.”
While kayaking in a salt-water creek was the way to fish in Florida, Fraser took it to another level when he started competing in fishing tournaments at Lake Norman, North Carolina.
OFF THE TRACK AND ONTO THE LAKE
The engine turner travels every weekend with Kasey Kahne and the No. 5 team, but he looks forward to Monday evenings when he can take the competition off the track and onto the lake.
“We fish almost every Monday night that we can in a tournament,” Fraser said.
But Fraser was not always keen on fresh-water fishing.
“I used to hate fresh-water,” Fraser said. “I only fished in ponds, so then once I started fishing in lakes, it got a little more fun.”
Frazer and his teammate started competing in the bass fishing tournament at Lake Norman since March. They meet every Monday and set the fish in a ranger boat at the start of sunset and fish until almost midnight.
And the seven-month tournament gets competitive.
“You are pretty much racing towards your spot, like you know there is fish here, you’re going to get there before anyone else,” Fraser explains about the start of the tournament. “The sooner you can get to the boat ramp the better and the faster the boat the better.”
Fraser and his teammates compete against 30 other fishing boats on the lake and depending on the weather, the fishing technique can become more strenuous.
“From cold weather to hot weather it’s completely different.” Fraser said.
Fish can typically be found deep in the water when the summer heat is at high temperatures. As the tournament heads towards colder weather come fall, the fish will rise towards shallow waters to seek more warmth from the sun.
And the prize of the tournament? Money.
The tournament gives teammates three chances to win a triple-digit prize. The biggest fish, the biggest weight of fish and both combined can lead towards the green.
“We have been close,” Fraser said. “I think we finished second in big fish twice.”
Fraser is happy to call fishing his summer hobby, especially when he can experience fishing at night.
“It’s just you and all you hear is other fishing boats going around and the water is as smooth as glass.”
TEAM STORE SUMMER DISCOUNTS
In this week’s #HendrickSummer guide, you can receive a special discount on a Kasey Kahne No. 5 Farmers Insurance American Salute Hat in both the team store and the online store. To receive 10 percent off your Hat, use the code HENDRICKSUMMER at checkout.
And remember, look for another of #HendrickSummer feature next week for new stories and a brand new discounted item and share with us your favorite summer activities and more using the hashtag #HendrickSummer.