STAUNTON, Va. (WFXR) — Quarantine life for Quin Houff consists of a long to-do list from his wife in his new home in Staunton, Virginia as well as making TikTok videos featuring home workouts and his dog.
“Just been nice to kind of relax a bit because I know once we get going, it’s going to be busy,” Houff said.
Safe to say, Houff is ready to get back inside a car after spending two months at home.
“It’s give us a lot of extra downtime that we didn’t expect, especially this early in the season,” Houff said. “But I’ve been trying to take advantage of it.”
Houff was in the midst of his rookie season in the NASCAR Cup Series, driving for Starcom Racing when the sport shutdown because of COVID19.
“Cup has been a dream come true. By any means, to race any race in Cup, much less be a full time driver this season and have another season lined up for next year,” Houff said.
This season, Houff has made four starts but has yet to crack the top 30. His best finish so far was a 32nd-place showing in Las Vegas in March. Prior to signing with Starcom, Houff made 17 Cup starts last season for Spire Motorsports, finishing in 28th at the Coca Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway.
His 2020 season began by crashing out at the Daytona 500.
“It’s been an adjustment. The cup race is obviously a lot longer, the talent is a lot higher and the pace of the race is a lot faster,” Houff said. “It’s been a challenge up front and learning your new team has provided some challenges.”
The 22-year-old hopes the time away from the track can iron out some of the wrinkles of his first year. Houff got some driving practice in thanks to a simulator installed in his basement by the Richmond-based company, SimSeats.
“I’ve never been a guy that was interested in online racing or SIM racing,” Houff said. “This thing moves with every bump and every action and it’s made me a believer, especially during the quarantine.”
Sunday will mark the first time Houff has ever raced at Darlington. And it’ll also be the first event of a new normal for NASCAR — which will take extra precautions in ensuring the safety of its drivers and their teams.
“The drivers will have masks on walking to the cars before the race and as soon as we get out of the cars after the race,” Houff said.
Practice and qualifying have been eliminated and fans won’t be allowed at races for the foreseeable future. Sunday’s race will be the first of seven to take place in the span of 11 days between Darlington and Charlotte.
Said Houff: “I’m super excited to just get back to racing and get that little bit of normalcy back in our lives.”