Once the 2021 season had concluded, I had the opportunity to sit down with Myatt Snider to discuss his life and career until that point. It had just been announced that Myatt would leave Richard Childress Racing and drive full-time for Jordan Anderson Racing in the following season.
Following Myatt’s season throughout the year, both at home and sometimes at the track, I knew that due to the astounding ups and downs Snider and his team went through in 2022, there was undoubtedly a story to be written. However, upon speaking with Myatt, my initial idea of writing a near-simple year-in-review piece did no justice to what the driver had told me. I learned that through the horrifying wrecks, near wins, and fist fights, at the heart of it, all lay the story of one team, just happy to be there, but perhaps more importantly, just happy to be there with one another.
Snider first got together with his new team in a casual setting. He and the members of Jordan Anderson Racing gathered together at Topgolf for a bit of fun.
“I didn’t have much of a swing,” Myatt admitted honestly, “but it was more so about building a relationship with those guys.”
Building a strong bond came quickly for Snider who told me, “I could tell they were a fun group from the get-go.”
It was safe to say that Myatt’s confidence, as well as the team’s confidence, was high heading into Daytona, and rightfully so. Hence, Myatt had a fast car and was able to escape most of the carnage that had amassed during the Xfinity Series opener.
However, the final laps overshadowed the team’s performance entirely, as Myatt was caught up in a horrifying wreck. Fans breathed a sigh of relief at home and at the track when Snider walked away from what very little remained of his car.
“We started off Daytona with quite a bang… obviously. No need to go into detail there.”
After the events of Daytona, Snider and crew soldiered on, and it seemed as though luck was not on their side. Speed alluded the #31 Tax Slayer Chevy for the next three races, the team not being able to even break into the top twenty.
That all changed at Atlanta, where with just three laps remaining, the possibility of earning the team’s first win seemed to be closer than ever, but luck was once again not on Snider’s side, as he spun in front of the field after contact with Riley Herbst.
Things finally started turning around at COTA, where Snider finally was able to have a solid run, not marked by disaster, finishing in sixth place. However, the high quickly faded away as April was full of one struggle after the other.
Talladega gave the team their second top-10 of the season, but from there on out, it seemed like a never-ending chain of problems.
But Myatt and the team still had yet to lose hope, “It was frustrating, but I think the team was learning as much as I was.”
A glimmer of hope shined brightly when Snider and his team arrived in Portland under gray skies.
While other drivers in the field may have dreaded running the road course in the rain, Myatt was not one of them, “I have long had a love for racing in the rain. To me, it’s the truest equalizer in all of motorsports. The engine doesn’t matter as much, and the car doesn’t matter as much. All that matters is your knowledge as a driver.”
Although Myatt’s ideology may not align with that of others, it is one that seemed to work for Snider at Portland. After starting at the rear of the field, brought on by a brake issue, Myatt slowly and methodically worked his way through the field, into the top-10 by the start of stage two. With a newly brewed momentum, by the end of stage two Snider found himself battling with Andy Lally, in contention for Jordan Anderson Racing’s first stage win as a team.
“Never did I think in my career would I get to race for a stage win with Andy Lally.”
After being able to hold off the likes of an esteemed road course racer like Lally for restart after restart, it seemed more and more likely that Snider was en route to securing his second career win. After leading a majority of the laps in the second half of the race, it came down to one final restart between Snider and A.J. Allmendinger, the latter of whom would go on to take the win, leaving Myatt to settle for second after a dominating performance.
Although a win was not in the cards for Myatt and his team, he seemed to be more than content with how everything ended up regardless, “I can’t really complain with how the race ended up,” he said reflecting back on it now.
“It was the most laps we had led all year, and the team’s first stage win. I felt like it was one of the best races I’ve ever run. Still, it left me hungry.”
The second half of Snider’s season as he described it, “Unfortunately, was mostly dominated by abysmal luck.”
After a stellar performance at Portland, the rest of Snider’s season played out like one big misfortune after another. At Nashville, speed lacked and the following weekend at Road America, Snider found himself caught up in the mess of Noah Gragson and Sage Karam, where Myatt ran from his own damaged vehicle to that of Brandon Brown’s to assist in making sure his competitor was alright.
There forward, the following six races were a toss-up between slow runs, two wrecks, and even a few finishes inside the top-20. And then came the long-awaited return to Daytona, for the first time since the team’s big wreck at the start of the season. Despite any possible fears Snider may have experienced upon returning to the superspeedway, he didn’t let them bother him for too long as he approached the race like any other.
However, the race played out much rather like a joke, than an actual race, “Daytona was almost comical with how many times I was up in the lead pack and got spun, I think I got spun four times!”
Myatt, not having had luck or much speed on his side all year, was beginning to feel the pressure of the miserably misfortunate second half of the season.
“Finally, I was at my wit’s end when we went to Kansas,” Myatt expressed, as he reflected back upon how he was starting to ponder the reasons behind all that was going wrong.
“I was starting to wonder what was wrong. I was getting that brand of superstition that racing people typically get, ‘Am I living right?’ ‘Did I walk under a ladder or break a mirror?’, and it was frustrating.”
Problems continued through Texas, the Roval, and into Las Vegas, where the strain of things continued to be felt by not only Snider but undoubtedly the entire team.
“At Vegas, we had legitimately, the fastest car on an intermediate all year…” but speeding on the final green flag stop put an end to the team’s hopes, “… That hurt almost as bad as Portland.” Through it all, Myatt’s team remained by his side which he attests is, “What helped me not totally lose my mind.”
The rest of Myatt’s season was frankly vacant of much to note, aside from a top-20 performance at Martinsville, and a scuffle with Austin Hill, (an incident I chose to not question Myatt about).
Snider and team concluded their season with four top-10 finishes, 13 top-20 finishes, and an 18th-place points finish. To some, on paper, Snider’s season may seem like a disappointment (at least maybe statistically), however, I don’t believe Myatt would refer to it that way.
“Wow, that last half of the season sounded miserable!” Myatt joked with me, “But it wasn’t… though we had our fair share of struggles as a team, we had that camaraderie. We always had fun at each race, whether we were running second at Portland, or damn near 30th at the first Vegas race.”
After reconnecting with Myatt, after our initial interview, I intended to write an ordinary year-in-review piece on the driver’s season. However, after our conversation, I saw that a greater story lay between the lines of chaotic crashes and heavy blows.
Though the entirety of Jordan Anderson Racing’s season in the Xfinity Series, read like one misfortune after another, the team never lost faith, never gave up on one another, and always had fun by just simply being a team.
Snider’s plans for 2023, as of writing this, have yet to be announced to the public, although it was already confirmed Snider would not be returning to Jordan Anderson Racing next season, “As far as my 2023, I cannot make a comment yet. But it’s in the works!”
Whether or not Snider was or wasn’t returning to Jordan Anderson Racing in 2023, however, the familial bond and love Snider has for the team reigns on strongly. I tried my hardest to come up with the perfect closing statement for this piece, one that both summed up the season, and perfectly translated the bond of Snider and his team, but Myatt put it best, “Overall, I think it was one of my most fun NASCAR seasons to date… and I would do it again in a heartbeat.”
Featured photo from Pat Vallely.