After having a solid rookie campaign behind the wheel of a Pro Late Model, Billy Schwartzenburg is set to return once again to the APC Auto Parts United Late Models of Ontario Tour Presented by Grisdales Auto Parts in 2016. With the rookie campaign behind him, the youngster feels that this year will be easier in having that experience under his belt.
“When your running against the best drivers in the province the competition competent never gets easier,” he said. “I’m really hoping the added experience from last year can put us in victory lane for 2016. After a few solid runs in 2015 we have a good shot going in to this year. We came out of the gate strong and I think proved to everybody we were there to win. I’m hoping we can do the same thing this year.”
After winning a couple championships in the mini stock ranks, Schwartzenburg made the jump up to the late model division for 2015. Right out of the gate, he caught the eyes of many, with some strong qualifying efforts. The Spira Racing driver was able to have some strong runs along the way, posting four top-10s en route to finishing eighth in the series standings. Looking back on the season that was, he admits that it was a huge learning curve.
“We spent most of the year trying to figure out the car,” he commented. “But we were still quite successful with a few top-five qualifying runs and a few top-10 finishes. The off-season was about getting more familiar with the car and gearing the crew up for what has the potential to be a good year for all of us.”
While last year marked Schwartzenburg’s rookie campaign in a late model, it also marked the inaugural season for the APC Late Model tour. Boosting full fields across the province in each of the scheduled events, Schwartzenburg says he was blown away by the tour from day one.
“The APC team managed to turn a dying series into a huge field of extremely competitive cars,” he said. “They are doing a great job with this series and I know it’s only going to get better from here. Seeing sponsors, tracks and teams working together is what we need in a series.”
The 2016 season will once again see Schwartzenburg and team visit multiple tracks across the province, though the one that he is looking forward to the most would be Sauble Speedway. The excitement comes as a result of winning the Mini Stock Championship in 2014.
“I’m excited to run it in the Late Model as I was disappointed when the only scheduled APC race got rained out last year,” he said. “Another bonus is that my car owner Ken Spira has sponsored the July race at Sauble, It’s also my dad’s birthday so that would be an amazing win to pick up.”
He added that the season opener at Sunset Speedway is also on his radar, based on having a strong run there last season.
“I had my best run at Sunset so I am looking forward to getting a strong start to the season as well,” he commented.