Following racing from a young age with his dad, Marty Monette never took his shot behind the wheel till he was in his 30s.
“I met some guys that had a car. They embraced me – Brandon and Drew took me in – and I thought, ‘What the hell? I’ll give it a shot,'” Marty Monette recalled for Short Track Musings. “It was later on though, as I said 30s that we went down this road. It’s been an interesting ride.”
After spending all the laps he has ran behind the wheel of a thunder car, though, this year will bring a new challenge as he is set to drive a Craig Ellis-owned, Brian MacDonald prepared modified with Al McCaughey calling the shots as the crew chief.
“I mean, it’s a bit of an unknown for me,” Monette said. “Getting into a modified is a completely different animal than I am used to. First and foremost, I can’t thank Craig enough for giving me the opportunity. I can’t express that enough. There’s not too many guys out there that are willing to put up the money for somebody else to drive their stuff. I’m just really thankful.
“I’m looking forward to it. I’m looking forward to racing some different people, like Gary McLean. I’ve always followed him so interesting to see how you stack up against a guy of that talent. Raced a bit with Luke (Gignac) – always a good runner. Gary Elliott will make a couple appearances – never raced against him, so that should be cool. I’m just entering the year with an open mind and hoping everything works out for a good year.”
Going into the year, Monette is keeping his goals in check, but feels with seat time over the season that he can be competitive.
“I know that racing is money oriented and I think the money is being spent in the right places and I think when it comes down to the driver, once I get some seat time, I think we can run top-five,” he said. “Maybe that’s a lofty goal, but I’m really hoping to keep the wheels on it and having some good finishes.”
Currently, the team plans on running with the OSCAAR Modified tour this season, which will include trips to Peterborough Speedway, Sauble Speedway, and others. Though for Monette, the biggest excitement comes in the form of the series’ return to Kawartha Speedway.
“I’ve never raced there – practiced there once in the thunder car and loved it,” he said. “So really looking forward to going back and seeing the speed we can generate in the mod there. Varney (Full Throttle Motor Speedway) should be interesting. Don’t have the greatest track record at Flamboro, but will probably be interesting there. But Kawartha is pretty much where I’m thinking I will have the most fun.”
The team has sponsorship already in place, which includes Paul Sadlon Motors, Barrie Pixels and Prints, Orillia Stone Creek Contracting and Barrie Tire Depot Barrie.
In the past, Monette has proven himself behind the wheel, picturing up victories behind the wheel of a thunder car across the province. If everything comes together this year, though, perhaps a victory could rival his most memorable career moment, which happened virtue of a invitational victory at Barrie Speedway.
“We struggled so much at Barrie Speedway when we ran there two full seasons,” Monette recalled. “We went back when we were running full-time at Sunset Speedway for a special show and ended up winning. It was sweet coming back and putting those troubles behind that – and beating a guy like Jim Belesky who had them covered there. At that time, it was him and Rick Walt that had everybody covered, and we managed to come from the back. Jim and I still joke around about it still and who was cheating more that night.”