After a rough season last year, Josh Stade is set to get back at it this year on the APC Auto Parts United Late Models of Ontario Tour.
“It’s going to be hard going,” he told Short Track Musings. “There’s going to over 40 pre-registered cars, and you’ve got (J.R.) Fitzpatrick, (Dwayne) Baker and (Jason) Hathaway coming into the mix. It’s going to be a lot of good cars; it’s going to be tough.”
Knowing the field he is up against, Stade says the main goal is “just finish the race with the car in one piece,” while “hoping that we save enough stuff and are there for the end of the race.”
With his background at Sauble Speedway, having won the Limited Late Model Championship there this past season, it’s no surprise he’s looking forward to getting there this summer. However, the other track on his radar right now is Sunset Speedway.
“I have a ton of laps around Sunset; I’d like to get a win there,” he said. “Kind of redeem ourselves from last year. We had one of the fastest cars in practice, and then we dropped a valve four laps into the race. I’m looking forward to getting back to Sunset on opening night and getting this thing turning around that track pretty good.”
Certainly the other track which will be on the minds of many is Jukasa Speedway as it’s opens it’s doors this summer in August.
“It’s definitely going to be tough; it’s going to be fast,” he said. “Everybody will have to bring their big boy pants, for sure. So yeah I’ve never personally been there, never seen it, just saw a few pictures here and there and yeah it’ll be tough. We got to get there, test it, shake the car down and see if we can do anything there.”
This past season certainly wasn’t the year the driver of the No. 17 Tiremaster, MEI Paving, APC, Wix Filters, MacDonnell Fuels, Flo ent, Superior Concrete, Modern Fencing, TSS AutoBody Late Model was looking for as he finished 12th in points with just two top-10s throughout the year, highlighted by a fifth at Peterborough Speedway.
“It was tough sledding for us last year,” he said. “We had a lot of bad luck, blew a couple motors and we had a new car so were trying to iron the bugs out of it. It was down on our luck, but sometimes that’s just how racing goes. You have good years where hardly anything happens and then you have years where nothing right will happen. Hopefully we’re past that and we can move on and get top-fives, podium finishes.”
On top of his Pro Late Model program, Stade is also set to run some events behind the wheel of the Limited Late, including a couple events to start the season at Sunset Speedway, followed by the Sauble Speedway points schedule.
“We have a lot of great support as I had every sponsor on that car from last year come back on-board,” he said. “It’s all about molding them. We have a couple that want to go over to the Barrie way and make their businesses go that direction, and yeah really pumped to get going.
“This show is a one of my favourites shows, being at Motorama, ’cause you see everyone’s products, you see the guys you’re racing against and their cars, and I personally get amp’ed up and want to start turning laps.”