Coming out of the gate at Sunset Speedway on opening night, Daniel Montanari started off strong with a solid sixth-place finish in the 25-lap feature.
“Starting off the season with a strong run was huge for me,” he told Short Track Musings. “I wasn’t happy with my finish (eighth) in the first heat. So I told my dad (Rino Montanari) and Shawn (Gerrior) that I was going to go out and win the next one. And that’s what I did. That completely boosted my confidence and I proved to myself that I could run with the best mini stocks in Ontario.”
The strong run marked a solid confidence boost, but also proved the hard work paid off from the winter in putting together a brand new ride for 2017.
“I can’t even count the amount of hours that went into building this car,” he said. “In the fall, it rolled into the garage as a regular street car, and in the spring, it came out as a race ready mini stock. It was many long nights in the shop and I can’t thank everyone that helped out enough.”
The driver of the No. 9 Kenzington Burger Barn/Highway Technology, Loops, Sensors and Control/United Roofing/Permatex entry got his feet wet last year in the track’s starter Mini Stock division – the Mighty Minis, putting together a solid effort with three feature wins and eight top-fives over the course of the season. This year marks a big shift as the track combined the pair of classes together, while going back to a double-heat format.
“I like the double heat format,” he said. “There’s more racing and if you didn’t have a good starting position on the first heat you have a great one in the second. I also think it’s better for the fans as they get to see more racing!”
Now with a solid start to the year, the focus is on keeping the momentum rolling in the weeks to come.
“First I have to learn the car and get used to how different it is,” he commented. “Then I just have to stay consistent and get faster through the corners. I’m really excited to have a great year and drive the wheels off the car!