With eight top-10 finishes last year, it’s safe to say that Kendra Adams had a solid Sauble Falls Tent and Trailer Park Late Model rookie campaign at Sunset Speedway. Beyond her on-track success though, she made waves off the track with her own television show and continued marketing efforts.
Short Track Musings recently caught up with her to discuss what she has in store for next season.
SHORT TRACK MUSINGS: What are your thoughts going into the year?
KENDRA ADAMS: I haven’t had a lot of time to really think about the upcoming year. I’ve been working on sponsorship for the 2018 season and trying to finalize those. I haven’t had a lot of time to even figure out what my plans are for where and how often I’ll race. We talked about not running for points this year and racing some different tracks; the Great Lakes Concrete series would be cool to run, but with the Thursday night show, that would be tough. I really don’t know what we are going to do.
The schedule is pretty heavy this year. I think it only allows for two nights off over the entire season, so I don’t know if I’ll have the budget or the time to run everything that I want to.
STM: What are your goals and expectations?
KA: Honestly, I don’t have any goals or expectations. Again, I don’t think that I am going to run every night, so I likely won’t run for points in the Late Model Division. I just want to improve every night that I get in the car. It’s only my second season in the Late Model, so just some extra seat time and hopefully have some better finishes; hopefully top 10’s every feature.
STM: We’ve seen some recent changes in the Limited Late Model landscape with the rules. What are your thoughts?
KA: They’ve changed us to a 10 inch tire and apparently we will use less tires with this new package; however, the cost and time associated with changing the car over to accommodate this tire change wasn’t really in my budget for the off season. Between that, rebuilding the built motor and the crate motor, as there is a lot of talk about which will be better with the new tire rule, so we need both, and the extra race weekends, this all plays into the overall budget and therefore why I am not 100% sure what we’ll do for the upcoming year.
STM: What are your thoughts looking back on last year, and becoming the first female NWAAS provincial rookie of the year?
KA: 2017 was an incredible year for me. We made a late decision to move up to the late model after only a year in the super stock. We had some sponsorship come through a few weeks before the start of the season, and the late model was ready to go, so we decided to make the jump. There were four registered rookies for 2017 and I thought we’d have a decent shot at the ROTY, so we went for it.
I led the Rookie of the Year points from opening night and it was an honour to win the award. I am currently the youngest person and only female to win this award for Ontario, so it was a huge deal for me. Clearly the accomplishment that I am most proud of.
STM: What was it like being in Charlotte for the NASCAR banquet?
KA: The banquet in Charlotte was incredible. They do the state and provincial awards on the Thursday night and it was great to have my friends and family there when I was up on stage to receive my award. On the Friday night, they do a dinner and the touring series awards so it was a great experience to be there and see the K&N, Euro, Peak and Pinty’s drivers get their awards as well. Honestly, one of the most amazing experiences that I have ever had. They do it right at the NASCAR banquet for sure.
STM: Where do you feel you need to improve upon from 2017 to be even stronger in 2018?
KA: We struggled with the set up of the car EVERY week. One week we’d hit it and the car would be great. The next week, it would be good for 20 laps and go to junk and other weeks it was just bad all night. This clearly showed in my results. Because I worked a lot last year to save to travel in the US over the winter, and it’s only me and Dad in the shop, we didn’t have a lot of time to put into working on the car. We did the best with what time we had, but unfortunately the lack of time showed in the results.
So, if we can find a way to make more time in the shop, that should help with performance. So, really, where we need to improve the most is by dedicating more time in the shop during the week, but again, my schedule for the summer will be a big determining factor on what we will be able to commit to.
As for on the track, I feel I grew a lot as a driver over the course of the season. My comfort level in the late model is better than I’ve had in any of my previous cars, and that makes a big difference for the driver. Knowing that I had great equipment under me, the best I’ve ever had, knowing I had a competitive car, it helped me to focus on what I needed to do.
STM: You’ve gotten to do a lot of cool things recently. What was it like being part of the Speed51.com production for the Snowball Derby?
KA: Having the opportunity to travel to as many different tracks as possible and see the behind the scenes of everything has been incredible.
I had a great time at the Derby in 2016 and was excited to go with Speed51 to cover the whole week in 2017. I learned a lot, met a lot of great people and had fun. They were long days and a lot goes into the week for Speed51 to bring this amazing coverage to all the fans that can’t attend. For those that are looking for a great race weekend, I recommend the Snowball Derby very highly. It was a great experience and I am thankful to Bob Dillner for the opportunity.
We’ll be heading off to Georgia next weekend and then to Speedweeks in New Smyrna in a couple weeks and I am excited for this. The decision to travel the states for the winter was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made and I am thankful to have had his opportunity. I plan to do it again next winter.