Making his debut mid-season at Flamboro Speedway, Erik Della Riva immediately impressed as he was able to visit victory lane on a pair of occasions before the year was over. He recently took some time to talk to SHORT TRACK MUSINGS about the experience, and more.
SHORT TRACK MUSINGS: What are your thoughts going into the 2018 season?
ERIK DALLA RIVA: Patience and excitement! It’s a long season and I still have a lot to learn being new to the stock car world. However, I know the car is capable of winning races and having the support of Spira Racing behind me is motivating me to make sure I improve on the areas I was lacking in last year.
STM: What are your goals and expectations?
ERIK: I want to be better as a driver, but more importantly I want improve in my weekly preparation and setup of the car because it is a lot different than I am used to. If I can better myself in those areas, I know with the support and sponsorship from Ken and everyone at Spira Racing I can contend for race wins and run consistently in the top 5 each night. After that, the points take care of themselves and hopefully we can be near the top.
STM: Of course, the big story right now is the discussions surrounding the “STOCK” Car Nationals at Flamboro Speedway. What are your thoughts on the event?
ERIK: I can’t wait! The buzz surrounding them has been great to see. Flamboro really stepped up by organizing them and we all owe Rich Schwartzenburg a huge thank you for taking the initiative to go out and bring in the prize money. It is also cool to have one of my main sponsors for the year, SDR Seating, sponsor the pole award.
STM: Giving last year a final glance back, what are your reflections on 2017?
ERIK: Wow, haha. It was a whirlwind for me. I didn’t have any specific plans to go short track racing when the year started but I had always wanted to try it out and potentially make the switch from the road race divisions I was competing in. The timing was right to dive in and I consider myself extremely fortunate that Ken just happened to put the 86 Mini Stock for sale and I was able to meet him and everyone at Spira. I really had no clue what I was getting myself into and they were so gracious dealing with me from the moment I walked into the shop to see the car for the first time.
STM: What’s the biggest thing you can take away from 2017 that you feel will help you in 2018?
ERIK: Realizing that going racing every weekend is a lot of work! I am used to running one race a month, maybe two. Running every weekend means I will have to be much more organized and prepared.
STM: How did you get started in racing?
ERIK: I don’t come from a racing family at all but I always loved watching it on TV as a kid. When I was 10 years old, my dad took me to Cameron Speedway in Hamilton because they had an arrive and drive go-kart class setup for people that didn’t know much about racing but wanted to get involved. It just sort of took off from there! After a few years we eventually got our own kart and then made the transition to cars when I was old enough.
STM: What’s been the most memorable moment of your career to date?
ERIK: That is a tough question to answer. I can look back on a few that were pretty special to me from my time karting and then road racing. But in regards to my limited time short track racing, the first night I raced at Flamboro was pretty memorable. I had some family and good friends come out and watch and getting a second-place finish in the second feature of the night was pretty awesome!