After winning the Great Lakes Concrete Series Super Stock Championship last season, Kris Lawrence is set to move up a step on the racing ladder, tackling the Pro Late Model division at Delaware Speedway.
“This year is shaping up to be a really good season,” he told SHORT TRACK MUSINGS. “It will be a little different for me going back to a weekly program since I have spent the past few seasons running part time when i could. The Great Lakes Series was ideal for our team last year being a limited schedule, but still hitting some big races and two really fun tracks (Sunset Speedway and Sauble Speedway) to race at.”
Being that it is his rookie campaign, the goals are remaining realistic with a focus on finishing every race that he runs this season, with hopefully a trip or two to victory lane.
“In past seasons, a DNF puts a sore spot on a season and I was fortunate in my super stock to finish all the races,” he commented. But I feel like I let some good finishes slip away because I couldn’t finish a race for whatever reason.”
Lawrence’s dive into the Pro Late Model program comes at a great time, with the division seeing a rise across the province between Delaware Speedway, Flamboro Speedway, and the APC Series.
“I think the PLM division is really interesting right now,” he commented. “The APC series is doing an awesome job and is looking like it will have a really strong field this year. Right now several tracks have similar rules and I think it’s going to be good for growing the division. A lot of people are building new cars which means there is a lot of good equipment up for sale for people to move up.
“I was actually looking to move into more of a Limited Late Model and see how things went. But with tracks getting on board with the APC rule package or similar variations and the big Jukasa (Motor Speedway) show, Pro Late Model was the way to go. PLM is definitely the top division/car I have ever competed in so I’m hoping 10 years in a super stock will give me a good starting spot.”
While the Late Model program will be primarily focused on at Delaware Speedway, there is a chance you will see Kris Lawrence at other tracks across the province, as he hopes to travel with the bone stock.
“I would like to try and make it to a couple different tracks this season,” he commented. “I haven’t even made it to Peterborough to watch a race so hopefully Autumn Colours is on the list this year, even just as a spectator. I haven’t ever raced at Full Throttle (Motor Speedway) mainly because of the haul, so may possibly make a trip.
“The last track I would like to race is dirt, no specific track just never raced on the dirt so I think that’s something worth trying.”
His team acquired a pair of Colbalts at the end of the 2018 campaign to build into bone stocks, with cages installed as of right now. There is a possibility one of those cars will be built into a mini stock so Lawrence can run some of the bigger shows this season.
“I would like to travel with my late model, but I think tires will be a big factor this season just because of how many more races are in the schedule for this year,” he added. “I will likely travel to a few tracks with a Bone Stock car, and I will have to find something to make sure I get on track at jukasa again this year.
“I will be following the APC (Series) tour as a crew member this season, but the series definitely brings out a strong field and I wouldn’t mind throwing my hat in that ring once I get some seat time in the car. At the end of the day, sponsors and crew will limit what all I end up racing. Going from part-time to full-time has really made it clear running competitively with only my mom for crew and next to no sponsors isn’t going to work this year so we are still in the process of working on that.”
As noted, Lawrence is coming off an impressive season that saw him win the Great Lakes Concrete Series Super Stock Championship with consistency across the six events, highlighted by a victory at Sunset Speedway in September.
“The series had some really great racing and I was glad to be a part of it,” he commented. “I just wish more of the big contenders were able to run it full time. Each race had a lot of really good cars but there were a lot of people that only ran a couple shows and I think it would have been interesting if they had run more of the races.
“It was huge for me to be able to finally get a win with that car and to get a championship tops it off. I won a championship in 2010 at Delaware in the last car my dad ever built. After that, my brother and I decided to build a new car with Mike McColl and unfortunately life forced me to a part-time schedule and we weren’t able to dial in the car like we needed to. So to finally win a race/championship in the first car I really had a hand in building was probably my favourite part.”
For Lawrence, racing is something that has always been in the family, with his dad racing from the time he was born. His start behind the wheel came in 2006 with a Junior Late Model, a year after his brother Jordan got started.
“Then I moved into my dad’s super stock in 2008,” he recalled. “I have run primarily at Delaware Speedway occasionally travelling to other tracks. 2018 was the most travelling I have done to race and now I have just a few tracks I would like to get to in the next couple years.”
Through the years, he says the most memorable moment has to be winning his first super stock championship in 2010 for a couple different reasons.
“I won it in the last car my dad ever built and raced, with most of the same guys who used to help my dad,” he commented. “It’s really special to have won the same division and track championship that my dad was able to win.”
For others who are looking to get into racing, he says the best thing to do is to ask questions and talks to other drivers in the pits.
“Some of my toughest competition on the track has turned out to be the most helpful in the pits,” he said. “It can be overwhelming to get into this sport when you look at all the tools, gear, equipment and resources to run a season but you don’t need to get it all at once and it helps to work with people when you are just getting started.
“I have a driver, Kassy Howard, who will be running her 4th season in one of my bonestock cars at Delaware Speedway. This all came to be from a conversation I had with her father in the beer tent about her getting into racing. I may have another bonestock car that I am looking to put some young drivers into this season, So really the easiest way to get into the sport is to start talking to people already in it.”