Alas, a fourth edition you say? Yes, it’s a reality as the Late Models have indeed earned another round of silly season news for you.
As mentioned before, the Late Model division had a major impact on the 2019 Silly Season Portal at Short Track Musings in it’s first three editions, revealing plans for a total of seven different drivers, and keeping you up to date on APC Series registration announcements.
Since then, plans for 2019 have continued to find their way into public domain. So here are some more competitors who have openly discussed their 2019 plans as of March 5, 2019.
Danny Benedict made it known early in the winter that he would be chasing after both the Sunset Speedway NASCAR Whelen All-American Division I Championship once again, as well as embarking on his rookie campaign in the APC Auto Parts United Late Models of Ontario Tour. However, three of the events overlap between the pair.
The Danny Benedict Motorsports drivers announced that past Sunset Speedway Champion Taylor Holdaway will be handling the overlapping events. As previously revealed, the Orillia-based driver is running a schedule focused on big events south of the border, but will be taking part in the Canadian Short Track Nationals at Jukasa Motor Speedway.
It is also worth noting that both Benedict and his girlfriend Kendra Adams have been named semi-finalist for the Alan Kulwuicki Driver Development Program. Adams is expected to run at Sunset Speedway this season, on top of her media duties with Speed51.com.
The Sunset Speedway division looks pretty healthy as several drivers make their return for 2019, including Travis Hallyburton.
“Honestly – the only thing worth remembering about last summer is how our team never backed down from any of the bad luck that was thrown at us,” Hallyburton told CABRAL RACING PROMOTIONS. “Other than that, I think the whole team is ready to leave everything that happened during 2018 in the rear-view. It wasn’t our best work – that’s for sure.”
Al Inglis will also be returning to Sunset Speedway, though with a new car as he purchased a Streamline Racing Chassis previously piloted by Taylor Holdaway.
“Our entire team is as excited for this season as we’ve been in a really, really long time,” says Inglis. “It’s been a long time since we’ve had a fresh car in our shop so this has been a real exciting off-season. This has been almost like hitting the ‘Reset’ button for our team. We’re ready to go.”
Jake Gilbert is making the move up to the Pro Late Model division at Flamboro Speedway after an impressing behind the wheel of the No. 03 Mustang in the Milgrove, Ontario’s Mini Stock division.
The Flamboro Speedway division will also see familiar names return, as Chris Howse gets ready to embark on his second season of Late Model racing.
“I’m not sure that anybody outside of our own team gave us much chance of even making it to mid-season (in 2018),” laughs Howse in reference to his rookie campaign. “I think we picked up just about every lesson the hard way. There weren’t a whole lot of shortcuts that’s for sure.”
Andrew Gresel will return to the APC United Late Model Series fulltime in 2019 thanks to a new partnership with Calhoun Super Structure.
“The (APC United Late Model Series) Tour has the best roster you’re going to find anywhere in the country right now,” Gresel told CABRAL RACING PROMOTIONS. “There’s nowhere else I’d rather be racing.”
Jake Sheridan will also be returning to the APC Series full-time, set to the chase after the title following a third-place finish in the standings last year.
“We just kinda hit the ground running last year and never really looked back,” says the personable teenager. “Right from our first race our team gelled really well and we were able to get our equipment up to speed and performing the way we needed it to. The car was a dream to drive all year because of that.”
Jordan Sims will be joining Sheridan full-time on the tour, as he takes the next step with his Pro Late Model program.
“I’m not sure I can sit here and really explain to you how big of a learning curve last season actually was for us,” admits Sims. “First off, I was coming off of a three-year hiatus. So, on top of everything else, I was doing my best to shake the rust off as quick as I could.”
There will also a new rookie on the tour, with Blair Wickett taking his program on the road after success at Flamboro Speedway.
“Being able to go out on the road and hit all the different tracks with the tour is something that our team has had an eye on for three years now,” details Wickett. “The fact that we’ve been able to build our program up to the point where we’re ready to make it a reality is a dream come true in a lot of ways.”
Cabral Racing Promotions also announced that J.R. Fitzpatrick and Tim Ellis have combined forces to chase after the championship at Sauble Speedway in a car owned by Doug Milne. Notably, CRP was also quick to note that the 2019 campaign will be Ellis’ last year behind the wheel.
“I’m really looking forward to working with Brian (MacDonald) on this car and see what we can do as a team to make it faster,” said Fitzpatrick. “This is an incredible opportunity that Tim (Ellis) Mr. (Doug) Milne and Brain (Macdonald have put in front of me and I can’t tell you how much it means for them to choose me out of all the guys they could’ve hired.”
With Sauble Speedway switching from Limited Late Models to Pro Late Models, that will bring a shift in JP Motorsports’ program with Jason Parker making the swap over.
“It wasn’t a decision that we took lightly because of how big of a change in equipment it all is,” explains Parker. “It’s not just a different car. It’s a different transmission, a different rear end, different spare parts that we need to carry with us. It’s not a decision that we would make if we didn’t think that it was absolutely the right path for our team.”
If you’re a driver and want to have your plans listed in the Silly Season guide, please get a hold of Short Track Musing’s Ashley McCubbin immediately to do so.