Tim Norris Ready to Continue Ontario Pro Challenge Success

After putting a series of back-to-back successful championship together in the Ontario Pro Challenge Series, Tim Norris is hoping that continues in 2019.

“Our thoughts are that we cant wait for this snow to disappear and make it out to the first practice day,” he told SHORT TRACK MUSINGS. “We have been super busy in the race shop building the cars. We are almost ready to go!”

Norris says going into the year, the goal to run each of the series’ events, finishing each of them with the car in great shape at the end of the night.

“We have a proven car and I really want to improve at a few tracks where I seem to struggle a little bit,” he added.

The Ontario Pro Challenge Series will kick-off their 2019 campaign at Flamboro Speedway, which is perfect for Norris in being his home track, and having lots of family and friends at those races.

The season opener will set the floor for the season, which Norris believes will be strong with the young drivers continuing to get stronger weekly to run right there with the veterans.

“The series has invested in the tools, equipment and parts to ensure the drivers have every opportunity to get out and race,” he commented. “We have a core group of drivers that make it to every race, There is a group of drivers with cars in the garage at home; we need to get them back on the track. We race hard, but we race clean. And if something bad happens, we all pitch in to help out where we can. It is a lot of fun racing with this group, and that is why my son started racing here last year.”

For Norris, he has been involved in motorsports for a long time, dating back to 1988, beginning with pro motocross and snocross racing.

“After a few too many injuries, the option to race cars started looking better,” he admitted. “I started racing RC cars with Dennis Thomson and that turned into me working with Don Thomson Jr back in the CASCAR days. I was his spotter and together we won five championships. That was when I really started thinking about racing cars.”

Norris would test Ken Nicholson’s OPC car in 2003, making his debut the Autumn Colours Classic later that season. Fortunately, Ken and Kathy would then step in to help Norris so he could go racing.

“Without them helping I would not have been able to race the car,” he admitted. “It was not too long after that I picked up a few fantastic sponsors, owned the car and the rest is history. I am still racing the same car, starting my 16th season and I love it. Last year, a great friend decided he wanted to go late model racing.

“We had been working together for a few years and he asked if I would drive for him. I jumped at the chance and we tried a few late model races last year. We just got our feet wet, learned a lot and had a great time racing the car, this year will be even better. I have been extremely lucky to meet some great people and sponsors that share my love racing, the opportunities they provided for me will never be forgotten. They could have supported anyone, but they chose me and I can’t thank them enough!”

With over 30 years of experience under his experience, his most memorable moment in racing actually came last year at Flamboro Speedway.

“My son Mike had never raced anything in his life,” Norris said. “He worked on my car, was my spotter, my crew chief and did all the setup work on my car for the last 5 years. He has learned a lot about race cars in a very short time. He thought he wanted to try racing, so together we stripped down and prepared my back up car for him. We built it up and took it over to the track for him to test. Step one was learning to drive a standard; with that behind him, he did not feel comfortable on the track. So we tested and he improved every time we went to the track.

“Little did I know that a year later I would have a front row seat of him winning the first feature of his life. I finished second and I gave him a big hug in front of the crowd in victory lane. It was a very emotional time and the most memorable racing moment for me.”

With his experience to date, Norris’ advice to the next generation of racers to simply spend time in the pits on regular race nights, speaking with drivers and crew members.

“A good way to start is to help an existing team and see if you like the amount of work and time it takes to race a car,” he added. “Once you get some knowledge you can make a better decision on a car and where to race. Websites are a good start, but the real deal is at the track. New drivers need to be realistic with expectations; race because you love it and everything else will fall into place.”

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