Sometimes when you stick a microphone in front of a driver’s face, you have no clue what they may say and a couple of times you’ll hear something that surprises you or gives you a bit of a perspective.
Throughout the 2019 season, I had the opportunity to speak to a bunch of different competitors. During those interviews, there were some quotes that stood out. So it seems only fitting we take a glance back through the year at what was said.
“We’ve been here and tried to run this place two or three different times, and the cards just didn’t go our way. A lot of stuff didn’t go our way, and I got to thank Brian (Todish) and Sandra (Todish) for sorting some stuff out around here, Ben (Dennis) and Courtney (Wright) sorting some stuff with tires. There’s a lot of stuff that goes into running a race track and being able to win a championship and it is definitely turned around with the staff that they’ve put in place to take care of the place properly and look after tech proper, and just do the right things.
“Mike (Brown) is in there and he’s doing his job, ripping cars apart every night, and that helps. Guys cheat – they do; I’m not going to stay that I’ve never cheated before in my life, but its part of it. We left here and Gord (Shepherd) has won a few championships here. He did give me my best start, and I’ll stand here and tell everybody. I don’t care if this place is packed, Gord did give me the start with the thunder cars and I had the best car to drive every week for him and win championships at Barrie (Speedway).”
“It’d be a huge accomplishment compared to where we were two years ago. Our first season we were seventh in points and we came out last year hoping to do better and we were fourth in points. So we’ve come a long way in one season, but a lot of was helped with Paul (Geniole Jr) as he helped us with our line. That was huge.
“I know I keep saying how much that is worth – but you could have a real good car, and that was about getting comfortable in the car and the line on the track. It’s a tricky place to go around. I’m starting to get the hang of it, but still have a little work to do to catch Gord (Shepherd) and those guys.
“If we could run with those guys, that’d be great. We did late last year – ran door-to-door a little bit. It was kind of fun, and felt like the old days at Barrie Speedway.”
“I think a lot of what I’ve learned is you really have to race people the way that they race you, and if you don’t, you will get taken advantage of constantly. So I think going into this season it’s really going to have to be a different mentality behind the wheel, but I’m excited to show what we have in the equipment. I think we have a really good piece for this year, and I’m excited to see how we stack up and I’m excited to push myself and the car to it’s limits this year.”
“I am the type of driver where I enjoy rubbing fenders and a textbook bump and run are fair game; it’s short track racing after all. However, the last couple of years in super stocks, it’s been no secret I haven’t been having much fun as the racing and overall attitude on and off the track has been plain disrespectful. We all work way too hard to make the cars presentable and turn the corners to race that way, and frankly, I was tired of it and needed to move on.
“APC Series carries a level of professionalism and seriousness that fits with myself and my team appropriately. It’s fun but competitive. You need to be on your A-game every lap of every race to be up front.”
I’m pretty proud of the way that he’s progressed. Tyler is a very methodical driver. He doesn’t take a lot of risks and when he does, they’re well-calculated. He’s really smooth; I think that comes from karting. Most of the karters that come up and move into full-size racecars tend to very smooth, and that’s no different with Tyler. He’s extremely smooth. He’s aware of his surroundings. He’s respectful to other drivers, and he’s got a good head on his shoulders.
I believe he has a lot of talent. I know the OSCAAR series, Dave Gainforth and the OSCAAR staff were very happy and excited about his progression, and felt he would be a great driver once he gets more seat time; we’re hoping that’s the case.
Rob Di Venanzo
“This year is defiantly a big jump, but having bought my brother’s car, we know the car and what works with it and what doesn’t. We also know where the money has to be spent to improve it. Late Model is such a big jump and that comes with bigger budgets. I started about three weeks ago talking to current and new sponsors to get this season rolling. You have to be able to put tires on the car to run and the front. And the beginning, it will be learning how competitive the class is and competing with the level of drivers and cars. After practicing the car about a month ago I was up to speed after about 44 laps so we believe we are off to a great start. I can’t wait to race against the best in Ontario.
“It’s defiantly a big power jump from the mini stock to the late model. But from the first time I stepped on the gas in the late model, I knew it was the right choice to move up!”
“Just be there at the end, that was the biggest thing. It doesn’t matter who leads throughout the race, you just have to be there at the end. That’s what we needed to do – just kind of ride there and not show everybody what you got too early so they start working on their cars and if paid off for us today.”
“It’s a great event. Alex (Nagy) and his team did an amazing job; it was a great event to be a part of. Look forward to going back. I think the boys coming from down south gave everybody an eye-opener as they’re probably a year or two ahead of all of us. I went with my oldest car – 2012 car, which had a lot of brand new updates; so basically, an older car with new technology, and we finished fifth. We were in the top-six, seven all-day, and showed great speed.
“I think now that we see what everyone brought to the table last year, we’re going to bring that this year. So I look forward to being more prepared for that race.
“I think everyone has a lot more going on in their shops then people realize. I try to run a regular maintenance program on the bone stocks, which adds up quick with multiple cars. I have slowly been building a group of guys that help me through the week as well as a few extras that are always there at the track for us which is huge. This was the first year I actually needed a spotter and had a few nights where I had to either hire someone or volunteer my girlfriend to spot.”
“Pro Late Model racing is booming. It is great to see. Love the APC United late model series and what they are doing to help out the home tracks, and I think that a lot of the car counts are going up because of Jukasa Motor Speedway’s $75 000 to win race. Thanks to Ken Hill and Alex Nagy and everybody that is building Jukasa back to the crown jewel!!”
“The goal is obviously to finish strong. Everybody races to do as well as they can. We have a lot of great sponsor support and we’ve kind of been in a slump in the last few years. I came out the first APC Series season, did really well, finished races strong and was knocking on doors.
“Our program has struggled the last couple of years – just couldn’t get the set-up in the car. So we’ve moved on from that car, and have acquired this new piece, and hopefully we can learn with Paul Geniole (Jr.) and Mike McColl and grow with them to figure my car out.”
“I was definitely feeling the pressure there. I was just trying to stay smooth and keep the fenders on it. I gave him a lane there a few times, but just tried to keep a good run on the outside. I didn’t have a lot of grip out there – little loose – so tried to stay out there and it worked out for us. Fortunately, the lap cars helped us a lot there.”
“It’s so huge for us. Alan (Kulwicki) was always a small guy in the NASCAR series and we consider our team to be one of the smaller teams in Ontario. We don’t have a ton of guys, we don’t have a huge budget by any means, but we make up for that with a lot of hard work. So to be able to be accepted this far into this program is really cool for us. We feel it has gotten us a little more recognition than other things in the past. We’re really hoping to make the final seven, and hopefully just carry the banner all season.”
“It’s going to be crazy. There’s so much talent at Flamboro this year with guys like J.R. Fitzpatrick and Shawn Chenoweth. It’s going to be a good experience for me. I grew up watching with these guys. I can’t wait to have the chance to race with them.”
“To get an opportunity like this is just unreal. I don’t think it has fully set in yet. There’s a lot of history between Rick and myself – a lot of fun had over the years. I’m excited to get back to that. I’ve also known Eldon a long time; he used to help Ed Byers who was a vital part of getting my racing career rolling. After the last two seasons I’ve had, for them to still believe in my ability as a race car driver, is a great feeling.”
“Like I said, the thing is the last few years is I feel we haven’t been as competitive as we normally are. I want to be able to bring a racecar to the track just like I used to and be able to compete for the win.”
“My guys gave me a fast car for pretty much all weekend long; it was fast and comfortable to drive. It was a fun race, just came up a little short at the end. I wish we could’ve held onto the lead for a little bit longer at the end there and challenged a little more. Second isn’t too bad.”
Probably my dad because he’s taught me so much. He’s never mad at me for where I finish, except for in karting. He’s always working on giving me tips to go faster on the track.
Tyler Di Venanzo on who his racing hero is