Running solidly up front on a weekly basis, James Stanley put together his best season to date in the Living Lighting OSCAAR Pro Sprints.
“Looking back on the season, I would definitely call it a huge success,” he told SHORT TRACK MUSINGS. “We made major improvements and really showed the strength of this car with only missing the podium one night this whole season due to a chain failure. In 2018, we struggled badly all season long to even just make laps, so this season being able to run up front with (Daniel) Hawn each week was a huge accomplishment.”
Being able to run with the top-three every single week paid off at season’s end, as he would rank second in the year-end standings. He was also able to get his first career series feature victory at Peterborough Speedway, after making his way through the field after a mid-field starting spot to take the top spot, leading through the majority of the feature.
“From racing Hawn wheel to wheel for the lead and messing with him on the restarts, to Brad (Holmes) winning rookie of the year, to camping at Autumn Colours with my friends and family,” he commented. “I have a blast every single second I am at the racetrack.
“This is probably the most fun I’ve ever had in a race season. All week that’s what I’m looking forward to, loading up and heading to the track. There are so many really good people I’m surrounded by that I get to call my close friends and family. Towards the end of the season, I was giving Daniel more of a fight and I think that made it a lot more fun for the both of us, just having to work that much harder. Having Brad in my dad’s car was a blast. Watching the rookie battle from a different perspective was definitely fun.
“Even just the bench racing on our way to the track, to the August Peterborough race where we were both in the top 3. These guys really make it enjoyable. I can’t forget Sam, Tanner and my dad, it wouldn’t be the same without all these guys.”
Although the success was great this year, it certainly did not come by accident with a lot of time spent in the shop. Stanley notes that the Pro Sprints can be very time consuming to work on due to being custom built and requiring a lot of maintenance.
“I’ve heard guys who have switched from these cars to full size cars say that these are surprisingly more work,” he commented. “Honestly I probably spend 30-40 hours a week on my car and I would spend even more time if I wasn’t working 70+ hours a week. The biggest thing that people don’t see is the behind the scenes time that is put in to run a series; it is honestly crazy.”
On top of his own success behind the wheel, Stanley also made a weekly difference in the series behind the scenes.
“This season, I was thrown into a (V.P.) role of the pro sprints,” he recalled. “Some nights I was a tech guy, race director, organizer, driver and car owner all at once. It was a very stressful year to say the least. I am extremely shocked and proud that it all came together the way it did, because it definitely was not easy. To hear all the positive feedback from the other drivers and crews really felt good. I can say this season as a series was a success and I can’t wait for the 2020 race season to begin.”
Now heading into the new year, Stanley says his goals are simple as he focused on bringing home his career series championship.
“I’ve had my eyes on it for many, many years and I feel we finally have the right package to complete that this coming season,” he commented. “Aside from the pro sprints, there is also talk of possibly running a few Can-Am Midget races, but I can’t say much more than that just yet.
“For beyond, I have looked into moving up into a big car and I would love to try one. But I would need a full crew each week and life is just too busy; these smaller cars are easy enough to show up and race by yourself. For now, I am going to run my car and help out Newman Motorsports and Hawn Motorsports.”
The goals seems simple enough, but everybody within the series knows it will be tough with the current level of competition, and potential rookies joining in the fray in 2020. Stanley’s best piece of advice for the newcomers is to read up and ask lots of questions.
“These are hard cars to wrap your head around,” he explained. “The earlier you get a full understanding on them the better your season will go. Also when you’re on the track, just be predictable.”