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.
“I still can’t believe it happened. I learned very quickly in my first Frostoberfest race that it is a very difficult event to do well in as there is a lot of great drivers that show up for the event. My goal this year was to run consistent and keep the car clean for both 50 lap races because I knew the car was the best it’s ever been. I think the whole team was pretty excited to get another Igloo to go alongside the one that Billy (Schwartzenburg) won! The team worked very hard all year and I probably wore everyone out week after week asking questions and trying to perfect the car, so it is really nice to see it all come together with a big win like that at the end of the season.”
Erik Dalla Riva
“It’s almost like a year to forget. A lot of people would be happy winning seven, eight features in a year – and I am, I don’t want to take away from that. But at the same time, I didn’t accomplish what I set out too. I’m my hardest critic and I went into last year wanting to win both championships and finished second in both.
“So I don’t want to say it bugs me, but it just I left something on the table. The first night I went up there (to Sauble Speedway), I had engine issues and it set me back 20-some points the very first night. So I was in a massive hole to climb out of, and ended up coming within a couple points of winning. So it was just a season of coming close in both, and the caliber of team we try to be and want to be, we have to have more consistency in it.
“That’s what we’re going for in the program this year. Even though we aren’t running for a championship, when we show up, we want to show up and do well. We don’t want it to be, ‘I blew up’ or something like that.”
Kevin Bridge on how things played out for him in 2018
“It all starts in the shop. This winter, the team and I have gone over the car many times making sure everything is exactly how it should be so we have no problems unloading at practice day to shake the car down. Another big factor is communication. If you and your team aren’t on the same page, your day can go down hill in a hurry. I’m glad we have a team that listens and openly discusses what we should do and what we need to do to put me in the best possible spot.”
“Simply put – the best field top to bottom in the province. You had 10 different feature winners, four different makes, the championship came down to the last race on the last night. I hope that continues this year as they made some positives changes at the rules meeting that should encourage some cars to come to Flamboro.”
“Other than being excited to get back into the racecar, I’m pretty focused. My mind is set on winning more than anything. I have to keep telling myself that I am going to win or I’m going to do nothing. But I’m just excited. I can’t wait to get back in the car.
“I’ve driven Late Model, Super Stocks, and everything I’ve driven, I just keep coming back to these Mini Stocks. They’re the funnest cars to drive, they’re the hardest cars to drive, and I’ve been doing Mini Stocks since 2001 and I just seem to keep coming back to them.”
“But I needed some training, so I took the Racing School offered at Barrie Speedway,” she recalled. “In 2008, I had the opportunity to get into my brother’s car and race at Barrie Speedway and loved it, but it was only about five races. In 2010, my husband and I started looking for a car but took until the fall of 2011 to find a good car and bought it. My first season of racing was in 2012 at Sunset Speedway. It’s been a dream come true with the support of my husband every day.”
“Flamboro’s rules had some changes for 2019 and I think we will see a better mix of makes and models in the top-three, on what was a “mustang track” for some time. Hopefully we will see some people from other tracks come visit to stir things up, now that our rulebook is similar to other tracks. Its pretty incredible from what I have gathered in my research of how much the class has grown in the last five years. Always improving!”
“I think it’s one of the bigger divisions at Flamboro now actually. I love racing with those people, and i’m actually good friends with most of the drivers in the division as well. Like every division, there’s tough competition that’s for sure! But tough competition always helps you get experience which makes you a better driver.”
“It’s unreal. We have a handful of drivers that can win on any given night which makes it great for the fans. It’s not the same car winning every night which makes the point battle interesting & everyone on edge which I love.”
Melissa Bullen on Peterborough Speedway
“The competition is amazing. A lot of great looking cars with some talented drivers in their seats. Lots of dicing and bumper to bumper action. I’m really looking forward to racing with all of them again soon. See you at the track.”
Kyle Istead on Flamboro Speedway
“We have put a lot of work into the car over the off season. A lot of what we do is all based off of the smaller tracks so we really had to put our heads straight and think outside the box a little bit. We found some new things to try and obviously some old tricks that weren’t working for us.”
“Our 2018 season was a big learning curve for us with big set up changes and going to a lot of new tracks for me as well. (It) was definitely a good year, but we plan to make a lot more improvements for next year. I would like to go race at Jukasa (Motor Speedway) next year that’s definitely a bucket list track for me!”