STAYNER, ON- While Dwayne Baker turns his attention to his first career NASCAR Canadian Tire Series appearance in the province of Quebec at Autodrome Chaudiere this weekend, his familiar No. 48 will still be in competition at Sunset Speedway – with former OSCAAR Super Late Model Tour champion Brandon Watson at the helm.
“It’s obviously a huge compliment when someone as accomplished as Dwayne offers you their ride,” says Watson.
“At the same time, it’s a lot of pressure. Sunset’s a track that we have a lot of experience at – but Dwayne’s the reigning champion. He’s the king there right now, and I want to be able to come out and give the 48 team a run that they can be proud of”
After spending the entirety of the 2014 season competing with the Midwestern United States-based CRA Super Series, Watson has returned to Ontario in 2015 for a championship bid in the upstart APC United Late Model Series.
“It’s awesome coming back. Any time I have the chance to race at Sunset, it gets me excited,” explains the third-generation competitor. “It’s an awesome facility, the fans are second to none and the competition is incredible. There aren’t many weekly divisions anywhere in North America that are tougher than Sunset’s Late Model division”
“These guys take their programs seriously. There aren’t a lot of drivers on that roster that aren’t capable of winning a feature – so we’re going to have to hit the ground running”
Watson is looking to keep his momentum up, after an impressive third place finish in Round 2 of the APC Series at Flamboro Speedway on June 6th.
“Momentum is so important in this sport. Coming off of a podium finish makes a huge difference for us,” smiles the soft-spoken star. “We were good at Flamboro, and I want to keep things rolling this weekend”
“Jumping back and forth between rides isn’t anything new to us,” adds Watson. “It keeps us sharp – so we definitely don’t mind. Dwayne’s equipment is top notch, so I’m really looking forward to getting it on track”
“The only thing we’ll have to get used to is the 35-lap features. We’ve been focusing a lot on our CRA Super Series and APC Series programs the last two years – and all of those races are 100-laps or longer. So, it’s going to be a bit of a culture shock at first to get back to 35-lap dashes”
When asked if the race length will provoke a change in driving style, Watson explains that it simply means he’ll be forced to play a more aggressive game on Saturday night.
“It shouldn’t be that big of an adjustment – it just means that we don’t have the same amount of time to sit around and ride. We can’t wait – we have to go right from the green flag. It’s all about finding those opportunities and making them work. Because, if you wait for something to happen, the race will be over before you even get warmed up.”
Brandon Watson’s Baker Performance-owned entry will carry sponsorship from Zancor Custom Homes, G.D. Coates Used Car Superstore, McGunegill Engine Performance, Four Valley’s Excavating, Clearview Heating & Cooling, Baker Performance Parts and Nisco National Leasing.
Details, including gate times and ticket prices, for Sunset’s June 13th show can be found at www.SunsetSpeedway.ca.
By Spencer Lewis (@itsspencerlewis)