PETERBOROUGH, ON- After two races spent acclimating himself to his new-look Pro Late Model program, former Autumn Colours Classic champion ‘Handsome’ Chris Mitchell is set to turn his attention to Round 3 of the APC United Late Model Series at Delaware Speedway on June 26th.
“In so many ways, we’ve started from scratch with this program,” explains Mitchell with the style of honesty fans and competitors have come to expect from him. “We’re racing against guys we’ve never been on track with before, in a new car with new rules at speedways we’ve never been to before. The toughest part about it is trying to find a feel that I’m comfortable with in the car at a track I’ve never been to before”
“I’ve had one start at Delaware, but it was in a coil-over car,” continues Mitchell. “This year, we’re in a big spring car. So, there are not a whole lot of our set-up notes that are applicable”
Back-to-back top-15 finishes (12th at Sunset and 11th at Flamboro) have come after Mitchell was forced to claw his way from deep in the field. At Delaware, the Peterborough, ON veteran will look to ease that burden with a renewed focus on single-car qualifying.
“A lot of our focus is going to be on improving our qualifying,” states ‘Handsome Chris’. “We haven’t time trialed as well as we need to. If we could start better, there’s no question it would have a positive impact on our feature results. This is a stacked field, and it takes a lot out of your stuff if you have to come from the back”
Despite the long nights and seemingly endless brainstorming sessions, Mitchell remains confident his family-operated team is working towards a breakthrough on the wildly popular tour.
“I would have never committed to this series if I didn’t believe we have a program capable of running up front,” insists the personable veteran. “We’re not here to be an ‘also ran’. We’ll keep working at this until we have this car where we want to be. I can’t say enough about Mike McColl and everyone at MRE – they’ve been incredible already this year”
“The car has been apart every week because we’ve just been trying to find something better, and Mike’s been there on the phone with us every step of the way. He always makes time for us – which has been a huge help”
“Any racer that’s ever done their own setup will understand the situation I’m working through,” continues the multi-time Peterborough Speedway feature winner. “All I can rely on is myself. When I come off the track after practice, there’s not someone waiting in the trailer to make everything better. There’s just me. So that certainly comes with a little bit of pressure”
With Delaware’s ‘Sifton 100’ set to kick off the second quarter of the tour, Mitchell has spent the better part of two weeks perfecting a brand new setup that he hopes will re-inject his No. 22M into contention this Friday.
“Going into Delaware, we’ve changed a ton of stuff from what we’ve had so far. It’s either going to work – or it’s going to be an absolute disaster,” laughs the father of two. “When you only have two practice sessions on race day, it makes every change you make a lot more meaningful. You had better hope you’re right – or you could be headed for the B Main in a hurry”
When asked his opinion of the tour’s first two events, the fan-favourite is quick to heap praise on founder Luke Ramsay and team, commending them on the series that has helped breathe new life into the Pro Late Model division.
“I think what Luke [Ramsay] and his team have done so far is incredible,” marvels Mitchell. “If anyone has the ability to make this work long-term, it’s him. The level of professionalism and the excitement surrounding both races has been unparalleled. He doesn’t give himself enough credit – this tour has been awesome right out of the gate”
“This is the big show rolling into town,” emphasizes the Ltd. Late Model veteran. “When you walk up and down pit road, almost every other car could win and you wouldn’t hear anyone say ‘Wow – he won?!?;. When you can beat that level of competition, you absolutely know that you’ve accomplished something. That’s our goal.”
Details, including gate times and advanced ticket sales, for this Friday’s ‘Sifton 100’ can be found at www.DelawareSpeedway.com.
Fans can keep up with Mitchell on race day – and throughout the 2015 season – by visiting his official Chris Mitchell Racing page on Facebook or by following on Twitter @CMR22Racing
Marketing support for Chris Mitchell’s 2015 season is provided by Dent Dynamics, Earl Ireland Auto Sales, Klotz Canada, SRP Electric, Triben Media and Rockstar Energy Drink.
By Spencer Lewis (@itsspencerlewis)