STAYNER, ON- After two weeks spent concentrating his efforts on his team’s Pro Late Model program, defending Sunset Speedway champion Dwayne Baker will return to his Ltd. Late Model on Saturday night in NASCAR Whelen All American Series competition.
‘The Bully’ and his Baker Performance Parts-backed team has worked tirelessly on their familiar No. 48 in recent weeks, and will enter July 4th’s event in search of Baker’s first NWAAS victory of 2015 after tallying an impressive podium finish during June 19th’s Garry Reynolds Memorial.
“I really wish we got to run this car more,” offers Baker. “I’m looking forward to getting it on track tomorrow night. It was working well at the [Garry] Reynolds Memorial a couple weeks ago, and we’ve made a few changes this week that I think will make us even stronger”
Baker currently sits second in the speedway’s Sauble Falls Tent & Trailer Park Championship Points Standings, just 10 points behind leader Gord Shepherd and 12 points ahead of perennial contender Jason Witty.
“This division is so strong – it’s great racing with teams that take their programs as seriously as we do,” says the former NWAAS Provincial Champion. “Gordie [Shepherd] and Jason [Witty] are two of the best drivers you’ll find anywhere in the country. This isn’t the kind of division where you can come out and rack up 10 wins in a season. Everyone is way too close for that. If a driver can finish the year with 3 or 4 wins – they’re in good shape”
When asked about the current state of the Sunset Speedway Late Model standings, Baker is quick to brush off any notion that his team is keeping an eye on their place in the championship hunt just yet.
“I’m not really much for points racing,” shrugs the blue-collar veteran. “I like to just come out and try to win the race and let everything else work itself out. We’re going to do everything in our power to win both features on Saturday night. If we’re able to take down two podium finishes, I’m sure everyone on this team will consider that a good night at the track”’
In order to do so, Baker will need a strong run in single car qualifying – in order to give his team a fighting chance at the evening’s first 35-lap feature event.
“Time Trials are so important,” insists ‘The Bully’. “When you race twice in a single night, you have to be sure to take care of your equipment. The best way to do that is to put as little strain on your car as possible. Putting our car on the pole in the first feature seems like the best way to do that”
“With a field as good as this, there are always going to be a few really good cars that miss the setup just a bit in time trials and have to come from deep in the field,” continues the fan-favourite. “We’re aiming not to be one of them”
Saturday’s event will count as the first of three nights for the Ltd. Late Model division at Sunset this month. As the schedule begins to intensify, Baker is adamant that a strong run this weekend will set his family-run team in motion for a successful July in NWAAS competition.
“We’ve had a bit of a light schedule to start the season, but if the weather cooperates we’re going to be pretty busy the next few weeks,” opines the 2-time Autumn Colours Classic champion. “This car is good enough to contend every night. We just need to find a way to get to the front. A win on Saturday would be big. We don’t want to be putting our focus on catching up to the rest of the division this month – we want to get to victory lane and stay there.”
Details for Sunset Speedway’s July 4th event are available at www.SunsetSpeedway.ca.
Baker’s 2015 season is made possible with support 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.
Fans can stay up to date with Dwayne and the rest of the team by visiting the official Dwayne Baker Racing page on Facebook.
By Spencer Lewis (@itsspencerlewis)