STAYNER, ON- Ontario Late Model champion Dwayne Baker will return to the NASCAR Canadian Tire Series on August 15th, when his Gord Coates-owned team makes the cross-country haul to Antigonish, NS for their first ever appearance at the heralded Riverside International Speedway for the ‘Wounded Warriors Canada 300.’
“Anyone that I’ve ever spoken to about Riverside has told me that it’s a place I need to see a race at,” explains Baker when asked about the decision to take part in Round 9 of the NCATS season. “From the first year the [NASCAR Canadian Tire] Series raced there, I’ve heard nothing but good things. So, when Gord [Coates] sat us down to plan out our season, this was one event that I knew we needed to be a part of”
The race will mark Baker’s 3rd start of the season with the cross-Canada series, following top-15 finishes at Autodrome Chaudiere and Sunset Speedway earlier this summer.
“I’m happy with what we’ve been able to put together so far with this car,” says Baker. “Obviously, there’s still a lot of potential that we haven’t reached yet, but we’ve improved with every race that we’ve been a part of”
“This entire program is something brand new to our entire team,” continues the former NASCAR Whelen All-American Series provincial champion. “These cars are completely different than our Late Model, and we’re racing against some of the best drivers in the country. The bulk of these guys have years of experience in these cars and, right now, it’s our job to play catch-up and get on their level”
After a discernably rough month in weekly Late Model competition at Sunset Speedway, Baker hopes that a chance of scenery – and equipment – could kick start his team’s attempt at a late-season charge.
“Right now, I’m just looking for a little bit of luck,” laughs the Stayner, ON driver. “We haven’t had much with our Late Model program for the last few weeks, so I think some of our guys are thinking this weekend could help shake things up”
And, as the team finishes their final preparations for Saturday’s event, Baker is quick to note that the 300-lap contest will be, much like his previous three series starts, a learning process from start to finish.
“For a track we’ve never been to, and a car that we’re still figuring out, I think a top-10 finish would be a great weekend for us,” shrugs the soft-spoken veteran.
“From the photos I’ve seen of [Riverside], it seems like the sort of place we should be able to get comfortable with. If we can settle into a rhythm and take care of our equipment, I’m confident we have enough for a solid finish.”
Dwayne Baker’s 2015 efforts would not be possible without the ongoing support of G.D. Coates Used Car Superstore, Zancor Custom Homes, 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)