STAYNER, ON- It’s been a whirlwind couple of weeks for longtime Late Model standout Dwayne Baker. Just one week after securing his first career Sunset Speedway weekly championship, the blue-collar veteran will make his initial foray in the NASCAR Canadian Tire Series thanks to a longtime partnership with sponsor and car owner Gord Coates.
Baker’s NCATS career became a reality just prior to Round 10 of the 2014 season at Barrie Speedway on September 6th. It was then that Coates negotiated a deal with former champion DJ Kennington to purchase a turn-key back-up car, with the intent of fielding a ride for Baker in the Wahta Springs 300.
“I was sitting in the grandstands getting ready to watch qualifying when a friend came and grabbed me”, explains Baker with a smile. “He told me that Gord had bought me a car and wanted me to race it that night. I thought he had fallen and hit his head. I didn’t believe him. Then I went back to the pits and saw DJ [Kennington] unloading his back-up car and realized it wasn’t a joke”
The surprise entry was halted when Baker was unable to secure a NASCAR touring license in time, leaving the veteran counting the days until the 11th and final round of the 2014 series at Kawartha Speedway.
“We were all ready to go, but we just didn’t have enough time to dot the I’s and cross the T’s”, says ‘The Bully’. “Now that we’ve had the extra two weeks to prepare the car, we’re even more excited”
“My son Kyle has had the car at our shop getting it ready”, continues Baker. “I’ve never even sat in one of these cars before this experience, so I’ll definitely be learning as I go. We’ve been to Kawartha a few times with the Late Model, but I’m sure this is going to be completely different”
Baker is quick to outline a relatively simple strategy for the Pinty’s 250 this Saturday/
“I’m hoping to spend the first half of the race just getting a feel for the car. Once I have that, I can worry about going to work and picking up some positions”
“I already told [longtime friend & Micks Motorsports teammate] Mark Dilley to watch his mirror, ’cause I’m coming for him and this thing has a pretty stiff front bumper”, jokes Baker.
The Pinty’s 250 is scheduled for Kawartha Speedway on Saturday, September 20th. Details, including gate times and ticket prices, can be found at www.KawarthaSpeedway.com.
Dwayne Baker’s NASCAR Canadian Tire Series debut would not be possible without the support of G.D. Coates Used Car Superstore, Baker Performance Parts and Clearview Heating and Cooling.
By Spencer Lewis (@itsspencerlewis)
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