Earning a feature event win during your first year of competition is something every driver shoots for – but making 3 trips to victory lane during your freshman campaign is almost unheard of…unless your name happens to be Alex Lees. The youngster from Cameron, Ontario was able to head back to his Automotive Engineering Program at UOIT in Oshawa filled with tales of his first season in Kawartha Speedway’s entry level division.
“At the start of the year, I was just looking to get my feet wet and have a little fun,” said the 19 year-old Lees. “I skipped the practice session May 27th and even missed the opening night a week later. The racing Gods must have been with me, because a 4th place run during my first feature race kicked-off a dream season. Now, I can’t wait for the start of the next year,”
During the victory lane interview that followed his first win, an obviously overwhelmed Alex Lees struggled to remember the names of the backers and supporters who had helped him achieve his level of success. While he may have missed a sponsor’s name during the celebratory chat, the youngster dedicated the triumph to his father Paul who was battling cancer and wasn’t able to witness his son’s victory. November 23rd, 2011 Paul Lees succumbed to the disease. Lees says he’s thankful that he had the chance to share the story of the win with his Dad and is now even more determined to build on the momentum of his first season behind the wheel.
Despite getting off to a late start, Lees – a graduate of the Arrive and Drive Karting Series at Mosport – managed to steer his Patrick’s Tire/ British Empire Fuels/Nahma Lodge Marine/Rosedale Marina/Vinyl Kreationz/Jim Michaud/Bill Austin Accounting/David Gowanlock/Dr. Sommerville Honda Prelude to a 7th place finish in Kawartha’s final 2011 point standings. Alex Lees is proud of that accomplishment, but also feels somewhat frustrated that he wasn’t able to just a little bit better.
“For me, there’s no feeling in the world that even comes close to being in the racecar,” said Lees. “I have fun every time I fasten the seatbelts and head out onto the track. There are some drivers who take things so seriously and put too much pressure on themselves. The competition is exciting, but I want to keep the fun factor as part of what I do in the car. Winning that first feature Friday, July 8th was a huge thrill. So was the 4th place run at the Autumn Colours Classic.”
Even with just one season under his belt, Lees considers himself very fortunate to have made a number of good friends at the track. His brothers Geoff and Nick Lees help get the car ready for action. Fellow mini stock pilot Daryl Fice and his father Darren Fice are strong supporters, while former driver Dwight Lavoie serves as a mentor behind the scenes and in the #07 machine’s pit area.
“The first year was great and I’m excited about getting the 2012 season started,” said Lees. “There’s no telling what we’ll be able to accomplish with the energy from last year.”
Kawartha klips: 2012 race action gets started with an open test session Friday, May 25th. Fans can see the complete schedule and the latest off-season news anytime at www.kawarthaspeedway.com.
Prepared by: Jim Clarke – Clarke Motorsports Communications