HAMPTON, ON- OSCAAR Super Late Model rookie Kelly Balson will look to piece together back-to-back podium finishes this weekend, after a head-turning 3rd place result in Round 3 of the tour at Barrie Speedway on June 14th.
The former Limited Late Model champion will have his second crack at Sunset Speedway, after struggling with an ill-handling racecar in his last appearance at the Innisfil, ON 3/8 mile on May 18th.
“I think it’s fair to say that our last time at Sunset was not indicative of everything this program has to offer”, says Balson with a wry smile. “It was our first time having the car in race trim, and we had a tight condition that we couldn’t seem to mitigate”
“Because we were so bad in our Sunset debut, I’ve been counting the days until we get to go back”, continues Balson. “The car is so much better now, and I’m looking forward to seeing exactly how much better we can be at Sunset. We’ve thrown our previous Sunset setup out the window and have made a tonne of changes since our first race with the tour”
When asked about his recent top-3 at Barrie, Balson is quick to downplay the possibility of mounting a ‘hot streak’ on the OSCAAR tour.
“We’re just taking it one race at a time. I think it’s a slippery slope when you start looking too far ahead. Would we love another podium? Absolutely. But I’m more concerned with just keeping our program moving in the right direction. Our final position, ultimately, is irrelevant. Our goal is to ensure that our performance this week is better than what it was the week before”
“At the end of lap-49, if I can have the top-3 in my sightline I’ll be happy”, offers Balson. “We were content with the way things shook out at Barrie, and we certainly hope to put together that type of performance again at ‘the Biederman’. It’s a big race, one that everyone starts out their season aiming for, and we hope to be in the conversation by the time the laps really start to matter”
While Balson admits it’s difficult not to feel a degree of pressure entering the OSCAAR tour’s marquee event, his goal is to put it out of his mind come race day.
“This weekend is the one that first comes to mind when you think of the OSCAAR tour”, says ‘The Crowd Pleaser’. “With that said, I’d like to think that I have a handle on my nerves – particularly in big race situations. I expect to feel nervous on Saturday. I think nervous is a good thing if you’re feeling it when you’re loading up, or signing in at the pit gate or even pushing the car across the scales before qualifying. But, when the helmet is on and the belts go ‘click’, it will be business as usual. I’ll be behind the wheel of a racecar, and it might as well be a Thunder Car feature at Peterborough Speedway in 1993. That’s where I’m hoping to have my mindset”
Gate times and ticket prices for the 16th annual Don Biederman Memorial can be found at www.SunsetSpeedway.ca
Kelly Balson’s weekend will be made possible thanks to London Recreational Racing, Dan McHattie Racecars and Cochrane Automotive.
By Spencer Lewis (@itsspencerlewis)