GUELPH, ON- Despite his run of poor fortune in APC Series-sanctioned event this season, Mike ‘Lights Out’ Bentley has displayed consistent speed and an indefatigable will to compete. On Saturday night, Bentley will put both of those attributes to the test when he lines up alongside the rest of the tour regulars, vying for a guaranteed starting spot in the lauded Autumn Colours Classic.
The pole starting position for ‘the Classic’ will be awarded, in addition to full APC Series points and purse money, to the winner of July 18th’s 100-lap event. For Bentley, the provisional would put him one step closer to becoming a 3-time Autumn Colours Classic winner.
“The fact that we’re racing for a starting spot at the [Autumn Colours] Classic is reason enough to get excited for Saturday night,” beams Bentley. “If racing for the pole position at the biggest event of the year isn’t enough to get you focused – you need your pulse checked. This is huge”
When asked if his rough start to 2015 will at all play a role in how he approaches Saturday’s event, ‘Lights Out’ is quick to refute the notion.
“We reset and regroup after every race,” notes the Guelph, ON-based driver. “It doesn’t matter if we have a good run or a bad run, when we come back the next week it’s a whole new ballgame. This year, it’s most certainly been more bad than good, but we can’t let that dominate our frame of mind”
“A strong run at Peterborough would mean everything when it comes to our team’s confidence,” continues Bentley. “Because, as much as every race starts anew for us, this season has been hard. I feel like we’ve shown a lot of speed and potential, and just haven’t been able to put it all together yet. That’s tough on a small team like ours. Especially when you’re spending 20-hours in the shop between races just to be ready”
Often criticized for a lack of patience, Bentley’s main focus entering the 100-lap affair will be a renewed game plan built around restraint and moderation.
“We just need to let the race come to us,” says the former Sunset Speedway champion plainly. “The number one knock on us this season is that we haven’t been patient – and that’s 100% accurate. Peterborough is unforgiving if you put yourself in a bad spot. We’ve been too aggressive in the past couple races, and that’s a mistake that we can’t afford to make on Saturday”
“If we can start up front and find a home on the inside, we’ll be ok. It’s really easy to get shuffled back there if you get hung up on the outside. A late race restart can send you from 2nd to 5th before you even realize what happened”
“We’re just going to settle in for the first half,” continues Bentley. “I’m taking this race in 10-lap intervals. I know that this team needs a good run, but I also want to make sure that we load this car in one piece at the end of the night. It’s a fine line, but we’re going to have to walk it”
“And, when it’s all said and done, if we have a starting spot for the Classic in our hip pocket, I’ll be even happier.”
Details for Saturday’s 100-lap APC United Late Model Series event can be found at www.PeterboroughSpeedway.com.
Fans can stay up to date with ‘Lights Out’ and the rest of the team by following on Twitter @MikeBentley51 and by visiting the official Mike Bentley Racing page on Facebook.
By Spencer Lewis (@itsspencerlewis)