The show is part of a weekend that will also see return of NASCAR action to the legendary speedway's one mile layout, with the running of the Camping World Truck Series Good Sam Roadside Assistance 200. As they get ready for the early spring spectacular, Andy Ford and his team will be making significant changes to the car that finished 4th in points during Kawartha's 2011 season.
"Our engine let go just 11 laps into the show in November and that brought an early end to the day," said Ford. "We'll be heading south next month with new 602 crate power plant under the hood, a manual transmission instead of the automatic we usually run and a spring change. It'll make for some hard work and late hours in the garage, but I'm confident of the run we'll have."
Willie Reyns endured some ignitions problems during his maiden racing voyage south of the border. Like his Scarborough, Ontario counterpart Ford, the 2 time Kawartha Speedway thunder car champion – who calls Port Hope, Ontario home – had high hopes for his efforts in the November event.
"I'd qualified 19th in a field of 53 starters and with about 50 laps in the books, I was running just outside the top 10," said Reyns. "There was a caution and we had the ignition fail on the re-start. We went quite a few laps down trying to diagnose the problem, but still managed a 28th place finish. I was pleased with that result for our first crack, but I'm hoping for a top 10 finish when we go back in April."
Reyns says work on the car has been ongoing since the November show. The team has made a few minor changes to the set-up that'll hopefully allow him to pick-up a little more speed. The driver who finished second in 2011 points and scored a pair of main event wins went on to say that a driver needs to be smooth and keep-up the momentum on a track like Rockingham.
"Our 350 crate engine is down about 75 horsepower compared to the bigger 409's that the frontrunners have," said Reyns. "My game plan is to find a dancing partner with one of the guys running the bigger engines and ride with him for a while. The 2 car draft seems to be the fast way around Rockingham in the Kimmel street stocks."
Going into the race, Andy Ford has added veteran thunder car racer Craig Scott to his race day line-up. He'll supply a tow vehicle for the trip and serve as spotter for the race. He's also brought Bourque Transmission and TJT Racing Products on board to compliment his sponsor line-up of JP Accounting, Advanced Hydraulics, Herco Lift, Top Side Racing Chassis, EX-LL Custom Welding and Clarke Motorsports Communications. Willie Reyns will make the trip south with support from Don Stacey Electric, Cobourg Development Services, Acme Electric, Kelly's Homelike Inn, Appleman Carstar Collision Centre, Pursey's Yacht Portage and Clarke Motorsports Communications.
Dropping the Rockinghammer: Fans can follow Andy Ford and Willie Reyns at www.facebook.com. Willie Reyns' web-site is www.reynsracing87.com or @Reyns87 on Twitter. Track the April 14th Rockingham event at www.streetstocknationals.com...Kawartha Speedway's 2012 season takes the green flag Friday, June 1st. See the complete schedule and the latest off-season news at www.kawarthaspeedway.com.Prepared by Jim Clarke / Clarke Motorsports Communications