MOUNT FOREST, ON- 12-months ago, it was easy to think that multi-time Autumn Colours Classic winner Shaun McWhirter had lived his last days as a competitor in Ontario’s short track scene. His Streamline Race Products business was flourishing, and McWhirter appeared to relish his role as a Crew Chief and Driver Coach for several Ontario drivers. However, when Luke Ramsay and APC partnered to form the United Late Model Series, McWhirter was hooked.
“I wasn’t even sure I wanted to come back racing,” admits McWhirter. “The business was doing really well and I was keeping busy helping guys at different tracks – it made for a pretty hectic schedule. I just don’t have the time to run my own weekly program like I did ten years ago”
“But, as soon as I heard about the tour, I knew we had to put something together,” continues the longtime Pro Late Model standout with a smile.
The Mount Forest, ON driver worked throughout the offseason to assemble a Grand American Race Cars chassis in his SRP-shop with the intention of following the entirety of the 8-race schedule.
McWhirter’s return was not immediately met with good fortune, after qualifying struggles left his No. 31 on the sidelines during the inaugural event at Sunset Speedway on May 23rd.
“We were happy just to take a few lessons and move on from that one,” opines McWhirter when asked about the outing.
However, ‘The Delaware Dancer’ was quick to rebound, scoring a 12th place finish in Round 2 of the tour at Flamboro Speedway just weeks later.
“I was happy with the way the car performed at Flamboro,” says McWhirter. “After not having raced for a few seasons, it took a few laps for everything to come back to me, but by the end of the race it felt completely natural”
“We found a few things that we were able to tweak and adjust ahead of Delaware,” continues McWhirter. “I’m confident the car will be even better than it was at Flamboro. I’m sure there’s going to be a stacked field on Friday – but we should have something for the top-10”
When asked about the level of competition on the tour, McWhirter marveled at how tightly contested the opening rounds have been.
“I think it’s great to see so many top-tier teams running within a couple tenths of one another,” muses the veteran. “You won’t find this kind of roster anywhere else in the province. Maybe even the country. This is just about as tough as it gets”
“Short track racing in this province needed this tour,” continues McWhirter. “We’re happy to be a part of it – and we’re going to keep working until we have the package necessary to contend for a win.”
Details for June 26th’s Sifton 100 can be found at www.DelawareSpeedway.com.
Shaun McWhirter’s 2015 campaign is made possible thanks to the support of BLM Transportation, Grand American Race Cars and Streamline Race Products.
By Spencer Lewis (@itsspencerlewis)