HAMILTON, ON- Short Track veteran Terry Baker will strap into a Pro Late Model for the first time in over two decades this Saturday, when the APC United Late Model Series rolls into Flamboro Speedway for the ‘Meineke 100’.
The event will serve as the second race on an eight-event schedule for the upstart tour, and will pit the former Open Wheel Modified winner against the top Late Model stars in Ontario.
“I haven’t felt this excited for a race in a long time,” beams Baker from his team’s Hamilton, ON race shop. “I’m full of nervous energy. I’ve missed this. I feel like I did as a teenager getting ready for a Canadian National Motorcross event”
“It’s been 22-years since I’ve been in a full-bodied Late Model,” continues Baker
Adding with a laugh, “what better way to shake the rust off than with a 100-lapper against the very best in the province, right?”
Baker will pilot the same No. 26 that Cayden Lapcevich nearly drove to a top-10 finish in the opening round of the tour at Sunset Speedway in late-May, before being caught in a late-wreck and suffering a frustrating DNF.
“This car is an incredible piece,” says Baker. “I couldn’t ask for much more. It showed a ton of speed at Sunset with Cayden driving – and we’ve a lot of work into it over the past two weeks to make it even better”
“Paul Howse won a lot of races with this car before we picked it up, so it knows its way around Flamboro, that’s for sure,” chuckles the personable veteran. “Once we get the driver up to speed – I think we’ll have what it takes to get to the front”
Although Baker has spent weeks preparing for the 100-lap event, he’s well aware of the learning curve that awaits him.
“So much of this experience is going to be brand new for me,” offers the former Pro 4 Modified standout. “I haven’t raced against 90% of the guys on this tour – so there will definitely be a bit of a feeling out process on Saturday night”
“I’ve never time trialed before – so I hope I’m a quick study. Because Flamboro is a tough place to make a move at – and we really don’t want to be tasked with driving up through the field”
“Our team is in this to have some fun. We’re not racing for a championship – we’re just out to test ourselves against the best”
When asked about the competition, Baker wastes little time in explaining just how much he thinks of the talent-laden roster and what it will take to formulate a strong run on Saturday night.
“I have all the respect in the world for the drivers on this tour. If I didn’t think we could compete right alongside them – and have a shot at winning – then I wouldn’t even bother unloading on Saturday”
“The key word through the first 50-laps is going to be survival. Flamboro can beat you up if you let it – and I think you’re going to see a fair share of contact through the first half of the race”
“This race is going to be won in the final 25-laps. Our strategy is just to make it to lap-76 and see where we stack up with the rest of the field. As close the field was at Sunset, I really feel like anyone inside the top-10 will be able to take a run at the win in the last 25-laps.”
Terry Baker’s Pro Late Model return will be made possible thanks to the support of Ohsweken Speedway, EPIC Racewear, Bryan’s Auction Center, JustJunk.com of Hamilton, Baker Performance of Hamilton, Permatex and NAPA Auto Parts.
Fans can keep up with Terry all season long by visiting the official Terry Baker Racing page on Facebook.
For information on Saturday’s APC United Late Model Series event visit www.FlamboroSpeedway.ca.
By Spencer Lewis (@itsspencerlewis)