Ennismore, ON- In most sports, they say you can’t tell the players without a program. Mention the name ‘Junkin’ during role call at a Peterborough Speedway driver’s meeting and you’ll immediately see three hands in the air.
Campaigning a three car team at a venue known as Canada’s Toughest 1/3-Mile Paved Oval would be considered by some to be an arduous task, but for Tyler Junkin, his family and friends doing just that has become a way of life. The 29 year old from Ennismore, Ontario not only looks after his own equipment – the #41 Mini Stock that finished third in the 2014 point standings – he also takes care of the machines run by his sister Ember and his mother Marilyn in the Mini Stock and 4Fun divisions at Peterborough Speedway. Junkin says he enjoys the challenge that comes with building the cars and making them fast.
“Racing has always been a results driven sport,” said Junkin. “Having any of our teams – whether my car, Mom’s or Ember’s – run well is very rewarding. It makes the effort we put into getting everything to the track every Saturday night very satisfying.”
Based on his career statistics – including the 2010 Autumn Colours championship and second place finishes in 2011, 2013 and 2014 – Tyler Junkin’s car is the lead piece in the TMC Motorsports stable, but that doesn’t mean he gets preferential treatment leading into weekly action on the tight, tricky bullring on Mount Pleasant Road, west of the Liftlock City. Ember Junkin finished 14th in Mini Stock points while running a limited schedule and Marilyn Junkin – affectionately known as ‘Mama’ – was fourth in last year’s 4Fun standings and 13th in the 2013 Mini Stock chase.
“If we race it, we’ve built it,” said Tyler Junkin. “The three cars that we bring to the track every weekend were all built in our shop from the ground up. Chassis, engines and every other component. If it breaks, we fix it. Nothing can replace the value of hard work. Sometimes, a strong run is more satisfying than a main event win, because of the effort it took to get the car to the track. It’s the same with my endurance car and with the Renegade Truck we ran a couple of years back.”
Almost in unison, Tyler, Ember and Marilyn Junkin say that they look forward to their time at the racetrack and being around the friends they’ve made over the years; but the trio is also concerned that sometimes egos get in the way of what should be a fun time for everyone. Ember Junkin says it’s unfortunate that when beating another becomes more important than enjoying yourself.
“When I raced 4Fun, we were like a big family,” said the 24 year old who works as a residential painter. “We said ‘sorry’ when we hit someone on the track or helped them pull out a dent. A victory celebration was something that everyone shared and made us all happy. Now, it’s almost like there’s a million bucks on the line. That’s not racing. It’s being petty.”
Like Tyler, Ember and Marilyn Junkin’s family race team on Facebook, www.facebook.com/tmcracin or follow the team on Twitter, @tmcmotorsports.
Fans can get details on this year’s full calendar when Peterborough Speedway participates in the first ever Canadian International Motorama Custom Car and Motorsports Expo – Friday, Saturday and Sunday, March 13 to 15 – at the International Centre in Toronto. There will also be pre-season displays April 10, 11 and 12 at the 37th annual Kawartha Home, Cottage and Country Show at the Evinrude Centre in Peterborough and April 12 through 18 at the Lindsay Square Shopping Mall.
Find the latest news leading up to the new campaign by visiting www.peterboroughspeedway.com or by liking the track on Facebook or following it on Twitter. You can also download the free Peterborough Speedway app on your Smartphone.
Prepared by: Jim Clarke, Clarke Motorsports Communications/First Draft Media