There’s an old racing cliché that claims championships are won just as much in the shop as they are on the track.
For Kyle Gero in 2017, however, it wasn’t a cliché, it was reality. And he has the big trophy to prove it.
“Our goal was to go out and race every single race like it was a must win,” Gero said. “We worked so hard week in and week out It was non-stop work. A lot of people didn’t put in the effort during the week in the shop that we did. My dad always says if you arrive at the track and have to work on your car, you’ve screwed up. You have to be ready when you get there.”
Gero obviously was ready. He captured seven wins in 11 starts to capture the 2017 X-Car championship by 23 points over Wayne Shifflett. The exclamation point to his season took place in August when the X-Cars had double features. Gero started the first feature in 18th place and weaved his way through the traffic to win.
In the second feature he started 31st and also wheeled his way to the winner’s circle, giving him a hefty lead in the point standings.
“That second race was a 30-lap feature, and to go from 31st to the lead in 30 laps is an amazing feeling,” Gero said. “I never let starting position hinder what’s going on. You just try to have four good wheels underneath you with 10 or 15 laps to go and then give it all you’ve got.”
Gero decided to give it all he had from the first race of the season. There was no mistaking what his 2017 goal was.
“Our goal was plain and simple,” Gero said, “to win a championship. We felt we had a good shot in 2016, but we were hurt by mechanical failures at the start of the season. This season we were out to win it all. This would probably be our last season in the X-Car division and we wanted to go out with a bang.”
Gero started the season with two wins in the first three races, but then hit his only pothole during the season and finished ninth.
“Everyone gets one or two mulligans during the course of a season,” Gero said. “We weren’t going to let one bad finish hinder our bid to win the championship. We decided to keep building and moving forward.
”Our plan was to having the best-prepared car to the track that we could, and that’s what we kept doing.”
Gero’s support group consists of his dad Mike, his mother Kim, his sister Melanie and his longtime girlfriend Kayla.
His sponsors include KLT Industries, Park Roway Commercial Doors, Thames Electric, Advanced Overhead Door, Spafco Race Chassis, Jester’s Signs and Apparel, 1-800 Blacktop and Lathrop Construction.
In 2018, Gero plans on moving up to the Limited Sportsman division at Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park.
His last hurrah in an X-Car, however, turned into a season to remember. Hard work in the shop was transformed into a storybook year at the track.