Palmer prepares for Late Model stretch runwaterford
Press release from New London-Waterford Speedbowl
WATERFORD — There’s one thing a driver needs when he’s in a tight battle for a track championship — more speed.
That’s what Jason Palmer is looking for as the New London-Waterford Speedbowl Late Model title chase goes down to the final three races of the season, including Saturday’s 30-lap feature.
Palmer’s lead has been chopped to one point over Anthony Flannery with 90 laps left in the season.
“We just got to do our homework,” Palmer said. “Our car has to get a little better. I don’t think we have a bad car. We just have to come up with a way to get more out of it. We’re looking for overall speed.””
Flannery, meanwhile, has been on the hottest streak of his Late Model career with four wins in his last five races.
“I don’t think Anthony was that fast early in the year, but he’s figured out something,” Palmer said. “Now we’re playing catch-up.”
Palmer says it’s tough to play catch-up because of the unpredictable nature of a Late Model.
“Sometimes you don’t know that things are wrong with the car until you need it on a restart with three laps to go,” Palmer said. “It tough to know how a car is going to react.”
Palmer said that speed is important, but it isn’t the only factor that comes into play when trying to win races.
“Last week we were good on the stopwatch,” Palmer said. “We were better on time. But we couldn’t race with the car. You also have to be good on restarts and with racing side-by-side, and the car just didn’t react quickly enough.
“The car needs to be strong everywhere. You have to be able to hold your car in one lane without scrubbing any speed off. It’s a challenge.”
When you’re involved in a tights point race, every aspect of the car has to be perfect, including its durability.
“During the last few weeks, we’ve been spending extra time checking out the car, making sure nothing is wrong,” Palmer said. “We’re giving the car plenty of attention because we don’t want something stupid to happen. We don’t want to go crazy, but we want to make sure the car is as good as we can get it.”
Palmer has been through the championship grind before. He has five Speedbowl championships, including one Late Model title (2015), three Wednesday Legends titles (2007, 2008 and 2009) and one Saturday crown (2009). So he knows what chasing the Big Trophy is all about.
“Every year is different and anything can happen,” Palmer said/ “There was one year I was leading going into the last week of the season and I finished third. And then there was one year I was second going into the last week and I won the championship.
“It all depends on the cards that you’re dealt. “
Palmer’s sponsors includes Sign Pro, CWPM, Manafort Brothers, Pkon Projects, Gallagher Buick-GMC and Waddell Communications.
“So many things can go wrong, and so many things can go right,” Palmer said. “You just have to be smart about it.
“I just hope it comes down to clean, hard racing and let the best man win.”
Palmer, who has 71 career wins, good for seventh on the all-time Speedbowl win list is hoping that the best man would be him.
“We found a couple of things with the car last night and they might have been holding us back,” Palmer said. “This is a lot like a game of poker. You don’t want to show all your cards too soon. But I think we have something good coming.”
Palmer usually does.
The Late Model points battle isn’t the only tight fight-taking place at the Speedbowl. Wayne Burroughs leads Jonathan Puleo by a mere two points in the SK Light Modifieds and Charles Canfield has a five-point edge over Doug Curry in the fight for the Mini Stock crown.
In other divisions, Kyle James leads by 29 points over Rob Janovic Jr. in the SK Modifieds point chase, Peter Bennett has a 29-point cushion over Scott Limkemann in the Saturday Legends battle, Shawn Gaedeke has a 36 point advantage over Jason Chicolas in the Sportsman chase and Duane Noll has a 28 point edge over Todd Taylor in his quest to win a third consecutive Truck title.
Contact Mike Serluca at firstname.lastname@example.org
Photos courtesy of Passingbird Photography