OSHAWA, ON – Ontario Modified Series heavyweight John Baker Jr. will roll into Sunset Speedway’s Spring Velocity event this weekend in search of a marquee victory to open his 2017 season. However, marquee event or not, Baker insists his family-operated team always has their gaze focused on the front of the field no matter when and where they’re racing.
“We don’t bring a car to the speedway for any reason other than to win,” laughs the fan favourite when asked his goals for the 2017 kickoff event. “I love being at the speedway. My family loves being at the speedway. It’s something we’ve always done and it’s something I think we’ll always love doing together. But – when we show up with a trailer and a car it’s only to find a way to get that thing to the front. We’re not interested in being also-rans”
The multi-time Mosport Speedway champion credits the OMRS Tour with providing a competitor-friendly atmosphere, which has led to Baker – amongst other industry veterans – buying into the OMRS system and committing to multi-event seasons with the series.
“I think the [Ontario Modified Racing Series] has a ton of potential,” says Baker. “I mean, look at the roster we’ve got now, and tell me it’s not getting better every year. Every team out here is improving every week and doing everything they can to learn and get better. That’s exactly the kind of environment you want to be a part of as a competitor. Last season the guys we were passing pretty easily in May were making life a lot harder for us in September – and that’s one of the things I love most about this tour”
Heading into this weekend’s event, the second-generation racer carries the confidence of a man intent on collecting another victory at one of his favourite facilities.
“We love Sunset Speedway,” smiles the Oshawa, ON native. “It wasn’t always like that, trust me. It took me a few starts and a few mistakes to really figure the place out”
“But, now, I like to think that anytime we unload there we have a pretty decent chance of putting together a good run. It’s tough not to fall in love with a place that can give you two solid grooves to run in and that’s exactly what Sunset has”
And while Baker is a certified favourite to head to victory lane at virtually any facility he unloads at, the veteran explains he’s not entirely sold on the idea of committing to a run towards the Ontario Modified Racing Series championship in 2017.
“I don’t think we really have a plan for what we want to do this season,” shrugs Baker. “I wouldn’t mind doing the full deal with the [OMRS] but it all really depends on what my wife and kids want to do. We’re a family-owned and family-run team. So, if they aren’t having fun, we’re not coming out. I’ll go where they want to go and do what they want to do”
“If they keep having fun at these OMRS races then you’ll see more of us,” smiles the former Autumn Colours Classic winner. “Maybe we’ll chase the championship and maybe we’ll take a few weeks off in the middle of the summer. You never know with us.”