ORILLIA, ON – Months removed from finishing second to 2016 Sunset Speedway NASCAR Late Model champion Gord Shepherd, multi-time feature winner Taylor Holdaway will take his first steps on the road to redemption this Saturday night.
The second-generation star insists his Holdaway Automotive-backed outfit is not interested in slowly acclimating themselves back to the rigours of competition.
“There isn’t a single guy on this team that needs a warm up to shake off the rust,” laughs Holdaway.
“We’ve been in game mode for months. Our entire winter has been about planning and research. We don’t have the luxury of taking a slow approach to things. We need to get right back to work as if we haven’t had any time off at all”
After his highlight reel battle with Shepherd that seemed to stretch the entirety of Sunset’s 2016 season, Holdaway admits his plans for this coming Summer look much different.
“I want to be in the driver’s seat as far as the points standings are concerned,” says the 2015 Sunset Speedway champion. “The goal is to hopefully win the opener, get out front in the points and stay there”
“We’ve chased guys and been chased the last couple years – and there’s a lot less to think about when you’re padding a lead compared to where your mind is at when you’re working to catch someone in the standings”
When asked of his rivalry with Shepherd, the well-spoken 20-something is quick to explain that any heat between the two competitors is purely professional.
“I’ve said it before – I have all the respect in the world for Gord [Shepherd] and the Ridge Road [Racing] guys,” says the Orillia, ON product. “It’s our respect for them that makes our team want to beat them so badly. They unload on Saturday to win. That’s it. That’s the only reason they’re here – and I admire that more than anything”
“Gord is the kind of guy that makes you stay up late and wake up early if you want to beat him,” adds Holdaway. “That kind of competition makes you better in every possible way”
With Holdaway, Shepherd and former Autumn Colours Classic champion Travis Hallyburton all pegged as early season threats for the Sunset championship, ‘Hollywood’ knows that eyes will be on the headline division throughout the duration of the next five months.
“I might be a little biased, but I think the fans are going to get their money’s worth every week watching this division,” smiles the perennial contender. “Gord, Travis [Hallyburton] and I all want this championship. We’ve all got really good equipment and some really good people behind us”
“It’s going to come down to who works harder and who has luck on their side when they need it,” continues Holdaway. “We’re all in our prime right now. We’re all knocking on that door. It’s going to be exciting every single week.”
Photo credit to ialphotography