LONDON, ON – A frustrating 2019 season and to qualify for Jukasa Motor Speedway’s Canadian Short Track Nationals event in September was surely not indicative of the hopes and expectations that Pro Late Model freshman Darrel Lake had for his 2019 campaign.
“By the time we were headed home from the (Canadian Short Track) Nationals I think the whole team was ready to admit that our season hadn’t gone to plan,” admits Lake with a shrug. “We had ambitious goals right from the start but we bit off far more than we could chew.”
“But the Jukasa weekend really helped us make some gains,” adds the personable rookie. “Even though we missed the race with alternator problems we learned so much about how these cars handle and it made a world of difference in my understanding of what works and what doesn’t with them.”
After attempting the first half of the cross-province APC United Late Model Series tour in 2019 – eventually competing in 5 of the 10 scheduled races – Lake plans to drop back to a more regional schedule in 2020.
Sporadic appearances in APC Series events at Delaware Speedway and Jukasa Motor Speedway will accompany Lake’s plans for a fulltime bid in Delaware Speedway’s weekly Pro Late Model division that has found itself in the midst of a noticeable resurgence in recent seasons.
“Learning a new car while travelling with the tour was too steep of a hill to climb,” offers Lake. “We were hitting new tracks with every race and that wasn’t giving us any chance to learn – especially in race conditions.”
“I felt like when we were at the tracks that I’m comfortable with we had competitive speed,” continues Lake. “I’ve learned a lot about the car after our first season and I’m excited to apply that to our schedule (in 2020) and see what we can do at the speedways we’re familiar with.”
While his 2019 season was hardly the way Lake had hoped to enter the wildly competitive Pro Late Model division, the gremlins that have thus far plagued the longtime Super Stock standout have done little to dull his optimism.
“They say that success is going from failure to failure without losing enthusiasm,” says Lake. “That’s what’s going to define us in this division. No matter how many times we get knocked down, we’re going to pick ourselves back up.”
“I know that we have a good car and the best team that a guy like me could possibly ask for. We have all the little pieces. We just need to put them together. I really believe that (2020) is going to give us the chance to take a big step forward.”