GUELPH, ON – Having spent the majority of the 2017 season relegated to the role of ‘spectator’ due to a lack of sponsorship, 2016 Sunset Speedway Super Stock champion Matt Bentley is relishing the opportunity to return to competition in 2018.
“I think racing has ups and downs that really aren’t like anything else,” says Bentley when asked to describe the last two years. “The sport as a whole can give you the biggest rush imaginable and then turn around and humble you before you even know what happened. You have to appreciate when things are going well – because you never know when they’re going to snap around on you.”
“We went from winning a championship to not having the funding to get the car out of the shop,” adds the multi-time Sunset Speedway feature winner. “Having to sit out last season was one of the toughest things I’ve ever had to do.”
“Now – I’m just happy to be back. We’ve got an amazing car and a great program that we’ve put together for this year. I’m ready to go hunting for some trophies and some Crown Jewels.”
And, after having spent most of the last decade competing fulltime at Sunset Speedway, Bentley has opted for a much lighter ‘outlaw’ schedule this season, competing at speedways across Ontario chasing invitational triumphs in addition to Great Lakes Concrete Super Stock Series wins.
“I’m a simple guy – and the fact that we can focus on one thing and one thing only this season is like music to my ears,” says the Guelph, ON native. “Every time we unload this year we’re going to be coming for the win and nothing else. That’s our only expectation.”
“I’m sure lots of guys will be out here tallying points and trying to figure out where they are in the standings but that doesn’t have anything to do with us this year. We’re all about leaving with the payout and the hardware these days – nothing else matters.”
Although his familiar No. 21 is still a threat to win at any speedway he unloads at, Bentley can’t help but credit the rest of the Super Stock division for the strides they’ve made in the year since he was the reigning Sunset Speedway champion.
“It’s pretty incredible to see how fast this division can change,” marvels Bentley. “We really haven’t been on the sidelines for long, but it’s tough not to notice how much quicker everyone has gotten. It’s motivated us, for sure. We’re on our grind again to make sure we have a package that can contend with these guys every time we hit the speedway.”
“The motto this year is ‘whatever it takes’,” continues the fan favourite. “No matter how many hours in the shop, no matter how much effort we have to put in at the track – we’re going to do what we have to do. Going back racing again is a huge opportunity and I want to make sure I take full advantage of it.”