ORO STATION, ON – Despite the fact that his Ridge Road Racing No. 10 is the most hotly pursued ride on the Sunset Speedway Late Model roster, current point leader Gord Shepherd shows no ill effects entering this Saturday’s NWAAS-sanctioned event.
Instead, the reigning and defending champion has his trademark cool on display as he prepares to once again fend off fellow championship hopefuls Nick Goetz, Taylor Holdaway and Rick Walt.
“I think hanging on to the top spot is always going to be tougher than taking it in the first place,” opines Shepherd. “We’ve been chased before. It’s an intense feeling. We know the teams behind us in the standings are getting ready to throw everything they’ve got at us. We’ll be ready. It’s nothing new”.
And while it’s clear that Shepherd has no shortage of respect for his competition, the provincial standout is confident his Shelswell Racing-supported outfit is up to the task.
“The guys that are chasing us are no slouches,” shrugs the defending champion. “All of these teams have a lot invested in their programs and are able to win on any given night. They want this just as bad as we do, I’m sure”.
“The top-5 in the [Sunset Speedway] standings are the best of the best in this division across Ontario,” continues Shepherd. “And the fact that they all have us in their cross-hairs is a huge motivator. We won’t be cutting any shop nights short from now until September”.
With only 11-points separating Shepherd from his nearest pursuer, the highly coveted spot atop the division is anything but secured.
“I haven’t looked at the points gap – we’re not going to start obsessing over numbers,” says the veteran. “There’s a long way to go in the season and we can’t start getting distracted with worrying about who’s behind us in the standings and how much of a cushion we have. It doesn’t matter if we’re leading by 1 or 100 points, we can’t stop working”.
“I’m just focused on our team and our program and how well our car is working,” shrugs ‘The Smoke’.
“I’m fortunate to have the same team I’ve chased championships with in the past. That experience makes all the difference. We’re just going to remember to stay as calm as we can on race day and have fun with it. That’s the most important part”.
Gord Shepherd will take his next step towards back-to-back Sunset Speedway Late Model championships this Saturday, June 17th.