Story By: ASHLEY MCCUBBIN / SPENCER-WALT MOTORSPORTS – PETERBOROUGH, ONT – The cat is out of the bag for the 2019 plans for Spencer-Walt Motorsports as Rick Spencer-Walt revealed the team’s plans for the upcoming season.
During an appearance on Race Time Radio on Sunday, Spencer-Walt announced that he will be returning back to Sunset Speedway in 2019, set to compete in the Sauble Falls Tent and Trailer Park Limited Late Model division behind the wheel of a brand new McColl Racing Enterprises chassis.
“The competition is great,” Spencer-Walt said of Sunset Speedway. “Gord (Shepherd) and I were good buddies, we’ve been big rivals and I think we’re getting along better now than we have, so hopefully we can do some door-to-door racing there. Danny (Benedict) is a helluva driver and I can’t wait to race against him again. Just everybody over there. Sauble is a long drive for us; it was nice to go over there and win, but Sunset seems to be more of our home.
“Family, friends, sponsors all seem to come from there so returning home with a few new sponsors, a new car, and momentum on our side. I feel like we can go after that championship there. I’ve won the championship at Barrie, Sauble, Peterborough; I kinda wanna do the circle around here.
Spencer-Walt is coming off an incredible campaign that saw him pick up the Sauble Speedway Late Model Championship following a season-long battle with Jason Parker.
“The team worked very hard and I worked on my driving,” Spencer-Walt said. “I watched a lot of video at Sauble; didn’t know the place. I followed Jason around, followed Marvin (Freiburger) around, followed a few others guys there that are good – followed (Josh) Stade a lot; he’s very good there with Brian (MacDonald) helping him out at the time. It was a big learning curve but I love challenges and I felt that was a challenge. When six of the top guys from sunset decided to go over there after what happened, it became a pretty competitive field of late models there.”
Additionally, he also ran the full Great Lakes Concrete Series schedule between Sauble and Sunset Speedway, running solidly through the first five races with three victories, a runner-up, and a fourth to enter the series finale with the points lead. A mechanical issue would park the No. 31w on Lap 19 of the Velocity 250, leaving Spencer-Walt on the sidelines as he watched on to see where his competitors would place and if the previous finishes were enough. It would barely enough, as he would tie with Jordan Lawrence for the points lead, getting the tie-breaker virtue of the wins.
The team will be keeping the chassis that led them to their success this past season in the stable, renting it out to Robbie Sikes.
“It is pretty cool to have him join the team,” Spencer-Walt said. “He’s a good long time friend of mine.”
For Sikes, it brings forth a great opportunity for success in his own right behind the wheel of a Super Stock.
“This season is shaping up to be one of my best in a long time,” Sikes said. “It’s no secret the sport isn’t in the best state and opportunities like this are few and far between. I’m looking forward to seeing what I can do with such an accomplished car and crew.
“To get an opportunity like this is just unreal. I don’t think it has fully set in yet. There’s a lot of history between Rick and myself – a lot of fun had over the years. I’m excited to get back to that. I’ve also known Eldon a long time; he used to help Ed Byers who was a vital part of getting my racing career rolling. After the last two seasons I’ve had, for them to still believe in my ability as a race car driver, is a great feeling.”
While there is lots going on with their Limited Late Model program, the Pro Late Model will also be part of their plans for the 2019 campaign following Spencer-Walt’s first career APC Auto Parts United Late Model Series victory at Sunset Speedway in August.
“We do have a good pro late model program too; it’s just that takes a lot of money, a lot of time, and a lot of crew to tour around Ontario to all of these tracks and most of them are a couple hours from us,” Spencer-Walt explained. “Sunset is the closest, but it’s still 40 minutes from me which is fine. I like jumping in to that car and showing up to the odd race and running up front. I feel like you’re stronger when you do that. Not a lot of guys jump into that series for one-off races and win like we did, or run in the top-three and I feel like we can do that whenever we want to jump into that car. Its just going to take some time.”
Spencer-Walt added the team will likely run the Pro Late Model events at Sunset Speedway, while getting “a motor and shocks ready for Jukasa” Motor Speedway for the second annual Canadian Short Track Nationals.
“Bubba (Pollard) came up and waxed everybody last time, and I don’t think any of us wanna look that bad again,” he commented. “I know there’s a lot of work going on down at McColl’s, and I know Jr (Hanley) definitely has new ideas and things to try. I think we just need to get up to standards with these guys. I mean, they’re shifting and running the best stuff around, but they’re doing it every other day down in the States and we’re doing it once a week here. So definitely need to get our program in order if we’re going to run with those guys.”
Through the new year as the season gets closer, the Eldon Wallis-owned team will announce the returning, and new marketing partners for their program.