Story By: ASHLEY MCCUBBIN / BRIDGE RACING – KINCARDINE, ONT – After chasing after championships the past couple of seasons, the focus is solely on getting to victory lane as many times as possible for Kevin Bridge in 2019.
The two-time Sauble Speedway Champion will be running 10 events across Canada, with a possible trip being planned across the border.
“The way I put the schedule together, I made it so we could have more family time with Riley starting school,” Kevin Bridge noted. “So we’re trying to do a lot of more races before school gets out, and then after school gets back, and then have the summer to spend with the family.
“With Sauble dropping their Mini Stock program, for me to go and run somewhere else for points, it’s just too much of a commitment to take away from the entire summer that we would have. Like Sunset is almost three hours away from me, Flamboro is two and a half – so there isn’t any other great options. So we talked the sponsors and got their blessing to do some bigger races, and not run for points anywhere.”
Bridge will kick off his 2019 campaign at Sunset Speedway, taking part in their opening night of competition on April 27.
“I always love opening nights,” he commented. “You kind of know whose done their work during the off-season. So we’re going to try and show up opening night at Sunset, and use that as a test session / spring board into a back-to-back Spring Velocity win.”
He then return to the Innisfil, Ontario oval in May with hopes of defending his Spring Velocity victory from a year ago.
As it stands right now, there will only one date in June the familiar No. 17 will be on-track, with an appearance at Flamboro Speedway on June 8. The night promises to be action-packed with the APC Auto Parts United Late Models of Ontario Series also in action that night.
“ I honestly think that Flamboro is headed in the right direction,” Bridge commented. “For a while, they kind of off everybody’s radar because they kept their rules in-check; they didn’t let people go blow their wallets, and now they’re reaping the benefits of that with 18 to 20 cars a night. I think they’re kind of that silent little nugget that people don’t even realize, and it’s not just the mini stocks but their late model program has flourished and can rival any of the short tracks in Ontario.
“So I’m excited to go to Flamboro and race on their APC night because I think that’s going to be a really good show. I think they’ll see some additional mini stock cars come into that, because of the way the rules are, and the fact their willing to work with you so you can run if you’re not totally fit to their rules. I’m excited to get down there, and race with some of those guys.”
Bridge has been successful at Flamboro in the past, scoring a victory in the first of the double features for the Frostoberfest event two years ago. Unfortunately, he would not take home the overall after getting taken out while making a pass for third.
The month of July is tentatively set to begin at Grand Bend Speedway on the 7th, followed by what is being deemed as the biggest event of the year for Mini Stocks – Jukasa Motor Speedway on July 25.
“I think everybody in the Mini Stocks has that one circled on their calendar,” Bridge said. “It’s the best short track facility in Canada right now, if not North America, for the amount of money that they’ve put into that track. It’s going to be a great show as I can see 20-25 cars easily there, which will still be a great race with having the cream of crop there. “
The month of August will see him return to his home-track, Sauble Speedway, on the 4th as part of their Civic Holiday weekend special. He will then make his second appearance of the month at Sunset Speedway later that month on the 18th.
The month of September is set to tentative begin with a trip north of the border to Birch Run Speedway in Michigan on the 7th. Depending how the trip goes, it could set the stage for plans moving forward into 2020 and beyond with Kevin Bridge Racing.
Bridge is also set to take part in the short track season of Ontario racing, taking part in the Velocity 250 at Sunset Speedway, Northern Nationals at Full Throttle Motor Speedway, and Frostoberfest at Flamboro Speedway.
The 2018 campaign saw the No. 17 visit victory lane on multiple occasions at both Sunset Speedway and Sauble Speedway, with Bridge scoring a runner-up finish in both the Sauble year-end standings and the Great Lakes Concrete Series points.
“It’s almost like a year to forget,” he commented. “A lot of people would be happy winning seven, eight features in a year – and I am, I don’t want to take away from that. But at the same time, I didn’t accomplish what I set out too. I’m my hardest critic and I went into last year wanting to win both championships and finished second in both.
“So I don’t want to say it bugs me, but it just I left something on the table. The first night I went up there (to Sauble Speedway), I had engine issues and it set me back 20-some points the very first night. So I was in a massive hole to climb out of, and ended up coming within a couple points of winning. So it was just a season of coming close in both, and the caliber of team we try to be and want to be, we have to have more consistency in it.
“That’s what we’re going for in the program this year. Even though we aren’t running for a championship, when we show up, we want to show up and do well. We don’t want it to be, ‘I blew up’ or something like that.”
Kevin Bridge Racing is proud to be supported by LiUNA, Castrol Canada, Spira Fire Protection, FS UPi Energy, Kincardine Country Depot, and Bridgehaven Angus.
Be sure to keep up on all the happenings this season by liking the Kevin Bridge Racing facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/Kevinbridgeracing/, and following Bridge on twitter at https://twitter.com/BridgeRacing.