Only a couple of weeks into the season, Ken Cassidy Jr. realized that his goal to become champion might just become a reality if he played his cards right.
“Consistency was the key factor in our year turning out the way it did,” says the 2007 Mini Stock champion. “At the start of the season that was our game plan, and it worked.”
An auto body technician at Charles Toyota in Norwich , the 24-year old Cassidy comes from a family with deep racing roots.
“My father Ken Sr. ran Street Stocks for a number of years, and won a lot of races. It’s been his experience that’s helped guide me in the right direction in my style of driving. One of the main things he taught me is that in order to do well, you have to concentrate on finishing. Hopefully, everything else will fall into place.”
A typical low-buck operation, the team has learned to use their limited resources well.
“This is an expensive sport, and you have to try and save where you can,” he continues. “Back when my dad raced, they used to call the place where they kept the cars the “Blue Sky Garage” because they stored and worked on the cars outdoors. That’s low-buck. By trying to race cleanly and treat other drivers the way you want to be treated, it’s a lot easier on the equipment and makes it more affordable.”
In only their third season of Mini Stock competition, the team has amassed an impressive record. “In our rookie year, we finished 8th in points. Coming back in 2006, it was 7th. In all, I think it’s been 14 victories counting 2007,” states Cassidy.
Knowing that the title was on the line going into Finale Weekend, the days prior to the event had the usually composed Cassidy a bit on-edge. He put all worries to rest by winning the 50-lap feature at the Finale.
“We knew it was going to be tough going into the last event,” he says. “ The points were just so tight, anything could have happened. I didn’t sleep or eat very well the week before. Beating guys like Danny Field, Joe Godbout, and the others that normally run up-front is never easy, but there was a title on the line this time, so it added extra pressure. Thankfully, I got a break early, and was able to win my third-straight Finale. Like my dad said, things fell into place.”
The Late Model division is a long-term goal.
“I’d really like to get into a Late Model at some point, as that’s been my dream,” he says.. “It’s probably not going to happen soon, as right now we’re happy being one of the front-runners in a class where we can afford to field a winning car. I’ll be back in 2008 to defend my title.”
Sources: Dave Dykes/Waterford Speedbowl PR