A new year to most commences when the calendar flips from December to January. In racing the new year begins the day after the final race of the season. For the Big Game Treestands #7 team this viewpoint was instilled in early November as the team spent the next few months at the Princeton, MN shop preparing for 2012. After accruing numerous hours doing countless tasks the hauler has at last been loaded and the team is heading south for warmer temperatures in Florida as anticipation builds for the World of Outlaws season that kicks off at the 41st Annual UNOH DIRTcar Nationals.
With a new season come new expectations, new excitement, and new challenges. Prior to leaving for five straight nights of competition at Volusia Speedway Park beginning on Wednesday, ‘The Crowd Pleaser’ shared some thoughts about the upcoming season.
RV: You finished 2011 tied for the most wins and nearly won a hand-full of others, which win did you enjoy the most?
CD: It would be one of three. The final night of Grand Forks to sweep the weekend, the Ironman 55 given the temperatures and humidity along with 55 laps was the most grueling race I’ve ever been in, or the Arnold Motor Supply Shootout that we promote in Spencer. They all were great wins for our team and even though the Ironman 55 is a big race on the Outlaws tour I would have to say Grand Forks. Winning that race on the last lap, last corner, after dropping back to sixth place at one point was the win I enjoyed the most. We had family and friends there along with some great fans and I enjoyed watching my daughter and her friend along with my niece having fun and carrying the trophy back to our transporter.
RV: The number of races this season has grown compared to last year, how important is it to have a few more weekday events?
CD: We lost quite a few shows to rain starting last year, that hurts financially. To have more races will be good as long as Mother Nature cooperates and we’re not traveling as many miles out of the way to get to some events. Getting a schedule together that flows well logistically isn’t easy but I think the Outlaws have done a pretty good job with the 2012 schedule.
RV: The schedule features a ‘Six Pack’ of events in May in the Northeast including a return to Lincoln Speedway, how tough will these races be against the PA Posse?
CD: The racing is always tough in PA but I enjoy racing out East. I have been to Lincoln a couple times and it seems like a racy track and a nice facility.
RV: You raced less this year in Australia, how much did you enjoy the extra time with family?
CD: We were there for a month last year and that’s a long time to be away from my kids. I didn’t want to be gone that long this year since I enjoy spending time with my kids, family, and friends in the offseason. We enjoy racing in Australia and New Zealand during the offseason but the amount of time Julie and I go over there changes from year to year. We enjoy snowmobiling, hunting, and spending time together with family and friends over the holidays and offseason when we can.
RV: How tough is it to open the season with five straight nights against a strong field of cars?
CD: Florida brings a lot of great teams from all over and is one of the most competitive arenas we race in all year. I like racing Volusia because they work hard to give us a good track every night and it’s great to start the season with five nights in a row at the same track. We know we should have won a few races there last year after leading 51 laps in the three Outlaw shows and not winning. We have worked hard to prepare for the start of the season and I feel we are ready and hope our luck is better there this year.
RV: What are you most looking forward to this year?
CD: We have a strong race team and even though we won nine races last year we know we should have won more. DJ Lindsey, my son Luke, and everyone involved with our team worked hard this offseason. We are focused on bettering ourselves for 2012. We have great sponsors starting with Big Game Treestands, Aggressive Hydraulics, and Eaton’s Aeroquip Performance Products. Starting with myself, we all want to go out and do a better job this year, win races, and keep ourselves in the hunt for the championship. The people who support us deserve that. We know what we’re capable of and that we fell short of some goals last year. We are going to work hard to exceed our goals this year for not only our sponsors and manufacturers but also our fans!