(INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. -- July 5, 2007): Chris Windom, the 16-year-old racing phenom from Canton, Ill., is headed for the busiest three weeks of his year, kicking off this weekend with USAC National Sprint and Midget Car Series doubleheaders at...
(INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. -- July 5, 2007): Chris Windom, the 16-year-old racing phenom from Canton, Ill., is headed for the busiest three weeks of his year, kicking off this weekend with USAC National Sprint and Midget Car Series doubleheaders at Toledo (OH) Speedway on Friday and Mansfield (OH) Motorsports Park on Saturday. Then, with just a few days of preparation in between these pavement shows and the huge USAC "Indiana Sprint Week," the Windom Motorsports Team will look forward to the monster eight-race series of USAC National Sprint Car Series events scheduled at five different Indiana venues, which begins next week and spans from July 11th-21st (see below for full schedule). Taking only a short breather, the team will then head back on the road to a week of Midget races in Nebraska and Kansas, culminating with the legendary "Belleville Midget Nationals" at the end of the month.
"I haven't really heard anything about Toledo Speedway at all," Windom said about USAC's first Northwest Ohio stop this weekend. "But I think we'll be okay there because I think I've gotten a handle on tracks like O'Reilly Raceway Park (at Indianapolis). Testing and racing at that track a few times before we head to these Ohio pavement shows has really helped me a lot in the Sprint and Midget car. I figured out what I've been doing at the beginning of the night at these big half-miles - I've been overdriving the car, getting into the corners too hard, and now I know I need to slow down to actually go faster and quit driving these pavement cars like my dirt cars. I really think we'll be pretty good all weekend. We've been fast at Salem and Winchester, and those are big, high-banked half-milers, too. I have really learned a lot in the past two pavement races and I'm anxious to get to Toledo to see how I can apply that knowledge to a new track."
Both Friday's show in Toledo and Saturday's races at Mansfield Motorsports Park include USAC National Sprint and Midget Car Series doubleheader races. The importance of four back-to-back National events in two days is not lost on Windom.
"We've kind of had a rough year on both the dirt and pavement," Windom said honestly. "The last couple of weeks, we've been able to figure out the dirt car pretty much, so now I'm looking forward to these pavement shows in order to get that program back on track. I'm really hoping to do well in Toledo and Mansfield, and for the rest of the pavement races, because it's really important for us to show what we can do on stuff other than dirt. We need to show we can do well and finish well. There aren't too many more pavement shows this year, so these four races are important. We should have done more testing than we've done this year. Just now at this point in the year, we're starting to race with some of the fast guys, and being at ORP two or three times before this weekend has really helped me learn a lot more about pavement, as it's one of the toughest tracks to learn. Now, I think I've pretty much got it through my head how to run these big tracks. Toward the end of the last race at ORP, I was running really well, and that will transfer to this weekend's races and hopefully allow us to be competitive for the rest of the year."
The traditional Sunday stop for the Windom Motorsports crew is at Kokomo Speedway, near the team's shop in Frankfort, Ind. Depending on the results from the USAC shows in Toledo and Mansfield, the team may or may not head to that thrilling quarter-mile dirt facility this Sunday. The importance of the upcoming "Indiana Sprint Week" races, which start next week, is paramount to the goals set out by the team, and taking the time to properly prepare for those events may take precedence over a local show.
"I love Kokomo, and want to race there every week, but we need to race smart, not just as often as possible, and so we'll evaluate whether we should go to that track after Saturday's event in Mansfield," Windom said of his weekend plans. "But even if we elect to take a week off from Kokomo, I'll be back as soon as possible as that track is a whole lot of fun and it always attracts some of Indiana's best Sprint car drivers, and those are the guys I want to compete against as much as possible."