Steve Dorer will perhaps be the busiest driver at Crisp Motorsports Park (GA) during CRA SpeedFest weekend on January 25-26. The Lakeland, Florida driver will compete in both the ARCA/CRA Super Series Super Late Model and JEGS/CRA All-Stars Tour Pro Late Model races during the weekend. But that's not all he'll be doing.
While other drivers may also pull double duty at SpeedFest, Dorer will also be officiating the series he owns, the Wheelman (Sportsman) Racing Series. He will balance his official duties with the series while preparing his own cars for two races during the weekend.
Dorer has had strong runs in both classes at SpeedFest in the past, with a top-10 finish in the Super Late Model portion and a top five and two top 10s in the Pro Late Model portion, but those results have come after having to work through the field after a poor qualifying result. After making changes to his cars in the offseason, he is excited to go back to Crisp Motorsports Park to show the improvements he’s made in the shop.
“The last several years I’ve been there, I haven’t qualified or practiced well at all, so we’ve been on a big mission on our chassis and changing our cars,” Dorer told Speed51.com. “I’ve always ran respectful in the races and I’m anxious to get there and see if we’re going to be a lot better as I anticipate we will be, so I’m kind of excited about that with all the changes and with as well as we’ve been running lately. I’m looking forward to getting there.”
SpeedFest always brings some of the toughest drivers in all of racing, with the 2019 edition being no exception as 2015 NASCAR Cup Series champion Kyle Busch has entered.
Along with getting to the end of the race to be in contention, Dorer says his biggest challenge will be to show speed at the start of the weekend.
“Finishing the race and not being tore up so we have a shot at winning is one of the biggest challenges,” he said. “My biggest challenge is getting there and unloading better than what we have been the past two or three attempts that I’ve been there. That’s probably the number one thing I hope to overcome and conquer.”
Dorer will also be a part of the Wheelman Racing Series event during the weekend. He started the wedge-bodied Sportsman series in 2016. After racing at central Florida tracks for the first three years of existence, they will expand to the Peach State for their season opener. Dorer is excited to see his series compete during SpeedFest and will have help with running their event.
“I’m really fortunate to have two really good guys that run that series with me,” Dorer said. “They’ll be there to help me for all the practice and series stuff, and during the actual race I’ll do a lot of the officiating and control of the race. We’re going to go there Thursday for practice to practice my cars, so during practice I’ll be left alone. As far as the series, when it’s practice I won’t put a lot of my personal time, but a couple really good guys that work for me will handle that. During the race, we won’t be doing anything with the Pro or Super so that will give me time to focus on that. It’s a big deal for all the drivers in the Wheelman Series to be able to go there and get to race in front of the caliber teams that will be there. It’s a big deal for them so it’s impressive to me that the series was invited there.”
Between his racing and his officiating, Dorer’s ultimate goal for the weekend is to win both races. He is no stranger to victory lane in big Late Model races, having won the Redbud 300 at Anderson Speedway in 2011 with a last-lap pass of current Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series driver Chase Elliott. Eight years later, Dorer feels like he has something to prove at SpeedFest.
“I go there for one reason and that’s to win. I want to win. We haven’t been at that caliber of level in the last several years. I think we’ve made enough changes to at least put ourselves in contention for it.”
“It’s been a while since I’ve won a bigger event. I’ve gotten down on myself and I’ve had to mentally coach myself not to feel like I can’t do it,” Dorer admitted. “As a driver, I feel like I can do it. I just got to have my cars right and being good enough to get them right to put myself as a driver to win it. I don’t feel like I’ve done a good enough job of that personally, setting my cars up. It would be big because I feel like I’ve lost people’s confidence in me winning a big race on a big stage like that, as far as going there and choosing me to win, I feel like I’ve lost some of that in the past couple years.”
Race fans can watch Dorer compete in both Late Model races during CRA SpeedFest 2019 by purchasing a pay-per-view ticket on Speed51.com.
The Wheelman Racing Series season opener on Saturday will be available exclusively to Speed51 Network premium (monthly or yearly) subscribers. Subscribe to the Speed51 Network today by clicking here.
-Story by: Koty Geyer, Speed51.com State Editor (IN & MI)
-Photo credit: Speed51.com