Fresh off his season-opening victory at New Smyrna Speedway, Florida racer Jesse Henley is hungry for another Wheel Man Racing Series victory this weekend. Only this time, he only needs to make a trip to his backyard for his shot at the victory.
Henley enters the second race of the Wheel Man Racing Series season at Citrus County Speedway as the points leader after coming out victorious in the series’ inaugural race at New Smyrna. Although he didn’t get to actually visit victory lane that night, he will go down in the record books as the official winner after initial victor J.R. Beckner was disqualified in post-race technical inspection.
“We unloaded and we were struggling pretty bad (at New Smyrna) and got better as the weekend went on and lucked into the win. J.R. (Beckner) did an excellent job,” Henley said on Monday’s episode of The Bullring. “They were fast all weekend but we ended up getting it after tech.”
Now, Henley looks to repeat the feat at Citrus County, a track where he’s experienced success throughout his career.
“It’s right here in my backyard, ” Henley stated. “I’ve cut my teeth there. I watched my dad race there as I was growing up at five or six years old. I know how to get around that place pretty well. It’s a pretty line sensitive track, especially in these Wheel Man cars. You gotta keep your momentum up. You can’t kill your momentum in the center of the corner. You gotta keep it rolling. I think that plays into my advantage a little bit because I’ve spent so much time on the track. But there are several other people that have a lot of time too in the series that get around there well and make it really tough competition.”
While Henley is known to wheel a Super Late Model from time to time, he prefers racing in the Wheel Man Racing Series for a variety of reasons.
“For one, the affordability. It’s very affordable,” Henley said. “And two, the competition is incredible. This is a series that we haven’t seen in short track racing in ten to fifteen years as far as competition. You know, you feel good about finishing eighth or tenth because there’s twenty to twenty five cars that can win every single week. Tech is very thorough. They check everything every week. They go through the car. You know you’re not getting out performed by illegal parts or what have you. And all the hype with having Speed51 doing all of our shows and Brandon Ford, the number one Ford dealership in the country sponsoring the series with Gagels Auto Parts also. It gives it a lot of hype and a lot of energy and the competition adds to it.”
Though he holds the series points lead at this point, Henley has really only one goal in mind, picking up as many checkered flags as he can in 2020.
“I’m looking forward to some wins,” Henley stated. “We really want to get after some wins this year. I’m not really much of a points racer. However we are running for points because the only thing we’re doing is the Wheel Man Series, so we are going to be in it for the points, but really we are just focused on getting the car as fast as it can be each and every week, getting the most out of the car, loading it up in one piece, and hopefully coming home with the win at the end of the day.”
Listen to Henley’s full interview on The Bullring Podcast here.
Fans can watch Saturday night’s Wheel Man Racing Series feature from Citrus County Speedway live on the Speed51 Network. Click here to become a premium member and gain access to the live broadcast, along with over 100 other live races throughout 2020 and hundreds of on-demand videos, including highlights, recaps, interviews, on-board videos and more from the biggest short track racing events in the country.
-Story by: Allick Jorgensen, Speed51 National Correspondent – Twitter: @AJorgensen24
-Photo credit: Speed51