In the State of Maine, Super Late Model driver Mike Hopkins has found success at a number of the state’s tracks over his racing career. In 2019, that success had transferred over to his touring schedule, as he has taken to the road for the Pro All Stars Series National Championship, controlling the points lead into the season finale this Saturday at Lanier Raceplex down in Georgia.
While Hopkins is occupied with title hopes, he is also looking forward to being a part of the resurrection of what is regarded as one of the most competitive tracks in the Southeast, which has not hosted a short track race in nearly a decade.
“I’m a short track guy, I don’t care if it’s in our backyard or 2,400 miles away. I want to see all race tracks succeed,” Hopkins said. “We’re all racers and we never want to see a race track die. So, to see one come back and host this caliber of racing, I can’t wait to get there and put on a show. I hope we get a lot of cars and the Raceplex will look and say that we want these races again, because that’s what we all love. Whether it’s Modifieds or full-fendered cars, I would love to see a great turn out for Mr. Mayberry and the complex.”
With no racing in over a decade at Lanier, as well as PASS drivers from the Northeast heading south that have yet to set eyes on the track, Hopkins is doing all he can to get his hands on any information he can obtain before heading down.
“It looks like it has similarities to Star Speedway in a way. It looks like you got to drive it down there and you can’t be afraid to use the bumper, because there is only one way through. The videos I’ve watched of the old ASA days with Mike Garvey, and guys like that, I know there’s no inside wall, so it was kind of hard to see. I don’t know what they’re going to do for interior walls, but I think you have to be willing to use a guy up in front of you.”
Backed by wins at Richmond Raceway (VA) in March and most recently at Seekonk Speedway (MA) at the end of October, the Hermon, Maine driver is pointed south for the last time in 2019 with plenty of confidence packed into the trailer along with his No. 15 Super Late Model.
“I’m excited, it has been a good year with the national stuff, we have been so close,” Hopkins stated. “I let Loudon slip away, and then we got lucky at Seekonk winning there. Now with Lanier, I’ve never seen the place, definitely watching some videos, and it looks like a cool facility. Hopefully we can end the year on a high note and win another one.”
Throughout 2019, Hopkins has also had the resources of Port City Racecars behind him as well, allowing he and his crew to shine at race tracks they have never seen before. It is a trend that he hopes to continue this Saturday afternoon.
“This season we’ve been to all these tracks we’ve never been to, and we’ve finished top two in almost all of them, even won two of them. When we go to Lanier, if there’s 30 or 40 cars, we go there and do our job. We’re just focused on winning, the goal is not racing for points, if the points work themselves out like they have, I just want to win races, that’s what everyone wants to do.”
Hopkins also made no bones that a victory Saturday would complete a true dream season.
“That would be the dream season to go to Lanier, win the race and cap it off with a championship. Couldn’t ask for anything more.”
Race fans unable to make the trip south to Lanier Raceplex this weekend will be able to watch a live pay-per-view broadcast on Speed51. More information on how to order that broadcast will be made available soon.
-Story by: Connor Sullivan, Speed51.com Northeast Editor – Twitter: @Connor51CT
-Photo credit: Speed51