The New Year’s Bash has drawn competitors from around the country since its first edition in 2011. One of the mainstays at Dillon Motor Speedway in recent years has come from the Midwest.
Ohio’s Josh Way is set to make his fifth trip to South Carolina for the Street Stock crown jewel this weekend after finishing 11th one year ago. He just missed a second-straight top-10 finish, following his best run of seventh in 2019.
The competition the Mid-Atlantic Street Stocks provide, added with a national broadcast on Speed51.TV and MAVTV have made the event a can’t-miss race for Way.
“You get 50 or so cars there and it’s pretty much the top cars around the area. When we race up here, we race against the same guys. When we go down there, (Speed51) televises the events, so that makes it pretty sweet,” Way told Speed51. “If you win this race, you’re winning against the best of the best.”
A former competitor with the Main Event Racing Series, Way has made starts all around the Buckeye State. However, the defending Painesville Speedway Street Stock champion says no track in the state can prepare him for what Dillon has to offer.
“It’s a totally different track all on its own. It’s a totally different track than anything we have in Northeast Ohio, it’s not like anything up here.”
When not racing at Painesville, you never know what track he’ll pull into on a given Saturday night. During the 2020 season, he made a four and a half hour trip to South Bend Motor Speedway (IN) in July, then just over a month later drove 10-plus hours to compete at Lee USA Speedway (NH). Way then followed his New Hampshire journey with a top-10 run at the Pinty’s U.S. Short Track Nationals at Bristol Motor Speedway.
“I race for the competition. I don’t like to race against no competition so if there’s a lot of competition, that’s where we want to go. We go there and there’s 55 cars and they’re only taking 20, that makes it so much better.”
Along with this weekend’s 640 mile trip to the Palmetto State, Way’s 2021 racing schedule will see him do more traveling, which includes a potential run at a CRA Street Stock championship.
“We’re going to try and run the CRA Street Stock shows and see if we can get to the top of that. We’re building a new car for that series and more of the other big races. There’s big races down south, we’ll go to those and see if we can get some wins. Hopefully we can get wins and be competitive and race for points”
After mechanical problems derailed his chances early in last year’s race, Way heads back to Dillon with what he feels like is his best shot at winning the New Year’s Bash yet. However, he minced no words when asked what it would take to win the race on Sunday.
“A miracle, I think that one guy’s (Gary Ledbetter Jr.) won it five times. You’ve got to be fast and I’m hard on the brakes. Last year we had a real fast car and had the rear end get broken early in the race and I was limping along. This year we’re bringing a missile so we’re hoping for the best.”
Race fans unable to attend the New Year’s Bash can click here to watch Sunday’s race live on Speed51.TV.
-Story by: Koty Geyer, Speed51 National Correspondent – Twitter: @kgeyer3
-Photo Credit: Speed51 Photo