The ULTIMATE Northeast Super Late Model Series will tackle a doubleheader weekend of racing Saturday and Sunday, competing at Greater Cumberland Raceway and Roaring Knob Motorsports Complex. Kirk Baker enters the weekend tied for third in the points standings, hoping to move up the rankings with a strong showing.
The Pennsylvania driver has not performed up to his expectations this season, with a best finish of seventh in ULTIMATE Northeast competition at Roaring Knob in July.
“We’ve struggled a little bit this year, so we really need a good run here at the end to try to advance in points,” Baker said. “We’re tied for third right now, which is good. We are pretty optimistic, so I think we can do well.”
The seventh-place finish came after a charge through the field, starting in 14th after a miscue in qualifying.
“We’ve run there some that weren’t series races, so I’ve got more experience making adjustments. The key will be time trials, for sure. The last time we were there with the series, we slipped up in qualifying a little bit,” Baker explained.
“It got slicker in the feature and I could maneuver a little bit. I started 14th and got up to seventh. If I had started top five, maybe I could have run with those guys up front.”
As evidenced by that run, time trials will be critical in both races this weekend. With stout competition throughout the series, every position is a hard-fought one.
“We’ve run both of those tracks a lot, so we know what adjustments we need. The key on my end will be qualifying. The competition is pretty good. The top runners are hard to pass, so you want to start as far to the front as you can.
“Cumberland, there will be some passing going on. It’ll get pretty wide. Roaring Knob, once we get singled out, it’s pretty hammer-down. It’s hard to pass when the track is fast and has a lot of traction.”
To move up in the standings, Baker thinks he will need a very strong weekend, as well as some misfortune for the front runners, Drake Troutman and Jared Miley. Troutman currently leads Miley by eight points, with Baker tied with Matt Cosner for third, 19 points back.
“In order to win the title, we’ll need to win at least one night and the guys up front will need to have problems. Two top-threes would be a good weekend for us, and would put us pretty strong in the standings depending on how the guys ahead of us do.
“They’re tough. The front runners are going to be a handful.”
Stay tuned to Speed51, the Official Video Home of the ULTIMATE Northeast Super Late Model Series, for video highlights and coverage from the doubleheader weekend at Greater Cumberland and Roaring Knob.
-Story by: Zach Evans, Speed51 Content Supervisor – Twitter: @ztevans
-Photo credit: Speed51 Photo