When the Northeast ULTIMATE Super Late Model Series was created in 2017, up and coming Super Late Model drivers in the Mid-Atlantic saw the fledgling tour as a golden opportunity to establish their racing careers in the ranks, while enjoying a reasonable, yet challenging travel schedule.
One of these drivers on the up and up is West Virginia's Ryan Montgomery. Well established in the Crate Late Model ranks both locally and regionally, Montgomery has made his way into Super Late Models the past few seasons, joining up with ULTIMATE Northeast on a majority basis in 2018 and being a consistent contender.
He is back for more in 2019 and despite trouble in the opening round at Hagerstown Speedway (MD), Montgomery and the No. 12 team are well prepared to take on this weekend's upcoming doubleheader at Stateline Speedway (NY) on Saturday and Eriez Speedway (PA) this Sunday. While he has logged racing laps at Eriez, Montgomery has had to take some steps recently to prepare for Stateline.
"We went to Hagerstown for our first night out and we broke a power-steering line. But we went to Stateline this past weekend to race and test for this upcoming weekend, I've been to Eriez, but I haven't been to Stateline before," Montgomery told Speed51. "We ran pretty good, but we didn't get to hot lap so the setup was a little off, and the driver was little off. But we started eighth and came up to fifth, so it wasn't bad. We got some good information and we should be better this weekend."
Despite these tracks still being new to Montgomery, he is confident in his chances at both tracks, and that he can bounce back from his trouble at Hagerstown.
"It seems like every time we go to Hagerstown we make mistakes, well I make mistakes. We were close up at Eriez last year, passed Chub Frank, and ended up running fourth. That's about the closest we got to a win. All the other race tracks we went to last year were all very new to me and different than back here at home. They are a lot slicker race tracks and bigger too, so it was an adjustment. We're headed in the right direction and hopefully we can win some this year."
While Montgomery has had chances to get around and travel with his Super Late Model, he and his team have stuck to a plan of preparation these last few years since coming out of the Crate class. Now, he seems poised to capitalize on all that preparation.
"I never got to go to those tracks in Pennsylvania and New York, we raced Crate cars up and down the East Coast, but we stayed local running Super's for a couple of years trying to get my feet wet," Montgomery explained. "I didn't want to travel right away and get my confidence down. For what we've learned and what Rocket has helped with on our cars, I think we're going pretty good."
As always, winning is the top goal but this weekend Montgomery will also be satisfied with building momentum as the ULTIMATE Northeast season hits its height heading into the summer.
"Once you get your momentum going, that's when everything starts. I'm hoping this weekend we can capitalize on some race tracks that we're a little more familiar with and get that ball rolling."
He's also keeping the Northeast title in his sights as well, but with his rocky start at Hagerstown, the No. 12 team will have to be at the top of its game each and every round from here on.
"We didn't start off so hot at Hagerstown, but we ended up running fourth in points last year. I don't think a title is out of the cards, but there's a lot of factors that go into it. Kyle Lee is pretty good, Jared Miley is really good, there's a lot of good guys that run this series. You want to win a championship, you got to be on your A-game every race."
As the "Official Video Home of ULTIMATE," Speed51 will have video highlights from both Stateline Speedway and Eriez Speedway on the Speed51 Network.
-Story by: Connor Sullivan, Speed51 Northeast Editor - Twitter: @Connor51CT
-Photo credit: Speed51