There are certain years go by that you watch a couple drivers move up a division and come in, and it seems that the rookie battle just sorts itself out. Then there are other years where you have a steamed list of rookies, ranging in talent and experience, that are going to set-up a strong battle all year.
This is already shaping up to be one of those seasons for Sunset Speedway’s St. Onge Recreational Super Stocks. With registration and announcements starting to come through, there are already six talented rookies that will take part in the division, including some past track champions.
“I can definitely say that there are more rookies for 2016 than I anticipated,” Kendra Adams noted. “When I announced a year ago that I moving up in 2016, I thought there would be a couple others but there are at least six that I know of. And very talented rookies too. I think this may be one of the most talented rookie years ever.”
The youngster of the group, 12-year-old Treyten Lapcevich, said it simple in what the talent ladder could produce – a whole lot of fun, and some very good competition.
“The rookie field is stacked,” Adams sounded off. “There is exceptional talent in the rookie field as well as these rookies will have some of the best cars in the field. I have my thoughts on who will win the rookie of the year, but I’ll keep that to myself and see how the season plays out.”
That sentiment is shared by the entire rookie class, with Miles Tyson noting it will be hard to easily determine who will be the rookie of the year award winner. However, the group is used to it, via the amount of competition in the mini stock division.
“There was a lot of tough competition,” Tyson recalls. “We had a top-five car every night last year, but just didn’t have the starting spots. It will be interesting this year to see how it goes. It would be nice to come out on the top I have never won an award like that in my racing career.”
Going into the year, each of the drivers is going to have eyes on them via the experience that they have garnered thus far in this career. One of those being Lapcevich, as many people have watched his grandpa, father and brother be involved in racing before him. Though while expectations are going to be there for early success, he says the key will be “just getting used to the car and getting comfortable”.
“Honestly I’m not really expecting much from myself because of the different car but I would very happy just finishing top ten a few times and keeping the car clean,” he stated of his goals. “But I would also like to be in the running for rookie of the year when it comes down to the closing weekends.”
That was an approach that he took last year – getting used to the car, and then getting stronger as each week went on. It paid off as he was able to pick up four victories over the course of the season, winning the Mighty Mini Championship in his first full season behind the wheel of a full-size car.
“Last season definitely exceeded my own expectations,” he said. “All we wanted to do was get used to driving a stock car. But we started off with consistent top tens and we got better each week then we started being up there in the top threes. As the year went on, me and Cameron (McGlashan) had an awesome battle for the championship, and it came down to who crossed the line first on the final night. Last years experience was amazing to say the least! And I’m really happy with my accomplishment!”
The thought of learning each race, and coming home with the car in one piece is shared by his fellow rookie competitors, including Tyson. Tyson comes into the season after winning one of the biggest events of the season, scoring the overall victory at Frostoberfest at Flamboro Speedway to complete the season. Beyond looking to win each race, Tyson hopes to finish in the top-five in points when the year is all said and done.
“My expectations this year would be to finish in the top 5 or top 10 every night and try to get some feature wins,” he added.
Tyson comes into the year with some experience under his belt as he made a couple starts last year to close the season off. Even with experience on his side, there will be challenges. Tyson notes a couple of those challenges will be “how big the field is, and how good a lot of the cars are on the track” while trying to learn himself as a driver.
Through the field of rookies, the expectations are certainly around the same mark – contend for rookie of the year, but be also keep the car clean and learn along the way. Just ask Stefan Semeraro, whose goals include that, while looking to finish in the top-10 in points.
“The team and I will be working hard to achieve these goals and I believe it can be done with consistent finishes throughout the year,” Semeraro commented.
Semeraro will make the move up to the Super Stock division following a solid rookie campaign in the Signs of Innovation Mighty Mini division.
“I am very excited to have the opportunity to be able to race in the Super Stock division given it will only be my second year racing stock cars,” he said. “I am looking forward to racing against a new group of people that will give me a challenge and help me become a better driver.”
Semeraro had what he called a “successful” season in 2015, finishing fourth in the track season-ending standings with some solid top-five runs over the season, and a couple heat wins.
“I couldn’t have done it without my family, Stompin Tom Motorsports team, and my sponsors A&J Vacworx, SkyView General Contracting and United Concrete forming,” he said. “There is room for improvement but I am happy with the results we achieved and looking forward to what the upcoming season has to offer.”
Stay tuned to OnPitRoad.com for the second half of the rookie story later on this week.